Answering the Call

Copyright © 2001-2010, Scott D. Murdock
19 Jun 2010 - Added additional photos.

Call Field, that is.  A W.W.I airfield in Wichita Falls, Texas.  One of those nearby sites I've wanted to see for several years.  Well, a sudden change in work plans gave me a free Saturday, which Nancy had to work.  So, a quick day trip seemed appropriate.

Saturday, 8 Dec 2001

I knew some general location information on Call Field, 33-51-55, 98-33-18, from a 1993 article in the CAMP Heliogram.  Researcher William H. Weiler had described the only remaining W.W.I building.  Just last year I obtained a layout plan of Call, and was able to approximate the borders on a current map.  So my first stop of the morning was Call Field Road, described as the road dividing the cantonment and administrative area (to the north) from the row of twelve hangars (to the south).  The flying field itself was south of the hangars.  I missed the historical marker on my first pass, because I was looking for the U.S. Post Office it was near.  Circling back, I noticed the post office now sits unused and unmarked, but the historical marker was still out front.  I knew that the former horse stable building -- the sole architectural remnant of the airfield -- was supposed to be just a couple hundred feet from the marker.  I smiled when I looked due north from the marker and recognized the building.  It's in the backyard (playground) of The Academy Kids day school facility, at 33-52-23, 98-33-09.  Call Field was constructed in 1917, and used through the end of 1918. 

Well, that was a fun way to start -- not often I track down a W.W.I field.  Now it was time to head northwest of town to find a couple of Sheppard AFB's annexes.  From the highway I exited north on Rifle Range Road, an appropriate enough clue that I was about to see the former Sheppard Small Arms Range Annex (VPFV), 33-59-10, 98-36-45.  The former access gate was locked, but the pole for the range flag still stands just inside the gate.  This range was in use by 1952 (exact date of assignment not known) and was inactivated on 30 Oct 1979.  Gosh, if I had known that I could have driven up for a visit from Dyess AFB when I was a range troop.

About two miles northwest of the range, is another property that Sheppard controlled from 1966 - 1971, Sheppard Helicopter Training Annex #2, 34-00-05, 98-37-45.  The property was fenced and gated, and I believe this building was from the USAF era.  This annex was assigned on 1 Sep 1966, and disposed of on 27 Apr 1972.  Note the windsock mount on the pole.  I had hoped to explore the site, as the aerial photos show a series of about twelve square areas that I believe are concrete parking hardstands.  There is a chance that this same property was home to a W.W.I auxiliary field to Call Field, called Iowa Park, but I have not found evidence to confirm this.

From there, I headed west about 40 miles to Vernon.   South of town, I located the site of Victory Field, 34-04-30, 99-17-30, a W.W.II contract flying school.  Richey Flying Service operated an elementary flying school here for the AAF, from 4 Oct 1941 to mid-1944.  Now, the site is occupied by the Victory Field Correctional Academy.  As such, it is surrounded by barbed wire and not open to tourists.  This was disappointing, as there were several vintage buildings along the east edge of the property.

I headed back to Wichita Falls, and since I was doing well on time I sought out one other annex.  A few miles northeast of the base, the Sheppard Medical Training Annex (VPFX), 34-03-35, 98-26-45, was used from 1966 to 1973.  The site is called Bivouac Area on the as-built drawing.  I proceeded up the road until it turned into someone's driveway, still a short drive from the actual site.  I did notice that a fence at that location was made of runway planking -- Perforated Aluminum Planking, I believe.   

Site visits accomplished, I went on Sheppard AFB (1278/VNVP) and took a windshield tour of the base before making the mandatory shopping run at the BX.  I made it home before dinner, covering 453 miles in 9 hours, 40 minutes.