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Ladies in Waiting: A Pictorial Review of Davis Monthan AFB (Aircraft Specials series 6055)
By Scott Wonderly, Richard Dunham
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1991 64 Pages
PDF 55 MB
Davis-Monthan, or D-M as it is more commonly known, remained a municipal airport until 4 February 1941. when it was actuated as a military training base with the mission of training bombardment aircrews for the B-18Bolo.the B-24 Liberator and the B-29 Superfortress. During this period, from 1941 to 1942. the name was changed to Tucson Air Base. Then in 1942. the base was re-dedicated as Davis-Monthan Field and in 1948 the base was officially designated Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
When the Second World War ended. D-M training operations came to a standstill. Logistically all that remained active was a storage area for B-29s and C-47s. This area had been created by the San Antonio Air Technical Service Command immediately after V-J Day. There were two exceptional qualities that led to the decision to use D-M as an aircraft storage area. One was the very dry desert climate; the other was the soil.
The soil, or caliche as it is called, is very hard and able to support the weight of an airplane. It is also an alkaline soil which aids in deterring corrosion. These factors led the USAAF to decide that Davis-Monthan was the perfect spot to store the thousands of aircraft returning from Europe and the Pacific.
During the 1950s most of these surplus aircraft were sold for their aluminum. Scrappers lined the fences of the base with guillotines and smelting furnaces and America's once proud warplanes were reduced to aluminum ingots.