San Antonio De Los Baños Airfield - History - World War II

World War II

The station was built in 1942 and was first used by American forces on 29 August 1942. The U.S. forces called it "Cayuga" (named after the construction company hired by the U.S. to build it - the Cayuga construction company is named after the upstate New York Native American tribe by the same name). The first United States Army Air Forces aircraft arrived at the airfield on 16 October. It was used for antisubmarine patrols and also as a training airfield for B-29 Superfortress aircrews who flew training missions from airfields in Nebraska and Kansas to the field.

On September 9, 1942, Cuba and United States sign a new naval and Military Agreement of Cooperation for a second airfield that would later be known as San Julian Air Base. The Pinar del Rio area was considered ideally situated for further development and the Army began construction by expanding an existing Pan American emergency landing airfield on 1 November 1942. When construction was completed on 1 July 1943 the new facility was re-designated Naval Air Facility (NAF) San Julian.

On November 1, 1942 the United States Army Air Forces set up postal operations for San Antonio de los Baños using Army Post Office, Miami with the address: 632 APO MIA.

From 1943-1945, major units assigned were:

  • 15th Antisubmarine Squadron (26th Antisubmarine Wing), 25 July-1 October 1943 (B-34 Ventura)
  • 23d Antisubmarine Squadron (26th Antisubmarine Wing), 28 February-24 April 1943 (A-29 Hudson)
  • 417th Bombardment Squadron (25th Bombardment Group), 13 April 1943-August 1943 (B-18 Bolo)
  • Detachment: 89th Combat Crew Training Wing, 1943–1945
Numerous B-17, B-24 and B-29 group air echelons deployed for training at Batista from 1943 through 1945

Read more about this topic:  San Antonio De Los Baños Airfield, History

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