Locations

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Entry Category: Locations

Texarkana Regional Airport

aka: Texarkana Air Force Station
The Texarkana Regional Airport is located three miles northeast of Texarkana (Miller County). The airport is a mixed-used facility with the primary focus being general aviation; it also offers limited commercial aviation. In 2015, the total economic impact to the Texarkana area included 420 jobs and more than $32.5 million to the local economy. In 2015, there were sixty-eight aircraft based at the airport, and the airport conducted just under of 48,500 flight operations. The early history of the airport dates back to 1928 when the City of Texarkana acquired 190 acres of land from two local families, the Lathrop and Wheeler families. The following year, the first runways were constructed. Both were made of sod, with one measuring 3,500 …

Thompson-Robbins Air Field

aka: Helena Aero Tech
In about 1940, the United States was planning a build-up in the Army Air Force (AAF) strength. The number of airplanes produced was to be increased to around 50,000, but the AAF’s flying school in Texas could only graduate 500 pilots a year, and most of the current AAF pilots did not have enough flying hours to be instructors. To produce more pilots, the commanding general of the AAF, Henry Arnold, devised a plan for primary contract flying schools located in local communities. Three primary contract flying schools were located in Arkansas: the first at Grider Field in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), the second at Thompson-Robbins Airfield in West Helena (Phillips County), and the third at Harrell Field in Camden …

Titan II ICBM Launch Complex Sites

Following the Soviet Union’s detonation of its first thermonuclear bomb in 1953, the United States began actively developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Resulting from this was the Titan II Missile program, a Cold War weapons system featuring fifty-four launch complexes in three states. Eighteen were in Arkansas, from which ICBMs carrying nine-megaton nuclear warheads could be launched to strike targets as far as 5,500 miles away. The sites of four Titan II Launch Complexes—373-5 near Center Hill in White County, 374-5 near Springhill in Faulkner County, 374-7 near Southside in Van Buren County, and 373-9 near Vilonia (Faulkner County)—are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Titan II program was part of the second generation of ICBMs, and …

Titan II Missiles

Following the Soviet Union’s detonation of its first thermonuclear bomb in 1953, the United States began actively developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Titan II Missile program was a Cold War weapons system featuring fifty-four launch complexes in three states. Eighteen were in Arkansas, from which intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nine-megaton nuclear warheads could be launched to strike targets as far as 5,500 miles away. Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) systems were part of a three-pronged nuclear weapon strategy that included manned bombers, land-based ICBMs, and sea-launched ballistic missiles. The ICBMs needed only thirty to thirty-five minutes to reach their targets, making them capable of first strikes on enemy territory. Their powerful warheads were designed to destroy enemy capabilities with …

Underground Hospital

aka: Fifty-fifth General Hospital
The Fifty-fifth General Hospital, “the Underground Hospital,” at Robinson Maneuver Training Center in Pulaski County was activated on May 25, 1943, during the United States’ involvement in World War II. Documents relating to the hospital were declassified on September 27, 1958; these stated that the Underground Hospital was the brainchild of then commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Charles Chute Gill of the United States Army Medical Corps. Prior to other modern medical ventures, such as the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units implemented during the Korean War, the Underground Hospital experiment sought to simulate battle conditions and assess the potential for providing protected medical care at or near the frontlines. Gill, a graduate of the Medical School at the University of …

Vietnam War Markers and Memorials

A number of markers and memorials to Arkansans who served and lost their lives in the Vietnam War are located in communities throughout the state. Vietnam veterans are also memorialized on a number of other monuments that recognize service members from other wars. Most monuments are located at county courthouses or other public spaces. Funding for these monuments came from a variety of sources, with the placement of the monuments typically organized by local citizens and members of various veterans’ organizations. The Arkansas Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial is located on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Dedicated on March 7, 1987, by retired U.S. Army general William Westmoreland, the memorial includes a circular wall listing …

Walnut Ridge Army Flying School

The Walnut Ridge Army Flying School was one of seven U.S. Army Air Forces pilot training schools established in Arkansas as part of the nationwide expansion of World War II pilot training. Contract primary flying schools were located in Camden (Ouachita County), Helena (Phillips County), and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Newport (Jackson County) and Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County) had basic flying schools, while Blytheville (Mississippi County) and Stuttgart (Arkansas County) had advanced twin-engine flying schools. The Walnut Ridge Army Flying School enrolled during its existence 5,310 students, 4,641 of whom graduated. In early April 1942, a board of three army air forces officers—Lieutenant Colonel Burton Hovey Jr., Lieutenant Colonel John R. Cume Jr., and Captain Blanton Russell—went in search of …

Washington Confederate Monument

The Washington Confederate Monument is a commemorative obelisk financed and erected through the efforts of the citizens of Washington (Hempstead County) to honor the memory of the Confederate soldiers who died there during the Civil War. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 1996. Washington, strategically placed on the Southwest Trail, lay in the path of troop movements to and from Texas and, following the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Union troops in September 1863, was the seat of Confederate government in the state as well. At least seventy-four Confederate soldiers are believed to be buried in Washington’s Presbyterian Cemetery (now Washington Cemetery); this number includes soldiers in the Nineteenth Texas Infantry …

Wittsburg Fortification

The Wittsburg Fortification is an earthen redoubt built in July 1863 at the junction of the Wittsburg to Batesville, Mount Vernon, and Madison roads to protect Union cavalrymen as they received supplies on the St. Francis River at Wittsburg (Cross County) during the Little Rock Campaign of 1863. Union horsemen led by Brigadier General John Wynn Davidson crossed the St. Francis River at Chalk Bluff on July 19, 1863, to confront a reported Confederate force under Major General Sterling Price that was said to be heading north up Crowley’s Ridge to invade Missouri. Davidson’s column of 6,000 men, failing to find Price’s phantom army, continued down the ridge, reaching Jonesboro (Craighead County) on the evening of July 24. The cavalrymen spread …

World War I Markers and Memorials

Arkansans began memorializing the state’s World War I troops even before the war ended, and many monuments can still be found across the state honoring the Great War’s dead. The first memorial in Arkansas, honoring the first three U.S. servicemen to die in the war, was dedicated on November 3, 1917, in Van Buren (Crawford County), but it was not until after the war that larger-scale efforts to remember Arkansas’s World War I veterans began. Some of the state’s memorials reflected a larger debate among progressives in the United States, who urged construction of “living memorials” as opposed to statuary—a reaction to the ubiquitous statues around the country honoring Civil War soldiers. In Little Rock (Pulaski County), this advice was …

World War II Markers and Memorials

A number of markers and memorials to service members who served in World War II are located across Arkansas. While some of the monuments are standalone structures, others include World War II veterans alongside service members from other conflicts, including World War I and the Vietnam War. Monuments across the state also memorialize individuals, units, and ships with Arkansas connections. Two of the earliest monuments erected in the state after the war memorialize fallen men in both world wars. Dedicated in 1947 and located at the Old Scott County Courthouse in Waldron (Scott County), one such monument consists of a marble column topped with an eagle and lists the names of men lost in the wars. The next year, the …

World War II Ordnance Plants

aka: Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP)
aka: Maumelle Ordnance Works (MOW)
aka: Southwestern Proving Ground (SPG)
aka: Ozark Ordnance Works (OOW)
aka: Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD)
During World War II, Arkansas was home to six ordnance plants. The sites were located near Jacksonville (Pulaski County), Marche (Pulaski County), Hope (Hempstead County), El Dorado (Union County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and Camden (Ouachita County). The uses for the locations included the manufacture of detonators, fuses, primers and bombs; proving grounds for testing munitions; rocket loading, testing and storage; and producing chemical agents needed in bombs and explosives. Four of the plants were government owned and contractor operated (GOCO). These plants were over seen by a military staff, but a private corporation had the contract to operate the plants. The Southwestern Proving Ground and the Pine Bluff Arsenal were government owned and operated. All the plants depended heavily …

World War II Prisoner of War Camps

aka: Prisoner of War Camps (World War II)
aka: POW Camps (World War II)
During World War II, the United States established many prisoner of war (POW) camps on its soil for the first time since the Civil War. By 1943, Arkansas had received the first of 23,000 German and Italian prisoners of war, who would live and work at military installations and branch camps throughout the state. The presence of POW camps in the United States was due in part to a British request to alleviate the POW housing problems in Great Britain. Initially, the U.S. government resisted the idea of POW camps on its soil. The huge numbers of German and Italian POWs expected to occupy the camps created many problems for the federal government and the military. The military did not …