Fred Hutchinson James Delmage Ross Dixy Lee Ray George W. Bush Hazel Wolf Henry M Jackson Warren G. Magnuson Home
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Featured Essay
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
7100 essays now available      
Donation system not supported by Safari     Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

The Ephrata Army Air Base switches from heavy bomber training to fighter pilot training on April 1, 1944. Essay 9289 : Printer-Friendly Format

On April 1, 1944, the Fourth Air Force of the U.S. Army takes over command of the Ephrata base for training P-39 and P-38 fighter pilots after it has served as a heavy bomber training center earlier in the war. It will continue to serve as a fighter pilot training base until January 1945. Ephrata is located in the Columbia Basin in Grant County.

The Army first began surveying the land just outside of Ephrata in November 1940 as part of a survey of possible air base sites in Central Washington. The Ephrata site was eventually selected because of its flat terrain, good flying weather, and because it required only the removal of sagebrush and a minimum of grading.

It was also close to a large bombing range established in 1941 about 17 miles south of Ephrata.

The entry of the U.S, into World War II sped up the Army's plans and by mid-1942, the Ephrata Army Air Base had sprouted in the Columbia Basin sage, under the command of the Second Air Force. Thousands of pilot trainees and support personnel poured into Ephrata.

The heavy bomber training lasted until about November 1943, when operations came temporarily to a halt. The Fourth Air Force took over on April 1, 1944, and the site came alive once again. Within three weeks, pilots were training in P-39 Airacobras and P-38s.

"They are fortunate in that they can take off and land on runways that stretch for over two miles, giving them plenty of room in which to bring in their ships," said a news report in 1944. "These runways are, in fact, among the largest in the United States" ("Death").

The training program was shut down in January of 1945, although the Army used the base on and off for several more years. In 1946, much of the land and many of the buildings were turned over to the Bureau of Reclamation for its Columbia Basin Project headquarters.

Today it is Ephrata Municipal Airport.

"Death to the Enemy: Great Fighter Bases in Ephrata and Moses Lake Train Men Who Fly Airacobras," Spokesman-Review, July 8, 1944, p. 17; "Army to Use Land in Ephrata Region for Bombing Range," Spokesman-Review, March 26, 1941, p. 1; "Army to Chart Ephrata Airport," Spokesman-Review, November 26, 1940. p. 9; "Fighter Training Ends at Ephrata," Ellensburg Daily Record, January 25, 1945, p. 1.

Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Aviation |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

Highway, Grant County near Ephrata, 1935-1945
Photo by Bert W. Huntoon, Courtesy Washington State Archives (Progress Commission Photos, Image No. AR-09701002-ph000165)

Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM) is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email