MacDill Army Airfield
MacDill Air Force Base
|MacDill AFB, Florida ||33621|
This site is located in the WestCentral region of the state.
In Tampa, exit I-275 at US92 south (Exit 23, Dale Mabry Highway). Dale Mabry Highway terminates at MacDill Air Force Base.
One of six super air bases authorized by the National Defense Act of 1935, construction on then Southeast Air Base began in September 1939. Formal dedication to honor Army aviator and World War I veteran Colonel Leslie MacDill occurred on April 16, 1941. To encourage the military to choose this site, the Hillsborough County Commission purchased and then donated the 3,500 acre parcel to the Federal government.
Designated Third Air Force Headquarters, the first troops arrived in March 1940. Transitional training began using B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft in April 1941. The expression, “One a day in Tampa Bay,” originated here during training on B-26 Marauders. Sixty-three B-26s crashed in Tampa Bay in 1943. Training of B-29 Superfortress crews began at MacDill in late 1944.
Anti-submarine activities originated from MacDill and engineer training took place here as well. Auxiliary fields included Henderson and Drew Fields in the Tampa area in addition to Zephryhills and Brooksville Fields. As many as 15,000 military personnel were stationed here at one time and WACS saw duty at MacDill beginning in 1943. During this same year, the Howard Hawks movie, Air Force, starring John Ridgely and John Garfield, was filmed in part at MacDill.
German Prisoners of War from Camp Blanding arrived in December 1944 with an eventual maximum number of 500. POWs performed janitorial, automotive repair, mosquito control, mess, and laundry duties during their stay.
Despite numerous operational changes following the close of hostilities in August 1945, MacDill continues as a vital United States Air Force facility.
As an active military facility, MacDill is a closed base. However, groups of twenty to forty people may be allowed access by prior arrangement with the Public Affairs Office.