Buckingham Army Airfield
Lehigh Acres Airport
|15191 Homestead Road |
|Lehigh Acres, Florida ||33971|
This site is located in the Southwest region of the state.
Exit I-75 at SR82/M. L. King Jr. Boulevard (Exit 23) toward Ft. Myers/Immokalee. Stay left at the fork in the ramp and turn left onto Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (becomes SR82). Turn left onto Buckingham Road and right onto Homestead Road to Lee County Mosquito Control District office.
To meet the needs of the Army Air Force for a flexible gunnery school, local Fort Myers officials acquired 6,500 acres of wasteland in Buckingham, a rural community in the northeast quadrant of Lee County. This site was then leased to the Army in early 1942. Officially activated in July 1942 as Buckingham Field, Col. Delmar described the site as “...the ugliest field in the entire nation.” Ultimately 483 buildings were erected which included seven mess halls, one hangar, 228 barracks and 24 hospital buildings. Flying the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator, Buckingham trained 50,000 airmen as aircrew gunners.
With the establishment of the Central Instructors School in December 1942, all instructors took their training at this facility. B-17s from Sebring and Sarasota used shore ranges along the west coast of Florida and present day Marco and Sanibel Islands saw service as targets for bombing and machine gun practice.
Returned to the City of Fort Myers in September 1945, the former Buckingham Field serves as the Lee County Mosquito Control District (LCMCD) airfield and office. World War II period maps, photographs, and annuals may be viewed at the LCMCD office with prior arrangement.