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Drew Army Airfield

Tampa International Airport

Tampa, Florida
Hillsborough County

This site is located in the WestCentral region of the state.


Tampa International Airport is located five miles west of downtown Tampa on the east shore of Tampa Bay.

Drew Field Municipal Airport opened in 1928 on land previously owned by land developer, John H. Drew. With the prospect of war, the U.S. Government leased the field for use as a sub post to MacDill Army Airfield. Heavy bombers began operation at Drew Army Airfield in May 1940. With the completion of MacDill, Drew became a separate base and headquarters for the III Fighter Command.

Encompassing fifteen square miles and hosting a complement of as many as 25,000 personnel, this facility provided large signal air-warning training and engineering aviation training for heavy bombers. One thousand ten-man combat bombing crews trained at Drew during the war.

In August 1944, German POWs arrived from Camp Blanding to work in quartermaster workshops, kitchens, canteens and warehouses. This camp, three miles from Drew Field, held 395 Germans between August 1944 and March 1946. Internal conflicts resulted within the camp as a result of the unusually high Nazi spirit among the prisoners.

Returned to the City of Tampa in 1946, Drew Army Airfield became Tampa International Airport.


Tampa International Airport