September 10, 1940: Muroc AAF Buildup

  • Published
  • US Army Air Froces

Reflecting the nation’s overall military buildup on the eve of World War II, construction began on temporary housing facilities and an administrative building for the bombing range. Over the next several weeks, work began on barracks, a medical facility, ordnance magazines, a railroad spur and associated utilities. Fourth Air Force also authorized several new target installations, and a hard-surfaced runway adjacent to the lakebed. This marked the beginning of the permanent facilities on the western shore of the Muroc Dry Lake bed which eventually came to be known as South Base.

The area of the lakebed was first used by the railroads, with a watering station for steam engines located nearby by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. In 1910, the Corum family settled on the lake bed; they attempted to create a small community called "Muroc" (the name reversed), which failed. In 1933, the United States Army arrived, looking to establish a bombing range in the area. The lakebed's potential use as an airfield was then realized, and in 1937 the United States Army Air Corps set up Muroc Air Field for training and testing, which later became Edwards Air Force Base.  

News Search