The Naples Museum of Military History
Backstory and Context
The public airport that houses the museum is located on 7,000 acres that were swampland prior to 1941 when a group of Fort Meyers and Lee County officials purchased the land and leased it to the War Department. The War Department built an Army Air Corps training facility and airfield that helped fill the demand for trained pilots, mechanics, and crew members. The primary mission of the installation was to train aerial gunners who provided air-to-air defense for the heavy bombers that carried out attacks behind enemy lines.
During World War II, the Naples Army Airfield was part of the Buckingham Airfield located approximately ten miles east of Fort Meyers, The army installation was built at an estimated cost of $10,000,000. Naples Army Airfield provided basic (level 1) flight training to flight cadets by Emery-Riddle Company using Fairchild PT-19s trainers. Along with the flight training, Naples Army Airfield was also home to flexible gunnery training.
After the deactivation of the airfield on November 1, 1945, the land was turned over to the War Assets Administration for conveyance to civil control as a public airport. Today, visitors and patrons of the airport are welcome to the museum, free of charge. Most of the articles and artifacts located within have been generously donated by veterans and the families of veterans.
"About Us." History of the Naples Army Airfield. Accessed February 17, 2019. https://naplesmuseummilitaryhistory.org/naples-army-airfield/.
"Then & Now: The Naples Army Air Field and the Naples Municipal Airport." Naples Illustrated. September 7, 2015. Accessed February 17, 2019. https://www.naplesillustrated.com/then-now-the-naples-army-air-field-and-the-naples-municipal-airport/. Naples Illustrated