Mary spent her enlisted time at the Naval Air Station on the north side of the field. During World War II, Naval Air Station Twin Cities was used as a Navy training facility. Some work had already been done before the war at Minneapolis naval reserve air base, but immediately after January 1, 1942, expansion to air-station size began with the construction of barracks for 300 students and 600 enlisted men, instruction buildings, and storage facilities for 50,000 gallons of aviation gasoline.
We conclude Mary met Henri at the Naval Air Station.
Many of the "Letters to Mary" were written by Henri C. Romieux.
We know very little of Henri, except that he earned the affection of Mary. Most likely, they met in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On line research indicates that he was born January 23, 1904, which would have made him 5 years older than Mary at the time they met. Everything we learn about Henri comes from the text in his "Letters to Mary," which will be revealed chronologically in following blog posts.
Wold-Chamberlain field currently named (Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport) served the Naval Air Station training facility during World War II. Its most famous flyer was George H.W. Bush, who was flying the PT-17 Stearman there in 1943. He was the 41st President of The United States.
The following information is an excerpt from Wikipedia.
In 1920 a hangar was built on a former auto racing track to accommodate airmail service, and the 160-acre property became known as Speedway Field. In 1923, the airport was renamed Wold-Chamberlain Field in honor of two local pilots, Ernest Wold and Cyrus Chamberlain, who lost their lives in combat during World War I. The airport soon became home to Northwest Airways, which in 1926 won the government's airmail contract and acquired the airport's only hangar.
World War IIIn February 1942, after the United States' entry into World War II, the United States Army Air Corps 1454th Base Unit was assigned to Wold-Chamberlain Field to conduct a survey about the usefulness of the airport to the war effort. The unit's mission was to organize, coordinate and supervise the movement of cargo and passengers traveling though the airport by contract airlines and to and from Ferrying Command. Northwest Airlines remained in control of the control tower and flight facilities. Other construction was initiated to expand flight facilities, base operations, passenger service facilities, customs and port of entry facilities. The Army Corps of Engineers was authorized to expand the ramp facilities and also to expand the airfield.
Personnel from the Alaskan Wing, Air Transport Command arrived at the airport on 29 December 1942 to organize a control detachment. On 20 September 1943, the detachment was re designated as Station No. 11, Alaskan Wing, Air Transport Command. The airport became a key stop on what was designated the "Alaskan Route", in which aircraft were ferried north to Edmonton Airport in Northern Alberta on the Alaska Route, to support the Alaskan Campaign against the Japanese, and also for eventual transport to Siberia as part of Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union.
Minneapolis was also a stop on ATC's "Crimson Route", the ferrying route between the manufacturing facilities in Southern California and the combat bases being constructed in the United Kingdom. It operated as a refueling and maintenance base on the transport route north to Crystal II in the Canadian Northern Territories or Goose Air Station in Labrador to support the combat forces in the United Kingdom, North Africa and other destinations.
|Church Service Program dated November 21, 1943 from the archives of Mary Willis Garner|