By SM Sgt. Wilbur Tackaberry
T-33, August 1979
With the passage of nearly half a century since its federal recognition in 1923, the Missouri Air National Guard has progressed from a single "Jenny" and 125 men to its present posture of more than 30 aircraft and 1100 men assigned to 14 units.
In the same period, the airport has developed from a wheat field to recognition as one of the nationís major air terminals. The facility has provided services for nearly every type of aircraft constructed and has welcomed the arrival of Presidents, foreign dignitaries, high ranking government and military officials and countless thousands of private and commercial aircraft passengers.
With this series of articles we have attempted to provide you with a glimpse of the past, including air mail, the international air races and origin of the Missouri Air National Guard. We have recalled the activities of such pioneer aviators as Albert Bond Lambert, Major William B. Robertson, Charles A. "Slim" Lindbergh and their many contemporaries who were able to foresee the tremendous growth potential of military, private and commercial aviation.
We have related the phases of airport development from metal hangars, grass runways and a manually operated lighting system to a maze of concrete runways and ramps equipped with the most modern lighting and navigational aids, an award-winning terminal and a control tower equipped with the most sophisticated aids to air traffic control.
The Air National Guard, equipped with the F-100 Super Sabre jet tactical fighter, a full complement of highly skilled personnel and modern support equipment stands ready to serve the nation in any national or for an international crisis.
What does the future hold in store ? For the Missouri Air National, many young men will complete their enlistments and many others will take their places to be trained as highly skilled specialists. Receipt of a late model primary mission aircraft is also anticipated. For Lambert Field, as this article reaches you, a decision undoubtedly will have been reached as to the site for a new airport to service the Jumbo-Jet, however Lambert Field will remain to service military and private aviation and the rapidly expanding air cargo operation. [Photo Left: Denny Pratte and Norm Buechting load a F-100C during gunnery practice.]
We would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Mrs. Edwin Uhl, Mr. George Herwig, Mr. Jim Johnson, SMS Daniel Wheeler for providing both photographs and background material used in this series. We are particularly indebted to Mr. Gene Poteat, publisher of the Florissant Valley Reporter, for his generosity and encouragement in allowing us to publish this series and to Mrs. Vivian Liberatore for a superb job of editing and layout (1971 edition).
In closing, may we reflect for a moment on a statement of Major General Charles H. Dubois, Chief of Staff, Missouri Air National Guard, on occasion of the unitís 30th anniversary in 1953, which so adequately expresses the thoughts of every Air National Guardsman. "In reviewing the history of the Missouri Air National Guard, from its inception in 1923 through its recent tour of active duty with the Air Force during the Korean emergency, to its present stage of reorganization, we realize that the past in many ways forecasts the future, and we can therefore look forward once again to a highly successful military unitÖand to an association of men which is rarely equaled."
Lambert Field circa 1978, F-100's parked on ramp. [Enlargement]
F4's at Lambert Field [Enlargement]
The Space Shuttle, Enterprise, at Lambert Field. [Enlargement]
History's Time Portal to Old St. Louis
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