I was quite surprised to learn recently how many sites of current civilian airports in the United States once were the location of a World War II prisoner of war camp. It was certainly not an aspect of American history I had ever learned about in school or college. Of the six (6) camps listed below, by far the largest in terms of number of prisoners held was Camp Freeland (an odd name for a POW camp, though named for the nearby community), which is now the site of MBS International Airport in the Midland-Bay City-Saginaw Region of Michigan.
- Bradley International Airport, Connecticut – then Bradley Field – housed up to 250 German prisoners.
- Hammond Northshore Regional Airport, Louisiana – German prisoner population of 150 worked at Bogalusa Tung Oil Co. or Gaylord Container.
- MBS International Airport, Michigan – then Camp Freeland – German prisoner population peaked at 1,070 in 1945 at this camp.
- Pine Bluff Regional Airport, Arkansas – then Grider Field
- Tampa International Airport, Florida – then Drew Army Airfield – POW’s worked here, but were housed at Camp Blanding located three miles away.
- Will Rogers World Airport – Oklahoma – then Camp Oklahoma City- prisoner population peaked at 225 in 1945.