American civilian airports at former World War II POW camps


Bradley Field – Source:

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.

Camp Freeland – Source:

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.


This entry was posted in adaptive reuse, airport planning, airports, aviation, geography, historic preservation, history, land use, North America, pictures, Transportation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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