Wendover Airfield Training the heavies

Something happens when you turn final to Runway 26 at Wendover. It seems as though your single-engine Cessna suddenly becomes a mighty B-17, the throttle under your hand controls four engines, not one. Your 60 indicated with full flaps becomes 110, and you swear you're flying with Egan and Cleven, Sammy Barr, Jack Swartout and all the rest. You touch down and taxi to the ops building, and only when you pull the mixture does the moment end, and you realize you've just flown the same approach as so many of your heroes. You sit for a moment in the silence, remembering the men who didn't come home, the high price paid by so many. Silently you give thanks to God there were men like these.

This is the officer's club, currently the main portion of the museum. I've been told it was the only O Club on the base, but I can't image that's the case, considering how many men where there.
The restored Mess Hall in the club. Supposedly they used the original plans of the building. A model of the entire base, circa '44, is in the foreground.
Again, I can't imagine this room holding all the officers on the base at one time.
This is the dance hall. There was a local drill team from Wendover practicing last time I was there. Still dancin'...
The dress uniform of James Brown, an armorer of the 351st. Most of the displays center around the 509th Composite Group and the atomic bomb, if you're into that. I'm more fascinated by the traditional bomb groups, the 100th BG and Jimmy Stewart's (yes, THAT Jimmy Stewart) 445th.
These are the old hangars, looking towards the tarmac. Sorry about some lousy photos. I was short on time.
This is the ops building and the restored control tower. Currently the FBO and HQ for the restoration effort going on at the field.
One of my favorite photos in the ops building--the "350th Bomb Squadron." It's hanging in a bad spot for photos. Unless you're there at night you're gonna get some glare.
Sammy Barr right there.
Here's the whole squadron. Lousy photography, I know.
Turkey Day, 1942
A look inside the restored tower. Wendover has an air show every September, If you're in SLC drive out, hit the show, play in the casinos. Fun weekend.
Looking down the tarmac from the tower. You can see the top of the Enola Gay hangar in the distance. They're just about finished restoring that.
I've always wondered why they picked Wendover for a training base. Density altitude is a problem--getting a loading B-17 or -24 or -29 off a runway at 4,200 feet must've been a chore on a hot summer day--and there's moutains all around.
In the ops building there's a gift shop, with a board that lists all the groups that came through Wendover.
One of the t-shirts in the gift shop. The make one for B-24 groups too.
This is a row of barracks. The painted one on the end contains a business. There are hundreds of these buildings, many of them collapsed.
The base hospital. These buildings were the wards, the main building is about where I'm standing and contains a business.
More barracks.
They say it'd take $3-5 million to restore the whole base. Wish I had it.
This is the base chapel. Someone bought it and turned it into apartments. WTF.

This concludes my little photo tour of Wendover Airfield. There's also a Norden bomb site storage building--complete with bank vault doors--and a couple other buildings under restoration. You can't go in them yet 'cause they're full of asbestos. I'm grateful for all who passed through this base, en route to glory and disaster, and to those who protect our freedom today.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.