LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - More than 75 years ago, thousands of men were being trained to become pilots for WWII at Dagley Field, right where the Coronado High School Athletic Complex currently stands.
The cross streets of 34th and Toledo may just be known as the Coronado High School Athletic Complex to most people, but that area has a significant history and will be recognized this Saturday as a Texas Historic Landmark for its affiliation with WWII.
John McCullough has been researching this part of Lubbock's history for years. He wrote the book Breedlove, an Empire of the Air, 1939-48.
"[Dagley Field] was a way of taking those young men who wanted to be a pilot and putting them through the program of in classroom training at Texas Tech and sending them to Dagley Field," McCullough said.
This area started as Dagley Field, led by Maenard Dagley, in 1942.
"They started training dozens and then it started to be hundreds then it became thousands of pilots who were trained," he said. "At Dagley Field there were about 6,000 trained here in Lubbock, about half were trained at Dagley Field."
Duties were taken over by Clent Breedlove until training ended in 1944. The area was then changed to Lubbock Aero Field, but was shut down in 1944 after an accidental fire.
"The whole thing went up in flames and burned to the ground," McCullough said. "Five aircrafts were burned and lost and so the owner of Lubbock Aero Field decided to close it up for good at that point."
Now the area is being recognized as a historical landmark in Lubbock.
"This was a major impact in Lubbock's economy and an important chapter in Lubbock's history," he said. "It helped further show Lubbock's efforts in winning WWII and Lubbock's efforts in helping in to provide the military with the pilots that they needed to help win the war."
The Lubbock County Historical Commission will dedicate Dagley Field as a Texas Historic Landmark this Saturday, June 16th, at 10 a.m.