These photos from Naval Air Station Corpus Christi show the U.S. war effort at full speed and air cadets in training during World War II. The Station covered 20,000 acres (81 km2) and included 997 hangars, shops, barracks, warehouses, and other buildings. There were 800 instructors taking classes of 300 new cadets every month.
Twenty-five miles of railroad were built in thirty-five days, including a 980-foot rail-highway bridge and a 400-foot trestle bridge across Oso Bay. An eighteen-inch cast iron water pipe connected Flour Bluff and Corpus Christi. Eight miles of 100-pair telephone cables were laid for a permanent telephone system in ten days. Three months before Pearl Harbor’s attack, the base became a critical source for planes and aviators. More than 35,000 aviators earned their wings there during World War II, including future President George H.W. Bush, who graduated from the academy just days before his 19th birthday. This facility was the world’s largest training facility for naval aviation in 1944.
In 1942, National Youth Administration members and Navy cadets assembled, repaired, and trained with various aircraft and war machines at the famed military base. When WWII began to take shape, and the United States edged closer to entering the war, the base was just one of many military marvels created. After the base was completed in June 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the country went to war. During World War II, it took ten months to graduate; today, it takes eighteen months, mostly because of the increased complexity of aircraft.