The Great Plains During World War II


The tempo of activity at Rapid City's new air bombing base is increasing daily, looking toward the time, within the next few weeks, when it may reach a climax of several thousand workmen throwing up the many buildings and other facilities to be needed there.

Workmen under the direction of the army engineer corps are rushing an office building for the corps, which, on completion of the project, will be one of many barracks on the grounds. Foundations have been completed and the building itself is beginning to take form.

Altogether about 50 men are at work at the field.

Although the drilling rig itself, which will seek the required 1,000,000 gallons of water per day, will not arrive until the first of the week, a crew of men of the Manning and Martin company, Denver, Colo., are erecting a 136-foot steel derrick. The rig, weighing over 200 tons, was to have arrived from the Lance Creek oil fields in Wyoming Saturday, but was delayed a few days in starting for Rapid City, Charles E. Basket of the company's Casper, Wyo., office is in charge of the crew here at present.

Local aviation backers said Thursday there is some confusion over the announcement Wednesday that an original Civil Aeronautics Authority allotment to Rapid City had been withdrawn.

The CAA allotment has absolutely nothing to do with the bombing base now under construction, they explained.

Before the bombing base was awarded to Rapid City the CAA had made plans to develop the field for commercial aviation and allotted approximately $275,000. When the army decided on Rapid City's airport as the site of a bombing base that eliminated any necessity of the CAA going ahead with its development. Official withdrawal of the CAA fund was not made until Thursday.

The air base appropriation is approximately $8,500,000.

Since then, part of the CAA allotment has been awarded to Spearfish for improvements.

Col. Richard Selee, district engineer, Fort Peck, Mont., was here Wednesday to confer with the area engineer, Major Elmer H. Oechsle, in charge of actual construction. Both the Rapid City and Provo defense developments come under Col. Selee's Fort Peck office.