Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Alaska

© 2003, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 9/20/14.

This site covers airfields in all 50 states: Click here for the site's main menu.

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Original Bethel Airport (revised 3/6/14) - Bethel Airport (2nd location) (revised 8/31/12) - Eightmile Lake Airfield (revised 9/19/11)

Ft. Glenn AAF / Otter Point NAF (revised 5/24/13) - Ft. Randall AAF Satellite Field (added 11/2/13) - (Original) Huslia Airport (revised 11/16/07)

Miller Army Airfield (revised 11/2/13) - Phillips Field (revised 9/20/14) - Weeks Field (revised 9/20/14)

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Fort Randall Army Airfield Satellite Field, Cold Bay, AK

55.17 North / 162.64 West (Northwest of Anchorage, AK)

The 1949 USGS topo map depicted both Thornbrough AFB & its “Landing Strip” to the southeast.



Fort Randall Army Airfield was constructed during World War II during the secret military buildup of the Territory of Alaska that began in 1941.

Disguised as civilian employees of the Blair Canning & Packing Company, United States Army personnel in civilian clothes were shipped to Cold Bay.

Construction began in December 1941, and the airfield was ready for operation by March 1942.

The primary airfield had two 5,000' asphalt runways,

and 2 miles to the southeast was a separate satellite field with a single 5,000' gravel northwest/southeast runway.

It is not known what use (if any) the satellite airfield served.



Known units assigned to Fort Randall Army Airfield were:

1942-43: 73rd Bombardment Squadron, 1942-43: 344th Fighter Squadron,

June–July 1942: 54th Fighter Squadron, May–September 1942: 11th Fighter Squadron.



Fort Randall Army was redesignated to a Naval Auxiliary Air Facility on 4/1/43.



A 2-gun 152mm naval gun battery was located at Grant Point (one gun remains on display near the town dump).

A 4-gun 155mm gun battery on Panama mounts was located at Mortensen's Lagoon at Thin Point.



In the spring & summer of 1945, Cold Bay was the site of the largest & most ambitious transfer program of World War II,

Project Hula, in which the United States transferred 149 ships & craft to the Soviet Union

and trained 12,000 Soviet personnel in their operation in anticipation of the Soviet Union entering the war against Japan.

Fort Randall provided housing & classroom space for the instructors & trainees.

At any given time, about 1,500 American personnel were at Cold Bay & Fort Randall during Project Hula.



The installation at Cold Bay was renamed Thornbrough Air Force Base in 1948 for Captain George Thornbrough,

a U.S. Army Air Forces B-26 Marauder pilot.

Captain Thornbrough fought during the Battle of Dutch Harbor in June 1942,

bravely attacking a Japanese aircraft carrier that was launching strike aircraft at Dutch Harbor.

Although his torpedo struck the carrier, it failed to explode.

Captain Thornbrough returned to his airfield to refuel & rearm & then took off to rejoin the fight.

The aircraft & entire crew were lost during their return from this mission, when they were unable to land at Cold Bay.

The wreckage of Captain Thornbrough's aircraft was found 50 miles from Cold Bay on the north side of the Alaska Peninsula the following month.



The earliest depiction which has been located of the satellite field was on the 1949 USGS topo map,

which depicted a single northwest/southeast “Landing Strip” to the southeast of Thornbrough AFB.



The earliest photo which has been located of the Cold Bay satellite field was a 6/22/73 USGS aerial view.

It depicted a single northwest/southeast runway, heavily deteriorated, with the remains of numerous dispersal parking pads on both sides of the runway.



A 2/27/11 aerial view looking northwest showed the Fort Randall Satellite Field remained recognizable but quite deteriorated,

with many of the dispersal pads no longer evident.



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Eightmile Lake Airfield, Eightmile Lake AK

61.84 North / 151.11 West (Northwest of Anchorage, AK)

Eightmile Lake Airfield, as depicted on an undated (pre-2011) USGS topo map (courtesy of Mark Hess).



Accordng to Kenneth Rivard, “This airstrip was built for oil exploration in the 1970s, specifically to land [a] C-130 with drill equipment.

I believe it was Alaska International.

I have been on that strip several times in my PA-18”



It consists of a mile-long (5,300') paved runway, with a paved parking ramp on the southeast side,

without any buildings or other improvements.

It sits in an extremely remote area, devoid of any towns or other settlement.

Was this airfield constructed by the military, or for mining support, or some other purpose?



The earliest depiction which has been located of the Eightmile Lake Airfield was an undated (pre-2011) USGS topo map (courtesy of Mark Hess),

which depicted a single northeast/southwest runway, with a ramp on the south side.



An undated (pre-2011) aerial view (courtesy of Mark Hess) depicted a single light aircraft on the Eightmile Lake runway.



The only dated photo which has been located of the Eightmile Lake Airfield was a May 2011 aerial view looking southwest along the Eighmile Lake runway.



The 2011 Anchorage Sectional Chart depicted the Eighmile Lake Airfield as an “Unverified” airfield.



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Original Bethel Airport, Bethel AK

60.78 North / 161.78 West (Southwest of Anchorage, AK)

A 1939 aerial view looking east at the original Bethel Airport (from the Nerby family, courtesy of Jojo Prince).



The original location for the airport for the town of Bethel was located adjacent to the west side of the town,

along the northwest bank of the Kuskowim River.



The date of construction of the original Bethel Airport has not been determined.

The earliest depiction of the original Bethel Airport which has been located was a 1939 aerial view.

It depicted the field as having 2 unpaved runways on the northwest shore of the river.



By 1941 the original Bethel Airport was being replaced by a newly-constructed field on the opposite (southeast) bank of the river.



An undated aerial view looking southeast at the original Bethel Airport location (labeled “Old Field”) from a 1943 USAAF Air Route Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the “Old Field” on the northwest bank of the river, with 2 small runways,

as well as the much larger “New Field” on the opposite bank of the river.

The manual said that the “Old field across the river is being abandoned.”



An undated (circa 1940s?) aerial view looking east at the original Bethel Airport (from the Nerby family, courtesy of Jojo Prince).



The 1950 USGS topo map (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted the original Bethel Airport location on the west side of the river (labeled “Landing Field”)

as having 2 runways with 2 small buildings on the west side.



A 8/13/05 aerial view no longer depicted any trace of the original Bethel Airport.

Ironically, the present-day Bethel Airport (the 3rd location of the field) is located only one mile to the west.



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Bethel Airport (2nd location), Bethel AK

60.77 North / 161.73 West (Southwest of Anchorage, AK)

An undated aerial view looking southeast at the 2nd location of the Bethel Airport (labeled “New Field”)

from a 1943 USAAF Air Route Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The second location for the airport for the town of Bethel was located on the southeast bank of the Kuskowim River.

Construction of a runway at this site reportedly began in 1941,

replacing the much-shorter runways of the original airport adjacent to the town.



The earliest depiction of the 2nd location of Bethel Airport which has been located

was an undated aerial view from the 2/20/43 USAAF Air Route Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the “New Field” on the southeast bank of the river, with 2 perpendicular runways,

much larger than the runways of the “Old Field” on the opposite bank of the river.



The 2/20/43 USAAF Air Route Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted “Bethel Airfield”

as having 2 asphalt runways: 5,000' Runway 3/21 & 4,500' Runway 12/30.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

but a single small building was depicted just east of the runway intersection.

The field was said to be served by PAA, Star Airways, Peterson Air Service, Woodley Airways, and Peck & Rice Airways.

Bethel was described as being operated by the Civil Aeronautics Administration.



The 1950 USGS topo map (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted the 2nd location of Bethel Airport on the southeast side of the river (labeled “Landing Field”)

as having 2 runways with several small buildings along the west & north sides.



In 1951, control of the Bethel Airport site, plus another 300 acres along Napaskiak Slough, reverted to the USAF.

From 1951-53 the 30th Eng Bn (topo) used 32 acres as a campsite while mapping the area.

In 1954 the 660th Eng Bn used 3 acres for the same purpose.

Neither made any permanent improvements, and the site was abandoned by the DoD in 1954.



The FAA maintained the Bethel Airport site starting in 1955.



A mid 1957 aerial view by LeRoy German of Bethel Airport, which LeRoy recalled was taken “with a Kodak Brownie Haweye box camera.

The houses were for civilian CAA employees & their families. I am not sure what they were doing there.

I was a one-stripe E-2 radio maintenance man in the Air Force while I was there.

The 5-man Detachment 2, 10th Radio Relay Squadron site there is obscured by the photo smudge.

The relay site was being re-located to Tern Mountain, 100 miles west on the coast to improve radio propagation between Cape Romanzoff & Cape Newenham radar sites.

I spent the last 7 months of my tour at the 2-man Tern Mountain site.

The new airport & the 713th AC&W radar site were under construction northwest of Bethel at this time.

We would cross the river to Bethel on the ice in winter, and by boat in summer.”



By 1957, another Bethel Airport was operating in a 3rd location, one mile to the west.



The 1957 USGS topo map depicted the clearings for the 2 runways at the site of the 2nd location of the Bethel Airport,

but it was unlabeled.



The FAA maintained the property of the 2nd Bethel Airport site until 1959,

after which the it was utilized by residents for their fish camps.



In 1998, a contract was awarded to remove drums of tar that had been eroding into the Kuskokwim River from the Bethel Airport site.



A 8/13/05 aerial showed the very recognizable outline of the perpendicular runways at the site of the 2nd location of Bethel Airport,

with pavement appearing to remain somewhat intact along the former Runway 3/21.



LeRoy German recalled, “I returned there in July 2010 & all that remained was part of the asphalt runway for emergencies.”



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Fort Glenn Army Airfield / Otter Point Naval Air Facility, Umnak Island, AK

53.37 North / 167.9 West (Southwest of Anchorage, AK)

An undated aerial view looking west at Ft. Glenn AAF (from a February 20, 1943 USAAF Air Route Manual, courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The Ft. Glenn site was acquired in 1942, according to an Army Corps of Engineers FUDS report (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It was located on Umnak Island at Umnak Pass, the narrow body of water separating Umnak & Unalaska islands.

The 102,062-acre site was improved with Quonset huts, buildings, ammunition magazines, hangars, and 4 paved runways.



Blythe Block recalled, “My father, Stan Block, was with the Army Corp of Engineers & helped build the original airfield.

My father was on the detail which brought the Marsden Mats to the first runway.

If you look at the geography of the island, you might wonder how they got the Marsden Mats up the bluffs to the plateau of the island, so that the first runway could be built.

My father & others rigged a 'mule', some kind of diesel engine, and used it to haul each of the heavy steel mats up the bluff, in order to build the first runway.

Because of the presence of that runway, our fighters were able to repel the first Japanese attacks at Dutch Harbor.

My father & mother hosted some of the PBY pilots stationed near Yakutat Bay, pilots who later died defending our country.”



Charles Donovan recalled, “In May 1942 through December 1944 I was stationed at Chernofski Bay & USNAAS Otter Point, Umnak.

Six of us US Navy radiomen were sent there to set up weather reporting stations.

I was at Otter Point when they were installing the Marsden matting to make it.

I saw the first P-40s, P-38s and B-24s use it.”



George Jones reported, “I was watching the Discovery Military Channel [2005].

They were showing a documentary that covered WWII in Alaska - the Aleutian Island Campaign in particular.

The program pointed out that during the initial build up of Alaskan defenses,

a secret airfield (reportedly disguised as a cannery) was built on the Eastern end of Umnak Island.

Fighters launched from that base (which was later to be called Fort Glenn) were successful in turning back the first Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor -

the Japanese had sent in their bombers without fighter escort.

The whole idea of a secret airbase that, apparently, even the Army brass didn't know about, fascinated me.

It sounded like something right out of a Blackhawk Squadron comic book.”



The Navy's facility, Otter Point Naval Air Facility, was adjacent to the Army Airfield.

According to a Navy report (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

Construction was carried out entirely by Seabees & the Army.

The development of the facility at Otter Point was approved by the Secretary of the Navy on September 18, 1942,

and Commanding General Alaska Defense Command assigned the required land on September 25, 1942.

The work was done by a detachment of the 8th Construction Battalion.”



The Navy report continued, “Housing & messing facilities for 119 officers & 359 men were constructed,

as well as recreational & ship's service buildings.

Storage facilities consisted of 6,975 square feet for general stores & a 150-cubic-foot freezer.

Buildings for aircraft included a kodiak-type hangar, 160' x 90', a squadron warehouse, and a terminal for air transport service.

Administration offices were housed in 5 buildings with a total floor space of 3,850 square feet.

Radio facilities included a transmitting station, a direction-finder station, and a radar station,

all with separate power houses & with housing & messing provisions for personnel.

The hospital, located in one small building, contained 8 beds.”



The Navy report continued, “The maintenance force of the station was installed in 7 buildings.

Electric power was provided by 3 diesel-electric generators.

All other utilities were furnished by the Army at Fort Glenn, which also provided landing strips & revetments,

aviation gasoline & fuels of other types, provisions, and repair facilities for aircraft.”



A February 20, 1943 USAAF Air Route Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Ft. Glenn AAF as having an unusual airfield layout,

with 4 paved 5,000' runways, two of which were situated only 10 degrees apart.

Runway 4/22 was described as consisting of steel mat, while the other 3 were said to be under construction.

A network of taxiways ringed the runways, along which were sited no less than 60 individual aircraft dispersal pads.

Three hangars were depicted on the northeast corner of the field,

and repair shops were depicted on the west side.



An approach plate for Ft. Glenn AAF from the February 20, 1943 USAAF Air Route Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Ft. Glenn's 2 satellite fields, #1 located 9 miles north-northwest & #2 located 7 miles southwest.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Ft Glenn AAF

was on the January 1947 World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of David Brooks).

It depicted Ft. Glenn AAF as having a 8,300' paved runway, and a control tower.

Its 2 satellite airfields were also depicted (North Shore & Pacifier).



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Ft Glenn AAF

was on th February 1947 World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of David Brooks).

It depicted Ft. Glenn AAF as having a 8,300' paved runway, and a control tower.

Its 2 satellite airfields were also depicted (North Shore & Pacifier).



The Ft. Glenn site was excessed between 1952-55 to the Bureau of Land Management

and later transferred to numerous owners (Native corporations & the State of Alaska),

according to an Army Corps of Engineers FUDS report (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



No airfield at Ft. Glenn was depicted on the April 1988 Dutch Harbor World Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



As seen in a circa 2005 aerial photo,

the outlines of the former runways of Ft. Glenn were still barely perceptible,

more than 50 years after the field was abandoned.



Marc Hookerman recalled of the Ft. Glenn Airfield, “I was out there in 2005 on a freight contract,

and we graded one of the old runways so it would be usable for larger aircraft.”



A 2008 aerial view looking south at Ft Glenn Airfield by Dirk Bowen.

Dirk reported, “I went to Fort Glenn today on a medevac.

It's not in the Alaska supplement, although it is still in occasional use.

There is a cattle ranch there now, most of the work including herding is done with R-22s, but 2 runways are still usable.”



A 2008 photo by Dirk Bowen of the King Air 200 he landed at the Ft Glenn Airfield.

Dirt observed, “It was very soft (I also have a shot of the wheels & the tracks we were leaving, about 3/4 inch deep).

We didn't want to turn around because the runway is narrow & most likely softer on the edges,

so we stopped as short as we could & took off from there.”



A 6/16/11 photo by Steve of a Cessna 441 at the Ft Glenn Airfield.

Steve reported, “The feds have put out contracts for hazardous waste cleanup at all the WWII sites in Alaska.

I fly for a charter company & we had the contract to support the cleanup crew at Ft. Glenn.

They found chemical bombs. For the last year & a half the various federal agencies have been shuffling paperwork to get permits, etc. to clean it up.”



A 6/16/11 photo by Steve of the remains of a Northrop P-61 Black Widow night fighter at the Ft Glenn Airfield (note the windsock in the background).



A 6/16/11 photo by Steve (enhanced by Bill Grasha) of 2 Quonset huts at Ft Glenn, one of which is earthen covered.

Steve reported, “Ft. Glenn was huge, covering many square miles. They laid in underground water pipes & ran phone lines all over.

Some of the Quonset huts are 10 miles or more from the runways.”



A September 2011 satellite picture of the northeastern portion of a runway & other remains at Ft. Glenn (courtesy of Lars Gleitsmann).



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Weeks Field, Fairbanks, AK

64.84 North / 147.73 West (Northeast of Fairbanks International Airport, AK)

Noel Wien's Hamilton Metalplane H47 NC7791 pictured in 1929 at Weeks Field (courtesy of Chris Kennedy, enhanced by Bill Grasha).



According to the website of the current Fairbanks International Airport,

aviation service in the Fairbanks area was initiated at Weeks Field (also known as Weeks Ball Park) in 1923.

This multi-use facility gained importance in the community & throughout the Alaska aviation system

from the time that Carl Ben Eielson first flew into Fairbanks in 1923 to start Alaskan Airways.



A majority of Fairbanks's general aviation & commercial air traffic was accommodated at Weeks Field through mid-century.



A 1930 revision page of the 1929 Union Oil of California “Airplane Landing Fields of the Pacific West” (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described the Fairbanks “Territorial” Airport as being operated the the Alaska Road Commission.

The field was said to have two 2,000' runways(southeast/northwest & east/west), in an X configuration.

The field was said to offer hangars, fuel, and repairs.



A July 1930 aerial of looking east at Weeks Field (from Alaska's Digital Archives, courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

Several hangars were visible on the north side of the field, along with 2 aircraft.

The field had several unpaved runways.

There is also what appeared to be a set of bleachers, in between the hangars.



A circa 1931-32 photo by Harold Schober (courtesy of Todd Swain) of an “Alaska Airways Inc” hangar, presumably at Weeks Field.



According to John Ragle, in 1940 flight instructor Richard Ragle occupied a site on Weeks Field.

The field consisted of a gravel strip (during the summers) running from Gillam Way & ending in the town dump.

The first site occupied by Ragle was at the east end of the runway, off Gillam Way,

and the second was about midway along the north edge of the runway at the end of a skid road bulldozed through the brush.

In the latter, the installation consisted of a couple of "wanigans" on skids,

one of which was arranged so that the nose or engine nacelle of a plane

could be brought inside for the necessary, frequent, maintenance required by propeller-driven planes.

The other wanigan was used for ground-school operations.



The Ragle flying school & air service on Weeks Field continued during 1940 and early 1941

with a Federal Grant through the University of Alaska for pilot training,

and some 50 pilots graduated via this effort.



The earliest chart depiction of Weeks Field which has been located

was on the June 1942 Fairbanks Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted Weeks as a commercial/municipal airport.



The Ragle flying school at Weeks Field had ceased operations by 1943 or 1944.



An undated (circa 1940s?) aerial view looking south toward Weeks Field from a postcard (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Weeks Field as having several hangars & unpaved runways,

as well as a very large circular marking.

The runway configuration is different than that depicted in an earlier photo.



The 1945 USAAF Pilot's Handbook (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Weeks Field as having a single east/west runway.



The January 1946 Fairbanks Sectional (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Weeks Field as having a commercial/municipal airport.



City growth surrounded Weeks Field in the 1940s,

leading to plans which coalesced in 1948 for development of a new airport to the southwest of Fairbanks,

which eventually became Fairbanks International Airport.



The 1949 USGS topo map depicted Weeks Field as having a single northwest/southeast runway.



The last photo which has been located of Weeks Field was an 8/8/49 USGS aerial view.

It depicted Weeks Field as having a single northwest/southeast runway,

with several planes visible around the east end of the field.



Mary recalled, “In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s my family lived in the old Weeks Field Restaurant; my parents turned it into our home.

It was located at 826 Smythe Street, Fairbanks, on the corner of Cowles Street & Smythe Street.”



The Weeks Field control tower was decommissioned on 6/1/51 (according to the Fairbanks FSS website),

and flight operations were shifted from Weeks Field to the new airport in 1951.

Not long after the field closed, the abandoned Weeks Field control tower burned down on 10/18/51.



A 9/12/51 USGS aerial photo shows buildings being constructed adjacent to both sides of the Weeks Field runway.



The last map depiction which has been located of Weeks Field was on the 1952 USGS topo map.

It depicted Weeks Field as having a single northwest/southeast runway, with a row of buildings to the south.



The 1955 USGS topo map depicted several streets covering the site of Weeks Field.



Mary recalled, “After many years my mother had it [the former Weeks Field Restaurant] burned down to sell the property.

Much to my dismay; as I would love to have it for historical reasons.”



A 6/14/67 USGS aerial photo no longer showed any trace of the Weeks Field runway.



At some point the site of Weeks Field was reused as Weeks Field Park.



As seen in the 1998 USGS aerial photo,

Weeks Field Park occupies a portion of the former airport property.

The large building northwest of the center of the photo is reportedly the old Pan-Am hangar, now a bowling alley.

It appears to match a building depicted in the aerial photo several paragraphs above.



A circa 2010 aerial view looking north at which appears to be the former Weeks Field Pan-Am hangar, surrounded on 3 sides by modern additions,

and reused as the Arctic Bowl bowling alley.



The site of Weeks Field is located northeast of the intersection of Cowles Road & Airport Way.

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Phillips Field, Fairbanks, AK

64.85 North / 147.8 West (Northeast of Fairbanks International Airport, AK)

Phillips Field, as depicted on the 1955 USGS topo map.





Phillips Field may have been established at some point between 1952-53,

as it was not yet depicted on a 9/12/51 USGS aerial photo nor on the 1952 USGS topo map.

The earliest reference which has been located to Phillips Field came from Tom Slaney,

who recalled, “ I took my first flying lesson 7/4/53 at Phillips Field.”



The earliest depiction which has been located of Phillips Field was on the 1955 USGS topo map,

which depicted Phillips as having a single east/west runway.



Dave Menard recalled, “In the spring of 1957, I walked out to Phillips Field to see if there were any aircraft of interest.

There was one, the steel frame remains of a Fairchild Pilgrim, which had been burned by the local fire brigade as a training event (sob!).”



The earliest photo which has been located of Phillips Field was a circa 1959 photo (enhanced by Bill Grasha)

looking northeast at a ski-equipped Cub landing at Phillips Field, with 2 hangars in the background.



A circa 1959 photo (enhanced by Bill Grasha) of a ski-equipped Cub landing at Phillips Field.



The last photo which has been located showing Phillips Field was a 6/14/67 USGS aerial view.

It depicted Phillips as having a single paved east/west runway, with several buildings & a large quantity of light aircraft on the northeast side.



The 1975 USGS topo map depicted Phillips Field as having a single paved east/west runway,

with a few buildings on the northeast side.



The last depiction which has been located of Phillips Field was on the 1976 USGS topo map.



Bev Hormann recalled, “Phillips Field... I know that the airfield ran into 1971-72. My ex-husband flew out of the field in the fall of 1971 headed north to work.

I remember dropping him off in a brand new 1971 canary yellow Camaro we had borrowed at the small blue at the building next to the blue hangar (that still exists [as of 2013]).”



Dave Critchfield reported, “In September 1989 it was still open the but shortly thereafter, it was closed to make room for the new freeway.”



Phillips Field was no longer depicted on the 1992 USGS topo map.



Phillips Field had been covered by the Johansen Expressway by the time of the 1998 USGS aerial view.

The expressway was built right over the runway, but at least 2 hangars remained standing on the northeast side.

It is not known if any of the buildings along the south side date to the property's days as an airport.



A circa 2006-2010 aerial view looking north showed a hangar remaining on the north side of the Phillips Field site.



A circa 2006-2010 aerial view looking north showed a hangar remaining on the northeast corner of the Phillips Field site.



A 6/2/09 aerial view showed that the 2 hangars remained standing on the northeast side of the Phillips Field site.



Dave Critchfield reported in 2010, “Some of the hangars are still there used by other businesses.”



The site of Phillips Field is located east of the intersection of Johansen Expressway & Peger Road.

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Miller Army Airfield, Cape Chiniak, AK

57.62 North / 152.2 West (Southwest of Anchorage, AK)

Miller Field, as depicted on a 1946 AK Road Commission Map (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud).



Miller Army Airfield was located on Kodiak Island.

It was evidently built during WW2 as a fighter landing strip,

to assist in any needed defense of Alaska.

 

The date of construction of Miller Field has not been determined.

It was not yet depicted on a February 1943 USAAF Air Route Manual of Alaska (according to Chris Kennedy).

 The earliest depiction of Miller Field which has been located

was on a 1946 AK Road Commission Map (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud).

 

An undated topo map depicting the runway of Miller Field.

 

The January 1947 World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud)

depicted Miller as a civilian airfield, having a single 5,000' hard-surface northeast/southwest runway.

 

The 1949 USGS topo map depicted Miller as having a single northeast/southwest runway.



The only photo which has been located of Miller Field was a 6/1/52 USGS aerial view,

which depicted Miller as having a single northeast/southwest paved runway.



According to a book by Tony Smaker (via Timothy Aanerud),

in 1958 a C-124 managed to land at Miller Field,

but tore up good portion of the perforated steel plate which made up Miller's runway surface.



Karl Esch recalled, “My father was the XO of FASRON 114, NAS Kodiak in the late 1950s.

We had a quonset hut for a weekend cabin not far from Miller Field on Chiniak Point.

When our family trekked the 40 miles from the NAS to Chiniak for the weekend,

my father always took the family station wagon for a high speed run down Miller Field to 'blow out the carbon' and thrill his kids.

It was probably the fastest place you could drive, other than the NAS runways, on the entire island.”



Pete Azzole was at Miller Field in 1962. He recalled, "When I was there, Miller Field was merely steel matting.

I don't recall finding any structures or remnants thereof in the immediate vicinity of the field."

 

According to George Zonoff, “Miller Field was in active use during the period 1962-68

in support of the Air Force Kodiak Tracking Station.

During that period C-124s laden with cargo were able to land without difficulty

on the perforated metal strips despite the absence of air-to-ground communications.

In addition, technical support provided by C-54s landed as well,

although during landing it was clear the perforated landing was 'rolled up'

in front of the landing gear wheels & the aircraft rolled to a stop.

And, plenty of light private aircraft made practice landings & takeoffs during that period.

Notably, after the 1964 earthquake, many families took refuge

at the tracking station & abandoned housing facilities adjacent to the airstrip (Quonset Huts),

and were subsequently flown out on a MATS C-54 once facilities were restored in the City of Kodiak.”



In the 1960s P-3 Orions flew up from Moffett Field CA to Miller Field

to retrieve spy satellite film retrieved by C-130s & dropped off at Fort Miller.

 

The May 1965 Operational Navigation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Miller Field as having a 5,000' runway.



According to Karl Esch, “All the matting was scavenged for various purposes around the island when the Navy withdrew in the early 1970s.”

 

Miller Field was most likely maintained until the adjacent Chiniak Kodiak Tracking Station was closed,

according to an article in the March 17 1975 issue of the Kodiak Mirror newspaper (according to Timothy Aanerud).

 

The last depiction of Miller Field as an active airfield which has been located

was on the March 1978 Kodiak Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted Miller as an Air Force airfield, but its listed runway configuration had been reduced to only a 2,400' unpaved runway.



Miller Field was evidently closed at some point between 1978-98.



A July 1998 photo by Joe Stevens of the differential GPS transmitter just beside the Miller Field runway.



In 1998 Joe Stevens reported that the Coast Guard had "recently installed a differential GPS transmitter just beside the Miller Field runway.

The runway condition is severely potholed and some of the rusty Marston matting has been partially removed.

It is NOT suitable for landing an airplane."



George Zonoff reported, “A visit to Kodiak in 2004 revealed the metal airstrip had been completely removed

and the landing strip is reverting to native vegetation & in several more years will be completely invisible.”



Karl Esch recalled, “In 2004 & 2006, we drove on what is left of Miller Field, which is not much.

The cattle corral, made in part from Miller Field matting is alongside the road to Pasagshak Bay.

The twisted pieces of matting are near what is now the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation launch site on Near Cape, Kodiak.”



A 7/14/10 view looking southwest along Miller Field showed the runway to remain intact though deteriorated.



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(Original) Huslia Airport, Huslia, AK

65.69 North / 156.39 West (Northwest of Fairbanks, AK)

The original Huslia Airport, as depicted on the 1956 USGS topo map.



According to www.explorenorth.com, the first airport was constructed in the little community of Huslia in 1952.



The earliest depiction which has been located of the Huslia Airport was on the 1956 USGS topo map.

It depicted the “Landing Strip” southeast of the town as having a single northeast/southwest runway.



The original Huslia Airport,

as depicted on the May 1965 USAF Operational Navigation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The original Huslia Airport was described in the 1995 AOPA Airport Directory (according to Jonathan Westerling)

as having a single 3,000' gravel Runway 3/21.



A 1995 photo of the original Huslia Airport (courtesy of the Alaska DOT, via Jonathan Westerling), while it was still open.

A small ramp along the southwest side of the runway had one small building,

but there did not appear to be any hangars.



In 1998 the decision was made to construct a new airport for Huslia that would meet current FAA standards

and provide safer year-round transportation (according to www.house.gov).



The new 4,000' runway was completed in 2000,

at which point the old airport was presumably closed.

According to the FAA, the cost of the new airport was $4,305,612.



A 2000 photo (courtesy of the Alaska DOT, via Jonathan Westerling) of the original Huslia Airport (bottom left), along with the replacement airport (top right).

The original runway still exists intact, between the town & the new airport.



Thanks to Jonathan Westerling for pointing out this airfield.

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