Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields

Arizona - Gila Bend area

© 2002, © 2013 by Paul Freeman. Revised 5/25/13.

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Ajo AAF Aux #1 / Williams AF Aux #1 / Luke AF Aux #7 SW (revised 2/8/12) - Ajo AAF Aux #3 / Williams AF Aux #3 / Luke AF Aux #9 (revised 2/8/12)

Ajo AAF Aux #2 / Williams AF Aux #2 / Luke AF Aux #8 (revised 2/8/12) - Gila Bend Airport (2nd location) (revised 5/25/13)

Gila Bend AAF Aux #4 / Williams AF Aux #4 / Luke AF Aux #10 (revised 2/8/12) - Gila Bend AAF Aux #5 / Williams AF Aux #5 / Luke AF Aux #11 (revised 2/8/12)

Gila Bend AAF Aux #6 / Williams AF Aux #6 (revised 2/8/12)

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Gila Bend Airport (2nd location), Gila Bend, AZ

32.94 North / 112.68 West (West of Gila Bend AF Aux, AZ)

A 5/31/61 aerial view depicted the 2nd location of the Gila Bend Airport.



The Gila Bend Airport was originally located north of the town

as depicted on the 1958 Phoenix Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

 

At some point between 1958-60, the Gila Bend Airport was moved to this location, southeast of the town,

as Anne Miller recalled, “I know that the Gila Bend Airport (2nd location) was open in 1960

because I flew in there on my first solo cross country from Tucson on the way to Phoenix.”



The earliest depiction which has been located of the 2nd location of the Gila Bend Airport was a 5/31/61 aerial photo.

It depicted the field as having 2 unpaved runways, with a hangar & one single-engine aircraft on the east side.



The earliest chart depiction which has been located of the 2nd location of the Gila Bend Airport

was on the 1964 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It described Gila Bend as having a 3,200' unpaved runway.

 

The August 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted both the "Gila Bend" Airport (southeast of the town of Gila Bend),

as well as the new "Gila Bend Muni" Airport (northeast of the town).

 

The 1972 Flight Guide (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted Gila Bend as having a 3,200' runway 12/30,

(as well as a closed, shorter crosswind runway),

along with a single building (a hangar?) just northeast of the runway intersection.

 

The Gila Bend Airport at this location was apparently closed at some point between 1972-73,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the 1973 USGS topo map.

 

As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo, the 2 dirt runways of the former Gila Bend Airport were still quite recognizable,

with closed-runway "X" symbols still visible on both ends of the north/south runway.

The remains of the foundation of the hangar still existed, just east of the runway intersection.



A 6/8/07 aerial view looking northwest showed the 2 dirt runways of the former Gila Bend Airport were still quite recognizable,

with the closed-runway "X" symbol still barely recognizable on the south end of the shorter runway.



Thanks to Chris Kennedy for pointing out this airfield.

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Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #6 / Williams Air Force Aux #6, Gila Bend, AZ

32.89 North / 112.82 West (West of Gila Bend AF Aux, AZ)

A 6/23/43 aerial view looking north at “Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #6”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



This field is one of a string of WW2 AAF training airfields along Rt.85 between Gila Bend & Ajo.

It was built during WW2 as one of a large number of satellite airfields for Ajo AAF & Gila Bend AAF.

It is located just west of the still-operational Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Airfield.



The earliest depiction which has been located of this field

was a 6/23/43 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted “Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #6” as having 3 paved runways with a paved ramp on the south side.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #6”

as a 640 acre square property having 3 bituminous 3,654' runways.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Army Air Forces.

 

This field was listed as Gila Bend Aux AAF #6 in a directory of AZ Airports

in the 5/47 issue of Arizona Highways (courtesy of George Miller),

which described the field as being unattended, and the longest runway as being 3,700'.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of this field

was on the 1949 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It labeled the field as "Williams AF Aux #6".



The 1950 USGS topo map depicted the 3 runways & ramp, labeled simply as "Airfield".



It was still depicted as an active Air Force field on the 1956 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).

 

It was depicted as "Williams AF #6" on the 1969 USGS topo map.

 

"Williams AF Aux #6" was still depicted as an active airfield

on the August 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

 Williams AF Aux #6 was closed at some point between 1971-81,

as it was labeled merely as “Landing Field” on the 1981 USGS topo map.



The 3 runways & ramp of Williams Aux #6 were still depicted on the 1991 USGS topo map,

labeled merely as “Landing Field”.

The overall property was labeled as “Luke Air Force Range”.



USGS photo 1996.

 

A remarkable composite picture, in which David Brooks has superimposed close-up views

of the numerous former satellite airfields in the Gila Bend area over the 1992 USGS aerial photo.



A February 2007 aerial view by Ken Calman, looking southeast at Williams Aux #6.

The remains of the three 4,000' runways still existed, as well as the ramp area.

Ken observed that among the many WW2-era airfields in this area,

this one is “the only one I know of that looks to be in such good condition, as if it's being used frequently.

This lies just inches west of the airspace of the Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Airport.”



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Gila Bend AAF Aux #5 / Williams AF Aux #5 / Luke Air Force Aux #11, Gila Bend, AZ

32.82 North / 112.91 West (Southwest of Gila Bend AF Aux, AZ)

A 6/23/43 aerial view looking north at “Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #5”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



This field is one of a string of WW2 AAF training airfields along Rt.85 between Gila Bend & Ajo.

It was built during WW2 as one of a large number of satellite airfields for Ajo AAF & Gila Bend AAF.

It is located southwest of the still-operational Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Airfield.



The earliest depiction which has been located of this field

was a 6/23/43 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted “Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #5” as having 3 paved runways with a paved ramp on the south side.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #5”

as a 640 acre square property having 3 bituminous 3,654' runways.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Army Air Forces.



This field was listed as Gila Bend Aux AAF #5 in a directory of AZ Airports

in the 5/47 issue of Arizona Highways (courtesy of George Miller),

which described the field as being unattended, and the longest runway as being 3,700'.

 

The 1950 USGS topo map depicted the 3 runways & ramp, labeled simply as "Airfield".



It was still depicted as an active Air Force Field, "Williams AF #5"

on the 1956 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).



It was depicted as "Luke AF #11" on the 1969 USGS topo map.



This airfield apparently was closed by 1971,

as it was labeled "Closed Luke AF Aux #11"

on the August 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



It was labeled merely as “Landing Field” on the 1981 USGS topo map.



The 3 runways & ramp of Luke Aux #11 were still depicted on the 1991 USGS topo map,

labeled merely as “Landing Strips”.



The 1996 USGS aerial photo showed the field remained intact.



A 6/8/07 aerial view showed the remains of three 4,000' runways still existed.

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Gila Bend AAF Aux #4 / Williams AF Aux #4 / Luke Air Force Aux #10, Gila Bend, AZ

32.72 North / 112.85 West (Southwest of Gila Bend AF Aux, AZ)

A 6/23/43 aerial view looking east at “Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #4”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



One of a string of WW2 AAF training airfields along Rt.85 between Gila Bend & Ajo.

Built during WW2 as one of a large number of satellite airfields for Ajo AAF & Gila Bend AAF.



The earliest depiction which has been located of this field

was a 6/23/43 aerial view looking east from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted “Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #4” as having 3 paved runways with a paved ramp on the west side.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Gila Bend AAF Auxiliary #4”

as a 640 acre square property having 3 bituminous 3,654' runways.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Army Air Forces.



This field was listed as Gila Bend Aux AAF #4 in a directory of AZ Airports

in the 5/47 issue of Arizona Highways (courtesy of George Miller),

which described the field as being unattended, and the longest runway as being 3,700'.

 

It was still depicted as an active Air Force Field, "Williams AF #4"

on the 1956 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).



The 1958 USGS topo map depicted the 3 runways & ramp, labeled simply as "Airfield".



It was depicted as "Luke AF #10" on the 1969 USGS topo map.

 

This airfield apparently was closed at some point between 1956-71,

as it was labeled closed on the August 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The 1981 USGS topo map still depicted the 3 runways, but labeled them simply as “Landing Field”.



Strangely, the 1986 USGS topo map did not depict the airfield at all,

even though the 3 runways were still quite intact,

and the same topo map depicted some of the other nearby abandoned auxiliary airfields.



As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo,

the remains of three 4,000' runways still existed.



A circa 2006 aerial view showed the field remained in the same condition.

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Ajo AAF Auxiliary #3 / Williams AF Auxiliary #3/ Luke Air Force Auxiliary #9, Gila Bend, AZ

32.66 North / 112.87 West (Southwest of Gila Bend AF Aux, AZ)

A 6/23/43 aerial view looking north at “Ajo AAF Auxiliary (Luke Landing Field #3)”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



This airfield is one of a string of WW2 AAF training airfields along Rt.85 between Gila Bend & Ajo.

It was built during WW2 as one of a large number of satellite airfields for Ajo AAF & Gila Bend AAF.



The earliest depiction which has been located of this field

was a 6/23/43 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted “Ajo AAF Auxiliary (Luke Landing Field #3)” as having 3 paved runways with a paved ramp on the west side.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Ajo AAF Auxiliary (Luke Landing Field #3)”

as a 600 acre triangular property having 3 bituminous 3,650' runways.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Army Air Forces.



This field was listed as Ajo Aux AAF #3 in a directory of AZ Airports

in the 5/47 issue of Arizona Highways (courtesy of George Miller),

which described the longest runway as 3,700', and being unattended.

 

It was still depicted as an active Air Force Field, "Williams AF #3"

on the 1956 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).



The 1958 USGS topo map depicted the 3 runways & ramp, labeled simply as "Airfield",

as well as the bomb scoring towers adjacent to the west.



It was depicted as "Luke AF #9" on the 1969 USGS topo map.



This airfield apparently was closed at some point between 1956-71,

as it was labeled closed on the August 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The 1981 USGS topo map still depicted the 3 runways, but labeled them simply as “Landing Field”.



Strangely, the 1986 USGS topo map did not depict the airfield at all,

even though the 3 runways were still quite intact,

and the same topo map depicted some of the other nearby abandoned auxiliary airfields.



As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo,

the remains of three 4,000' runways still existed.

 

A 1997 aerial view by Steve Hoza, looking west at Ajo Aux #3 / Luke Aux #9.

The photo is courtesy of Steve Hoza, from the book "Best Place in the Country", by Mike & Steve Hoza.

Several large target circles for aircraft bombing practice are cut into the desert just west of the airfield,

and a road leading to the targets bisected the airfield.

The targets are reportedly still used by fighters from Luke AFB.



A circa 2006 aerial view showed the field remained in the same condition.



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Ajo AAF Aux #2 / Williams AF Aux #2 / Luke Air Force Aux #8, Gila Bend, AZ

32.61 North / 112.88 West (Southwest of Gila Bend AF Aux, AZ)

A 6/23/43 aerial view looking north at “Ajo AAF Auxiliary (Luke Landing Field #2)”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



This field is one of a string of WW2 AAF training airfields along Rt.85 between Gila Bend & Ajo.

It was built during WW2 as one of a large number of satellite airfields for Ajo AAF & Gila Bend AAF.



The earliest depiction which has been located of this field

was a 6/23/43 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted “Ajo AAF Auxiliary (Luke Landing Field #2)” as having 3 paved runways with a paved ramp on the northwest side.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Ajo AAF Auxiliary (Luke Landing Field #2)”

as a 600 acre rectangular property having 3 bituminous 3,650' runways.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Army Air Forces.



This field was listed as Ajo Aux AAF #2 in a directory of AZ Airports

in the 5/47 issue of Arizona Highways (courtesy of George Miller),

which described the longest runway as 3,700', and being unattended.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of this airfield

was on the 1949 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It labeled the field as "Williams AF Aux #2".



It was still depicted as an active Air Force Field, "Williams AF #2"

on the 1956 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).

 

The 1958 USGS topo map depicted the 3 runways & ramp, labeled simply as "Airfield".



It is depicted as "Luke AF #8" on the 1969 USGS topo map.

 

This airfield apparently was closed at some point between 1956-71,

as it was labeled closed on the August 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The 1981 USGS topo map still depicted the 3 runways, but labeled them simply as “Landing Field”.



Strangely, the 1986 USGS topo map did not depict the airfield at all,

even though the 3 runways were still quite intact,

and the same topo map depicted some of the other nearby abandoned auxiliary airfields.



 

As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo, the remains of three 4,000' runways still existed.



A circa 2006 aerial view showed the field remained in the same condition.



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Ajo AAF Auxiliary #1 / Williams AF Auxiliary #1 / Luke Air Force Aux #7 SW, Gila Bend, AZ

32.52 North / 112.93 West (Southwest of Gila Bend AF Aux, AZ)

A 6/23/43 aerial view looking east at “Ajo AAF Auxiliary (Luke Landing Field #1)”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



This field is one of a string of WW2 AAF training airfields along Rt.85 between Gila Bend & Ajo.

It was built during WW2 as one of a large number of satellite airfields for Ajo AAF & Gila Bend AAF.



The earliest depiction which has been located of this field

was a 6/23/43 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted “Ajo AAF Auxiliary (Luke Landing Field #1)” as having 3 paved runways with a paved ramp on the west side.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Ajo AAF Auxiliary (Luke Landing Field #1)”

as a 600 acre triangular property having 3 bituminous 3,650' runways.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Army Air Forces.



This field was listed as Luke Aux AAF #7 in a directory of AZ Airports

in the 5/47 issue of Arizona Highways (courtesy of George Miller),

which described the field as being unattended, and the longest runway as 4,000'.

 

It was still depicted as an active Air Force Field, "Williams AF #1"

on the 1956 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).



The 1958 USGS topo map depicted the 3 runways & ramp, labeled simply as "Airfield".



“Luke AF #7”, as depicted on the 1969 USGS topo map.



This airfield apparently was closed at some point between 1956-71,

as it was labeled closed on the August 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The 1981 USGS topo map still depicted the 3 runways, but labeled them simply as “Landing Field”.



Strangely, the 1986 USGS topo map did not depict the airfield at all,

even though the 3 runways were still quite intact,

and the same topo map depicted some of the other nearby abandoned auxiliary airfields.



As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo,

the remains of three 4,000' runways still existed.



A circa 2006 aerial view showed the field remained in the same condition.



The airfield is located three miles west of Route 85,

11 miles north-northwest of Ajo, AZ.

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