Born from America’s need to train aviators for the Great War, Mather Field has sat sentinel to the east of Sacramento for nearly a century. Overnight, the base transformed a lonely domain of cattle and vineyards into an aerie where fledgling “man-birds” were taught to fly and kill. Although readapted during the interwar period to concerns of fire control and mail delivery, Mather still inspired, as evidenced by the 1930 Air Corps maneuvers. World War II renewed Mather, as training bomber crews and repatriating veterans of the Pacific war were primary responsibilities for what was becoming a self-sustaining city of churches, schools, and burgeoning neighborhoods.
Author Bio: Librarian James Scott and library technician Tom Tolley of the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library have tapped state and city library and archival resources to provide this far-ranging array of base imagery and lore. Through two world wars and the tense years of the Cold War, this base has changed along with the times to today’s mixed-use suburban mélange of aviation, business, and housing in the shadow of California’s capital.
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