About the Freeman Field Municipal Airport
by Larry Bothe, July 2003

Freeman Army Airfield has a rich history; both as a WW-II multi-engine training base and after the war as Freeman Municipal Airport, aka Freeman Field. For a quick, bullet-point wartime chronology of Freeman Field history please refer to the Freeman Fact Sheet page.

Lifetime local resident, pilot and historian Al Seibert has contributed three articles for use on this website. The first is an historical overview of Freeman Field from its inception in 1942 up through 1958. The other two articles are more focused on a specific activity. One is a recap of the GI Bill pilot training program at Freeman from 1947 to 1950. This is the period during which Al learned to fly. The other is an interesting story about the Bunker Hill School of Aeronautics that was located at Freeman Field in 1949. We are indebted to Al for providing these first-hand accounts of how things were at our airport in the early years.

In addition to the books that Al references in his overview, there are a wealth of articles and hundreds of photos on Jim West?s wonderful website www.indianamilitary.org. If you want more information on Freeman Army Airfield during the war years Jim?s site is the place to go.

Buried Treasure

No discussion of the history of Freeman Field is complete without touching on the oft-told tale of all these WW-II aircraft that were buried here after the war. The implication is that there is a lot of them buried all over the place and are just waiting to be dug up and placed on display. As usual, the truth is not nearly so glamorous as the fiction, but nevertheless there is some basis in fact. 

There were some aircraft, or at least aircraft parts, buried at Freeman. And they included both US aircraft and (parts of) captured enemy aircraft that were here for evaluation right after the war ended. But they weren't buried all over the place, and there aren't a whole lot of them out there just waiting to be found and dug up. In 1995 an agreement was reached with a company called Salvage One to use ground radar (looks down maybe 30 feet) to look for buried aircraft. After meeting with local "old-timers" to determine where to look the hunt was on. There were some artifacts located, some of which are now on display in the museum and others (in pretty bad shape) are in storage. No entire aircraft were found. All reasonable sites were searched. 

The one place where there is any likelihood of remaining buried aircraft or parts is under some of the buildings on the northwest side of "A" Ave. on the northeast side of the field. A long-time resident told Ted Jordan that he remember seeing a pit large enough that trucks could back down into it and dump old aircraft parts. The problem is that there is no good way to search there, and even if such buried "treasure" exists it could not be retrieved without damaging the foundations of the buildings on top of it.

Click to read recollections of the Bunker Hill School of Aeronautics
(PDF file) 

Click to enlarge Front Cover of Indianapolis Star

Copyright © PMG


Freeman Field History
Bunker Hill
Freeman Field in 1947
Freeman Field Fact Sheet
Businesses Located at Freeman Field as of Summer, 2005
Freeman Field Events (Newspaper photos)