A BRIEF HISTORY
An airport, jointly owned by Arkansas City and Winfield, was under construction in April
1942 when the Army Air Force indicated a need for the airfield. The facilities were
rushed to completion with the first class of cadets scheduled to arrive for basic training in
the BT-13 on December 14, 1942.
On November 13, 1942, The field was officially named Strother Army Air Field. It was
named in honor of Captain Donald Root Strother. Strother, a Winfield native and graduate
of Winfield High School and Southwestern College, was the first Cowley County Army Air
Force pilot to lose his life in World War II action (February 13, 1942) on the
island of Java. He was the youngest of four brothers, all involved in the war effort; Dean,
eventually an Air Force general, Kenneth, an infantry captain, and Robert who served in
the Office of War Information.
The field was dedicated January of 1943 by Governor Schoppel, local officials and the
Strother Field Commander. During the ceremony which included a military and aerial
review, The Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were presented to Captain
Strotherís three year old son, Colbert.
The field was deactivated in 1945 and eventually returned to the cities.
Article by Peter Giroux.