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Air Station Biloxi, Mississippi

Air Station Biloxi, 1941


Original Location: 
Biloxi Municipal Airport 

Current Location:
N/A 

Date of Commission:
5 December 1935

Fate:
Reduced in March, 1947 to a detachment of 1 aircraft; decommissioned in 1966.


Historical Remarks:

Coast Guard Air Station Biloxi and the attached Radio Station were commissioned on December 5, 1934 with LT W. S. Anderson as the first commanding officer. The station’s responsibilities included aerial surveillance, emergency medical evaluation missions, and law enforcement missions among other things.  At the time there was a large shrimp boat fleet located in Biloxi and the Air Station provided important safety notification and assistance to the shrimpers.

Planes from Air Station Biloxi participated in the search for German submarines in the Gulf of Mexico during the Second World War. On May 14, 1942, six crewmen of the Hall flying boat V-170 found 25 survivors from the torpedoed tanker SS David McKelvey and directed another tanker to the scene.  On May 16, 1942, the same Hallboat participated in the rescue of 28 survivors from the tanker SS William C. McTarnahan that had also been torpedoed by a submarine but did not sink. Other rescues in the same general area were to follow into the summer of 1942. The last major incident of this episode occurred when the SS Robert E. Lee was torpedoed on July 30, 1942.  More than 300 crewmen could be rescued.

On August 1, 1942, Chief Aviation Pilot White and Radioman Boggs, who were on a patrol flight in J4F-1 V-212, attacked a surfaced U-boat.  After the war the Navy gave White and Boggs credit for the sinking of the U-166 which had operated in the area.  Later evidence would prove that a Navy warship sank the U-166 while the U-boat that White and Boggs attacked actually escaped with little damage.

Air-Sea rescue became the primary mission of Air Station Biloxi in November 1944 when a national Air Sea Rescue organization was formed.  After the Hurricane of 1947 damaged some of the station's facilities and the changing nature of Coast Guard aviation, the station was reduced to a single aircraft, a PBY-5A, in March, 1947.  The operated as a detachment out of Keesler AFB.  The aircraft increased by two and in the early 1950s the PBYs were replaced by two UF-1G Grumman Albatrosses.

The station was closed in 1966, and the Coast Guard departed Biloxi and the assets were transferred to the new Air Station-Training Center at Mobile.

For more information see Colonel Ted Morris' history

of Air Station Biloxi:

www.zianet.com/tmorris/biloxi.html


Historic Photo Gallery

Unless otherwise indicated all photos are official U.S. Coast Guard photographs.  Any original caption information is included in the text beneath each photo, along with a date, if known.  Click on the thumbnail to access a 300 dpi image.


Air Station Biloxi photograph

Image scanned from page 56 of the June, 1941 issue of the Coast Guard Magazine.  The caption reads: "Lieutenant Commander S. C. Linholm commands this cloud-festooned station which has come to be one of the scenic spots in the State of Mississippi."  It was an illustration for an article entitled "Biloxi Air Station: On the Shores of the Gulf of Mexico Basks One of the Coast Guard's Ten Air Stations, Close to the Heart of the Deep South" written by CBM Walter F. Roque.


Air Station Biloxi photograph

An official Coast Guard photo scanned from an article written by Colonel Ted Morris entitled "A Short History of Operations at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Biloxi, Mississippi; December 1934-March 1947".  The photo's caption reads: "Biloxi Air Station, 1946: General muster of all hands.  At this time, personnel manning was less than 50 enlisted and twelve officers.  Two J4F-1 and two JRF-5 are seen in the hangar.  One additional J4F-1 and three PBY-5A aircraft were the station complement."

Colonel Morris' article was published at: www.zianet.com/tmorris/biloxi.html


Historical Sources:

Air Station Files, U. S. Coast Guard Historian's Office

Arthur Pearcy.  A History of U. S. Coast Guard Aviation.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989.

www.zianet.com/tmorris/biloxi.html


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Last Modified 11/17/2014