Celebrating Fort Worth’s Military History
Fort Worth is a town rich in history and full of patriotism for our country. Veterans who have served our great nation are scattered throughout the community. You never know if you are living next door to an Army medic who sacrificed to save his comrades or standing in line at the grocery store with a United States Marine who served multiple deployments in Iraq.
People are usually surprised to find out I am a veteran. As a veteran, I am so grateful for the community in Fort Worth who stands with us and celebrates the sacrifices that have been made to keep America the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
Fort Worth’s military ties run deep. Most of us are familiar with Camp Bowie and know that it was a former military training camp in World War I named after the famed hero of the Alamo, James Bowie. Fort Worth also contributed significantly to the war effort in World War II.
Prior to World War II, Fort Worth’s economy revolved around the cattle and oil industries. The Stockyards held the largest workforce in the city. However, the Great Depression affected both cattle and oil, and Fort Worth’s economy took a nosedive. An aggressive campaign led by Amon Carter and other local business leaders in 1941 brought the city a contract with the US Army to build the B-24 Liberator bombers at a plant along the shore of Lake Worth. Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation’s Plant No. 4 was built and produced more than 3,000 bombers during the war and employed 32,000 workers. The mile–long plant was in operation three months after the U.S. joined the war. This created a shift in the local economy from agriculture to manufacturing and brought in a skilled workforce along with economic recovery to the city.
Many of the skilled laborers building the Liberators were women, who were brought on as riveters. Shortly after the plant was built, the Army opened an airbase in Fort Worth in August 1942, originally known as the Fort Worth Army Air Field. This air base trained more than 4,000 pilots between 1942 and 1944. The pilots trained at the air field substantially contributed to the U.S. and Allied Forces victory in the war.
Plant No. 4 is still in operation today; owned by the US Air Force and operated by Lockheed Martin to produce the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Fort Worth Army Airfield was renamed Carswell Air Force Base in 1948 and closed in 1993 after the end of the Cold War. The site reopened as Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in 1994 and currently supports active duty and reserve units in the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and the Texas Air National Guard.
The ties with the military built in Fort Worth during the war have become a crucial part of not only the city’s economy but a part of the fabric of the lives of the people who call this city home. On November 11, the Tarrant County Veterans Council is hosting the annual Tarrant County Veteran’s Day Parade in downtown Fort Worth beginning at 11:00 am. The theme for 2020 is Vision: Veterans in Focus. The parade will salute the Disabled Veterans of America, honoring their 100 years of service and support. The parade will head through Sundance Square, moving south down Main Street before coming back north on Houston and ending moving west down Belknap Street.
Another excellent way to celebrate veterans and share with your children would be to check out the grand re-opening of the Military Museum of Fort Worth. On Veteran’s Day, November 11th, they are opening the doors to their new location at Ridgmar Mall. Their mission is to honor, preserve, and educate. The museum uses military artifacts to tell each soldier’s unique story. This experience will create a lasting impression of the sacrifices veterans have made for their country.
On Veteran’s Day, I truly hope you will take the time to honor the veterans in your life and in your community. I also would like to encourage you to reach out to your schools to find out what they are doing to celebrate Veteran’s Day with their students and families.
God Bless America and all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy today and every day.
Angela Weaver is a native Texan, raised in Keller, but she got to Fort Worth as soon as she could. At 17, she joined the Marine Corps and served four years active duty. After her military service ended, she went to work for a hedge fund and then a whiskey distillery, both in Fort Worth. Her most important role started in 2009 when she became a mom. She lives with two boys in Fort Worth and spends as much time as possible on fun adventures with her kids. She loves to spend her time getting the full Boy Mom experience, even if that means being covered in dirt, catching fish, or shooting BB guns. She loves the sense of community she has found in Fort Worth and can’t wait share that with our readers.