Langley Air Force Base turns 100 Years Old:

Langley Air Force Base turns 100 Years Old:

Shown here is a photograph of Langley Field in 1920. On December 30, 1916 the U.S. Government bought 1,650 acres of land on the peninsula between the North and South branches of the Back River, near Hampton Roads, VA for a total of $290,000. Construction of the field began in early 1917. The 5th Aviation School of the United States Signal Corps, later re-designated the 119th Aero Squadron, took command of the new installation in mid-June, 1917. The garrison at the end of 1917 was 38 officers and 409 enlisted men. Although officially named after flight pioneer Samuel P. Langley, Langley Field was re-designated as the “Aviation Experimental Station and Proving Ground.”

Want to learn more about the development of early American air power in the holdings of the National Archives at Philadelphia? Our holdings contain numerous records from U.S. Military aviation, radio and mechanic schools during World War I and the inter-war period. Check out our Guide to World War One holdings; our online catalog and make an appointment to view our holdings at the National Archives at Philadelphia by calling (215) 305-2044 or emailing us at

Today’s post was written by Samuel Limneos, Archives Technician at the National Archives at Philadelphia.

Citation: Photograph (NACA) of Langley Field, VA., 1920, Box 1, History of Langley Air Field Inception to March 1, 1935, Langley Field, Record Group 18: Records of the Army Air Forces, National Archives at Philadelphia. (NAID: 563329) (Record Entry ID: PH-84).

Uncover more World War I Centennial Resources at the National Archives


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