Freeman Army Airfield

I fly gliders with the Louisville Soaring Club out of the Seymour Freeman Muni Airport, Seymour, Indiana. Formerly known as Freeman Army Airfield, the air facility was established in 1941 to train some 4,000 Army bomber pilots during the war.


The training in Beech twin-engine A-10 trainers, included not only male Army cadets but also members of the WASPs (Women’s Air Service Pilots) who were used to ferry aircraft to airbases around the world. WACs (Women’s Air Core) were also used in the control tower.

WACs in Training

Future astronaut Gus Grissom enlisted in the cadet program at Freeman Field.

Another notable group of pilots to train at Freeman Field was the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black corps of officer pilots. They were notable for one other matter, not related to flying. Early in the war African Americans were segregated from their White comrades. At Freeman Field the Tuskegee Airman were not allowed to use the Officer’s Club. Protesting the discrimination, the Airmen refused to continue flight training. The issue in Seymour received national attention and resulted in the end of segregation in the military.

Toward the end of WW II, the military began sending captured German, Japanese, and Italian aircraft to Freeman Field for testing and evaluation. Jap Zeros and German Focke-Wulf Fw-190s were a frequent sight in the skies over the town of Seymour.

When the war ended and the base was facing closure, the enemy aircraft were donated to various museums around the U.S., but left behind was a huge assortment of foreign aircraft repair parts, cylinder heads, landing gear, wings, and weapons. What to do with all that hardware. The retiring base commander said, “bury it.” And bury it they did in several large pits scattered about the Freeman grounds.

In the 1990s there was a lot of interest by groups about the items buried at Freeman field. In 1997 a company by the name of Salvage One received permission to search and it discovered a treasure trove of aircraft parts. That collection of components and equipment is now on display in the Freeman Field Museum.

German Stuff

In 2009 a local group calling itself Freeman Field Recovery Team continued to dig and recover additional parts and materials.

The history of this wartime air base is fascinating and wonderfully revealed in the Freeman Field Museum.

The museum has a Link Trainer, hundreds of photographs, enemy flags, weapons, a 1942 Ford/American LaFrance fire truck that was used on the base, and tons of aircraft parts recovered from the digs. The museum is open on Saturday from 10:00 to 1:00 or at other times by request by calling 812-271-8221.

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