Ladd Field broke ground in 1939, just a few days before World War II began in Europe. Once the United States entered the war, the facility became a transfer point for American aircraft bound for the Soviet Union. The airfield's evolving mission from a Cold Weather Test Station to a key player in the Lend-Lease program reflects the significant role the most remote part of our country played in the war. Ladd Field served as the meeting point for the Soviets and the Americans to exchange planes manufactured under the Lend-Lease Act. The Lend-Lease Act was designed to provide allies with aircraft and supplies for the war in Europe. As such, Ladd Field came to represent not only a political and economic exchange, but a cultural one as well.
Despite the economic and human resource issues Ladd Field faced, its "raw wind and incredible temperatures" could not stop the soldiers or the people who lived and worked there from protecting Alaska, the United States, and the world.
1 Price, Kathy. The World War II Heritage of Ladd Field, Fairbanks, Alaska. Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands, 2004.
About This Lesson
Determining the Facts: Readings
Visual Evidence: Images
Putting It All Together: Activities
This lesson is based on the historic Ladd Field/Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks, Alaska. It is among the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.