On February 5th, Minter Field celebrated 80 years of its dedication. In 1942, Minter Field formally got its name. The army air corp base in Lerdo was named after Lieutenant Hugh C Minter, a Bakersfield Resident who was killed in a midair plane crash.
The name was to memorialize the family that came to Kern County in 1854. It's been 80 years since the dedication, so Minter Field celebrated this milestone with an open house and recognitions.
“I have sort of a passion for the museum and minter field,” said Ronald Pierce, chairman of the board at Minter Field. A man committed to the Minter Field air museum says it’s a passion that came to him at a young age. His dad worked at the facility during World War 2, so growing up, Pierce would visit Minter Field in Shafter with him.
The open house was in the museum, which Pierce says was the old firehouse and is one of the last remaining buildings. It is filled with memorabilia, newspaper clippings, pictures and other items from the time of the war. Pierce says they have been “collecting the museum artifacts and things for probably 35 years or more and we are still collecting, and we have different items that come in all the time.”
The goal of Minter Field was to train pilots during World War 2, to be fighter pilots, flying bombers or whichever roles needed to be filled. “Did basic training for pilots during World War 2, they had 450 BT-13 airplanes that were based here and they graduated over 11,000 cadets to go fly during World War 2,” said Pierce.
“It’s really exciting to be able to participate in any history events for Shafter,” said Cathy Prout, the Mayor of Shafter, who was also at the event says celebrating this 80-year milestone was a proud moment city.
Prout adds the history of Shafter has meant a lot to her, and that Minter Field was one of the first parts of Shafter that brought in a lot of activity during World War 2.
Prout also presented a resolution of commendation to Pierce and the Air Museum. “It’s a pleasure to present this to Ron and congratulations,” she said.
And if you want to be part of minter field, Pierce says there’s a place for you here.
“I want to invite anybody that has some spare time to come out here and volunteer for the museum, we need volunteers and anything that you can do, we need you,” said Pierce.
You could even donate or just visit the museum to see what they have in store. For more details on all that you can visit the website.