The members of the B-29 Bombers of the Prairie Museum and Memorial want to restore as much of the World War II Pratt Army Air Field as possible.


The members of the B-29 Bombers of the Prairie Museum and Memorial want to restore as much of the World War II Pratt Army Air Field as possible.

Efforts are underway to get the airport declared an historical site.

“We want to get some federal funding and turn it into a national park,” said David Stitt, vice president of the B-29 BPMM.

Plans are being considered and more help is needed if the remaining pieces of the airfield can be incorporated into the memorial.

“We’re trying to get the community of Pratt involved in the Army airfield and museum,” Stitt said. “We want to restore the airfield.”

The group has also started a monthly newsletter called “Tailwind” after the original World War II paper at the airfield. 

Opened in 1943, the Pratt Army Air Field, now the Pratt Regional Airport, was the first training facility in the world for B-29 pilots, crews and ground crews.

The airfield includes 18 historical sites, mostly foundations that still exist.

Efforts to restore the parachute building have slowed and more funds are needed. The group intends to go outside the Pratt area to seek the $50,000 funding necessary to restore the parachute building.

Besides restoring the parachute building, plans are also under consideration for a Rosie The Riveter memorial.

The museum is seeking more items for display and encourages donations of historical items from the base.

Most of the original buildings on the site are gone but a few like the B-29 double hangar that could hold two B-29s (now home to R&R Industries), the parachute building (future B-29 museum), the Norden Bombsight holding buildings and a couple of other structures still sit as reminders of the contribution Pratt made to help win WWII, Stitt said.

“The B-29 helped stop World War II and saved millions of lives,” Stitt said.

Another part of the plan calls for a driving tour of the base and some of the housing that still exists in Victory Heights and, if possible, restore a couple of apartments to the way they looked during the war.

In order for this project to succeed, more members are needed to fulfill the many tasks necessary to get all the work completed.

The group will do some promotional work in the fall to help raise interest. All interested parties are invited to attend group meetings at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the meeting room at the Pratt Fire Station, said Trevlyn Detmer, Tailwind Board Member at large.

“We want people to get to know what we’re about and help us keep the B-29 tradition,” Detmer said.

Among the planned elements is a multimedia presentation about the airfield. They also want to expand their collection of bomb group historical documents.

“We want to be a depository for the history of all the bomb groups that were stationed here,” Stitt said. “We already have the records of the 29th Bomb Wing and are working with the 73rd Bomb Wing. That’s one of our important projects.”

This is history that needs to be preserved and it needs to be done now. To volunteer or receive Tailwind contact George Stevens at 620-672-2041.