Pixel Tracker

Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 8:32 pm | A Few Clouds 51º


Santa Barbara Airport’s WWII Memorials Open to Visitors

Wreaths will be placed at the sites over the weekend

Every Memorial Day, visitors frequent two distinctive World War II memorials at the Santa Barbara Airport: a granite obelisk memorial near the airline terminal, and a Corsair propeller memorial at the administrative offices.

Wreaths will be placed at each of these sites over the weekend in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

The granite memorial bears the names of local aviators who perished during WWII and the Marine squadrons who trained at the airport during the war. This memorial at Vista Point was dedicated in a special ceremony last May with local veteran groups and community dignitaries. It is situated in reflective setting with slate walkways, olive trees, stone benches and interpretive signage.

The Corsair memorial is an actual WWII aircraft propeller with a plaque that states, “This airport is dedicated to the memory of the pilots and air crews of the United States Marine Corps trained at this station who gave their lives to the country. Semper Fidelis. May 5, 1948.”

Visitor access to the memorials is convenient since the granite memorial is located at 500 Fowler Road, near the entrance to terminal long-term parking. The propeller memorial is located at 601 Firestone Road, directly west of the Elephant Bar Restaurant off Hollister Avenue.

Twentieth century history of the Santa Barbara Airport shows it was quickly transformed in 1942 by the U.S. government from a sleepy local airport to a Marine Corps Air Station to support national defense. The Marines constructed 103 buildings and installed about 5.5 million square feet of pavement on the site, which included the present-day airport, and much of the land that is now UCSB

Soon after development began, Marine fighter and bomber pilots started advanced training in preparation for combat in the Pacific. Pilots were assigned to squadrons where they trained primarily in Corsair fighters, or Dauntless and Avenger bombers. By 1944, more than 400 Women Reserves were assigned to the station performing administrative, communications, maintenance, vehicle driving and pilot ground training.

By 1946, the war had ended and the Marines handed the airport, additional land and the improvements back to the city of Santa Barbara for use as a municipal airport. Later, the Santa Barbara City Council honored local WWII aviators by naming airport streets after many of those who lost their lives in the service to their country.

— Terri Gibson is the marketing and communications manager for the Santa Barbara Airport.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.