Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Alaska-Siberia Lend-Lease Memorial and Ladd Field, Fairbanks

When I wrote my post about construction of the Alaska Highway I mentioned the “Northern Staging Route,” the series of airfields through which military aircraft were ferried from the U.S. to the Soviet Union during World War II.

Since I broached the subject I thought I would share a photograph of the Alaska-Siberia Lend-Lease Monumenthere in Fairbanks, and some photos I took years ago of the historic area at Ladd Field (now Fort Wainwright).

The bronze sculpture of two WW II pilots was produced by Juneau artist, Richard T. Wallen. The project was spearheaded by the Alaska-Siberia Research Center, a non-profit organization based in Juneau, and the sculpture was dedicated in 2006. It commemorates the Lend-Lease program during World War II through which almost 8,000 military aircraft were ferried for the United States, via Canada and Alaska, to Siberia and the war fronts in the western Soviet Union.

Hanger No. 1
Ladd Field was the transfer site for the aircraft.  U.S. pilots ferried the planes from Great Falls, Montana to Fairbanks, and Soviet pilots flew the planes from there to Siberia.  Hanger No. 1 on Fort Wainwright was built in 1941 and was the only hanger at the field for two years.  The field is a National Historic Landmark.

Administrative Center
 Other buildings around the “Quadrangle” were also built in 1941, and additional facilities were added between 1942-1945. The buildings around the Quadangle included Officers Quarters, Commanding Officer’s Quarters, and an Administrative Center (now Murphy Hall).

Quadrangle looking north from Hanger No. 1
 I'm working on a drawing of Hanger No. 1 and when that is finished I'll write in more detail about Ladd Field and the Northern Staging Route.

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