History of




Parade Grounds





Heat Stress



*Stan Team





1950 to 1956
BMT in Europe

Story of the Ghosts of Sampson
Page: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

Flight Photos from:
| 1953 | 1954 | 1955 |

With the outbreak of the Korean War, the Navy suspended yearlong negotiations on October 13, 1950 in anticipation of reactivating it as their training facility. However, the Navy transferred the property to the Air Force on November 14, 1950 and a cadre of 268 officers and airmen opened Sampson Air Force Base on December 10th.

Two Instructors give their trainees a lesson in proper bunk preparation

MTI SSgt Frederic E. Arnold 1953 - 1955
A $2,677,000 whirlwind refurbishing effort began on January 7, 1951 and the first enlistees arrived on February 1,1951 for an eight-week basic training program. Sampson Air Force Base, valued at $112,000,000 in 1954, covered 2,961 acres of land, had 606 buildings encompassing 6,550,063 square feet of space and 33 miles of pavement which included the airstrip. The airstrip, at 567 feet above sea level, logged in its first flight on September 22, 1953 and subsequently handled commercial traffic in addition to military flights.
Expansive grassed areas devoted to drill fields were used during warm weather for precision marching and for calisthenics to harden the bodies of the trainees. During inclement weather such training was conducted in the huge drill halls located in close proximity to the barracks. Additionally, a large section of the base was devoted to field training where airmen lived under simulated war zone conditions. Between 1951-1956 the Sampson AFB hospital was the largest operated by the Air Force. More than 2,500 patients were accommodated and a host of specialized clinical services were available to Air Force personnel and their dependents. With the end of the Korean war sharply reducing the need for trainees and the high rate of re-enlistment by active airmen, on April 12,1956 the Secretary of the Air Force announced that the base would close.

F84 Thunder Jet stationed at Sampson AFB in the 50's

At its peak the base accommodated approximately 21,000 people including 4400 military staff, 1200 civilians and over 15,000 trainees. In 1960 the hospital was transferred to the New York State Department of Mental Health and was operated for 20 years as Sampson State Hospital. The balance of the property was deeded to New York State to become Sampson State Park and the hundreds of frame buildings were sold or demolished. The few buildings remaining, all masonry, have been adapted to park use except for the stockade which now houses the Navy and Air Force museums.
Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Picture | 1 | 2 |

Here's what appeared in the Finger Lakes Times (Geneva, NY) on 1 May 09, from the
Seneca County Board of Supervisors (covers Romulus, NY near Sampson Base):

"Memorial: (as quoted from the Boards Meeting) Voted to support the designation of state Route 96A as the Sampson Veterans Memorial Highway. The road runs past Sampson State Park, which served as Sampson Naval Training Station and Sampson Air Force Base".

All you vets...you are finally getting recognized and rightly so!!

[Thanks to Tony Vining for the pictures and information!]

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