GAAB gradually transformed into a civilian industrial center. From late 1942 through 1943, GAAB sent a steady supply of personnel to fight in the European theatre, including pilots, flight crews, ground crews, administrators, engineers, quartermasters, ordinance outfits and service units.[1] But by July 1944, the Army cancelled seven billion dollars in war contracts in preparation for the end of the war.[2]  

After V-E Day, efforts shifted towards the Pacific. The only celebration for the end of the war in Europe was an honorary banquet 4 June 1945 at the Poinsett Hotel in Greenville.[3] Following the conclusion of the war in Asia, planes flew relief missions during the Berlin Airlift and missions were conducted at the North and South Poles, where newer Douglas C-74 Globemasters supplied scientific expeditions and supported Artic defense projects.[4] Because the Army Air Corps was renamed the Air Force in 1947, GAAB was renamed Greenville Air Force Base (GAFB.)[5]

In 1950, GAFB was renamed “Donaldson Air Force Base” in honor of Greenville resident Major John O. W. Donaldson, an ace from World War I who had served as a squadron commander in the British Royal Flying Corps and was killed in 1930 plane crash.[6] The base was officially closed on 1 July 1963 and the property was sold to Greenville on 29 October 1963.  A special dinner was held at the Poinsett Hotel and the property became Donaldson Center, an industrial park.[7] In 2008, it was renamed South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center (SCTAC) although the airfield itself remains “Donaldson Field.”[8] Though often unused, many original buildings remain, including hangars, the PX, barracks, and a water treatment facility. Two of the three runways are still in use.[9] The only official monuments for the base are two South Carolina historical markers.[10]

[1] Ibid., 3, 1.

[2]  Officers chosen for the contract program were those least valuable to the base; most were men who had not advanced themselves in rank after years of Air Force service. Ibid., 3, 2. Air Force officials favored the project because it would prevent post war problems in the states. Victory meant a halt in the home front war effort, and such a drastic halt could devastate the U.S. economy. Introductory Remarks made by Maj. Gen. James M. Bevans, 26 May 1944, Pentagon Building Conference, Washington D. C.

[3] The meal was hosted by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and over 250 prominent Greenvillians attended. The base officers were each introduced and honored for their service. Commander Stout and his wife received the title “guests of honor” and were given a silver service medal by McCullough.  HGAAB 4, 39, 36.

[4]The Greenville Piedmont, 31 October 1955, p 6.  

[5] Greenville Magazine, May/June 2008, 67.

[6] Air Force officials thought it fitting to name the base after a local Air Force hero.  The Greenville News, unknown publication date.

[7] The base sold for $421.650. Greenville got the property plus $30 million dollars’ worth of improvements.  Chamber of Commerce, Greenville, S.C., Base anniversary program, 25 January 1968.

[8] South Carolina Aviation & Technology Center, “History,” SCVATC, (accessed 21 March 2011.)

[9]  G. Ken and Sara E. Dover, interview by author, Greenville, SC, 12 April 2011.

[10] One in front of the SCTAC building (the old Head Quarters) and the other in between the Army Reserve compound and Bonnie Brae Golf Course. 


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