We talked to a historian about how the Air Force base helped turn the tide of World War II
Author: Taylor Drake, 13WMAZ, Updated: 7:29 PM EDT June 6, 2019
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — While the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy, thousands of people at the Robins Air Force Base were also fighting the war in a different way.
The base is Georgia’s largest industrial complex, but back then, it was called the Warner Robins Air Service Command. Construction for the base began on September 1, 1941.
“When the attacks came on Pearl Harbor and we got into the war, it created a sense of urgency,” says Bill Head, chief historian at the 78th Air Base Wing. “Four months and they were open.”
The base was responsible for producing, maintaining and repairing weapons and aircraft for the armed air forces.
“D-Day was such a gathering. It’s still one of the most incredible organizational efforts,” says Head. “So it meant coming to a place like this, making sure aircrafts were ready to fly.”
Workers produced everything from spark plugs and parachutes to small firearms for the war effort.
“By the time D-Day got around, we had almost 25,000 people working out here and they worked around the clock,” says Head. “The place never shut down. It was always working.”
In addition to production, the base also provided a school where Central Georgians could be trained on performing logistic and maintenance work on the battlefield.
“People sometimes in their daily lives forget how important this end is,” says Head. “If we don’t do our job here, the guys over there are left with nothing.”
Head says bases like Robins were crucial in winning D-Day and eventually ending World War II the following year.
“One of our slogans now is, ‘What happens here affects what’s going on overseas,” says Head. “Without Robins Air Force Base and all the other Air Force bases, centers, repair, maintenance, and depots, we could not have fought and won the D-Day invasion.”
Robins Air Force Base went on to strengthen America’s Air Force through the Cold War and Desert Storm.