Historic Markers Across Florida

History in the Air

Marker ID:  
Location: MacDill Park, 100 N Ashley Dr, Tampa, FL
County: Hillsborough
Coordinates: N 27° 56.714    W 082° 27.523
  27.94523333    -82.45871666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMM3XD


A Look at the Military Aircraft of MacDill

Since the first wave of B-18 Super Heavy Bombers arrived at MacDill in 1940, the base has seen a remarkable variety of America's finest military aircraft. MacDill's first mission included transitional training on the B-17 Flying Fortress. After World War II started, the base became a major Army Air Forces staging platform.

LB-30s and B-17s would take-off from MacDill and head for combat via the Atlantic Ocean. As the war progressed, the base's mission changed from pilot and crew training on the B-17, to training on the new Martin B-26. The first B-26 to arrive at MacDill was piloted by the celebrated combat pilot, Major Jimmy Doolittle. In 1945, MacDill became the primary training facility for the B-29. Later, during the 1950s, MacDill added the P-51, B-50, B-47, and KC-97 to its training missions. The 1960s and the Vietnam conflict brought F-84 training and F-4 combat-ready wings to MacDill. By 1970, replacement crews were being trained here for B-57 bomber missions.
F-4 Phantom.

The Phantom was the first multi-service aircraft, flying concurrently with the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The F-4 was in active duty from 1958-1996.

P-51 Mustang
Providing high-altitude escort to B-17s and B-24s, the P-51 destroyed 950 enemy craft in the air, more than any other fighter in Europe.

KC-97 Tanker
Introduced in 1950, the KC-97 provided Strategic Air Command with genuine intercontinental capability. After military service, some KC-97s were converted for transporting large, bulky items, and some KC-97s were even used in the Apollo space program.

B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 was one of the largest and most sophisticated aircraft used in WWII. The most famous B-29, the "Enola Gay," was used for the atomic mission over Hiroshima.

B-50 Superfortress
The B-50, the last propeller driven bomber, served with the Strategic Air Command between 1948 and 1954. The most famous B-50 was the "Lucky Lady II," which became the first aircraft to fly nonstop around the world.

B-26 Marauder
The B-26 was known as "the chief bombardment weapon on the Western Front." The B-26 maintained the lowest loss record of any combat aircraft during World War II.

LB was short for Liberator British. The U.S. Army adopted the Liberator nickname for its B-24s. The British received more than 500 Liberators by the end of the war.

The Flying Fortress is one of the most famous airplanes ever built. The aircraft served in every WWII combat zone, but is best known for its daylight strategic bombing of German industrial targets.

City of Tampa


There are six markers in MacDill Park on the Riverwalk honoring MacDill Air Force Base and the military in Tampa.