Ladd Field National Historic Landmark
Designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1985 Ladd Field is one of eight World War II Landmarks in Alaska. Located on Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks It is significant for being the transfer point of U.S. Lend-Lease planes to Russia during World War II, and as a cold weather test station for U.S. military aircraft, gear, and equipment prior to, during, and after the War. Between 1942 and 1945 nearly 8,000 U.S. planes were transferred to Russia for use in the battle against Germany on their Western Front. Known as the Alaska-Siberia Route (ALSIB), Russian pilots flew from Siberia to Ladd Field, where they received training in the planes before flying them back across the Bering Sea to Russia.
World War II had a major impact on Ladd Field. The Cold Weather Test Station opened in 1940 with 214 enlisted men by the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 had expanded to 520 men. With the Japanese invasion of Attu and Kiska in June 1942 Ladd Field's mission expanded to support the war effort. In October 1943 the Air Transport Command (ATC) was established at Ladd Field to facilitate Lend-Lease activities at Ladd Field. Between 1943 and 1945 Ladd Field's small permanant garrison of 23 buildings grew to over 700 and at its height housed over 4,500 men. Follow the links below to learn more.
The Alaska National Register Team currently sees Ladd Field NHL as a threatend landmark. Since its designation in 1985 nine of its 23 contributing buildings have been lost to demolition and neglect. In October 2012 the U.S. Army announced that the two large Birchwood Hangars that are part of the Landmark will be demolished. This will bring the number of contributing building's lost since the Landmark's designation to almost 50% and could result in it's dedesignation. Questions about what remains of the World War II period will have to be explored.