Duke Field, FL Image 1
    Duke Field, FL Image 2

    Duke Field, FL History

    Duke Field is a military airport supporting Eglin Air Force Base. It is a small facility, but with an interesting history. Duke was originally constructed in World War Two to support Eglin AFB, and is mainly noted as a training field for the Doolittle Raid on Japan, the first US air raid on Japan, 1942. Duke was also one of the fields used for the 1949 film Twelve O'Clock High.

    The Cold War brought a new mission to Duke, as the home field for test drones, and later as the launch point for the Bay of Pigs operation, in which Cuban exiles attempted to overthrow the Communist revolutionaries in control of their country. Duke was also used as a training site for US Army Special Operations Forces preparing to rescue American POWs in Vietnam.

    In 1975 Duke became home for the 919th Special Operations Group (now Wing), the only Air Force Reserve special operations unit, flying or operating the close air support craft, including the MC-130E Combat Talon I, the MQ-1 Predator, and C-130 Hercules. In 2008 Duke Field hosted a reunion of six original Doolittle Raiders, complete with a re-enactment demonstration.