Venice Army Airfield
Venice Municipal Airport
FMSF#: SO01434, SO01450, SO01553, SO01695, SO01703, SO01704, SO01774
150 East Airport Avenue
Venice, Florida 34285
This site is located in the Southwest region of the state.
Southbound I-75 traffic use Exit 35B and proceed right onto Venice Avenue to US 41 BUS (first left past the drawbridge) continue straight to remain on The Rialto. Continue to Airport Avenue and turn left to the Venice Municipal Airport administration building. Northbound I-75 traffic use Exit 35B and proceed left onto Venice Avenue to US41 BUS (first left past the drawbridge) continue straight to remain on The Rialto. Continue to Airport Avenue and turn left to the Venice Municipal Airport administration building.
Through the efforts of local businessmen, the U. S. Army opened Venice Army Airfield in December 1942. Tasked with training third echelon maintenance crews, it was used jointly by the Third Air Force and the Air Technical Services Command. This site had a complement of more than 4,000 military and civilian personnel at its peak staffing level. Factory-staffed engine schools from Rollison, Republic, Rolls-Royce and Pratt operated at the base to enhance training efficiency. Referred to as “Sail-jers,” Army personnel used speedy crash boats to rescue pilots downed in the Gulf of Mexico as well as in salvaging equipment from sunken planes and other naval-type operations. The 400 men of the 14th Chinese Service Group trained at Venice during 1944 using P-40 Warhawk pursuit aircraft. Aircraft based at this location included P-39 Airacobras, P-47 Thunderbolts, and P-51 Mustangs. Upwards of 200 German POWs were placed here from Camp Blanding with work assignments ranging from carpentry to duty in the officer’s mess.
Following the war, this facility became Venice Municipal Airport and runways are all that remain of the 1,600 acre World War II base. However, many of the base structures have been relocated to surrounding communities for commercial or residential use. In addition, the Venice Municipal Mobile Home Park has incorporated the base officer’s club as their recreational facility.
The Florida Medical Center, now the site of the Venice Post Office on Venice Avenue, was taken over by the Army as the Station Hospital to serve multi-facility personnel medical needs in southwest Florida.
Base personnel are commemorated through the one third scale recreation of the distinctive airbase entrance arch found in Heritage Park in Venice. Adjacent to this site is the Veteran’s Memorial honoring all veterans of the Venice Community.
Lt. A. C. Chiazza on a P40 wing with the fuselage removed resting on a tail support which he invented.
Source: Venice Achives and Area Historical Collection
Venice Army Airfield main gate
Source: Venice Archive and Area Historical Collection
Venice Municipal Airport