Clark Gable trained at PAAB on a heavy bomber crew


Bomber crew posting with a trainer B-24 at PAAB

During World War II, Pueblo Army Air Base (PAAB) was one of the major bomber training fields for pilots and crews.  The Museum pays tribute to those who served on the base during that time and the Pueblo community that supported it. Our collection contains many records from PAAB.

Construction on PAAB began in March 1942 on 3700 acres of land obtained by the War Department by purchase or condemnation from private owners. Nearly 79% of the work was complete by the end of August 1942.

Six major bomb groups trained at PAAB would ultimately be assigned to the "Mighty 8th" Air Force, flying wartime missions from English bases. These included the 44th which was part of the infamous low-level raid on the oil fields in Ploesti, Romania on August 1, 1943.

Major Clark Gable also trained at PAAB with the 351st Bomber Group.

Thousands of men and women worked and trained here. And while many died here in training accidents,  the airmen that left PAAB had gone on to face combat in every theater of war. On June 20, 1947, PAAB was officially closed, and the land returned to the City in 1948.

The Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum (PWAM) is a non-profit museum owned by the City of Pueblo and managed by the Pueblo Historical Aircraft Society with a dedicated all-volunteer staff. The museum was started in the mid-1970s by the then Pueblo City Manager Fred Weisbrod. The aircraft were initially stored outside and were subjected to the ravages of vandals, thieves, and the environment. In response to this, a group of interested parties approached the Pueblo City government with an offer to care for and restore the aircraft. This group later became the Pueblo Historical Aircraft Society (PHAS) and is charged with managing the museum. In 2001, the first 30,000 square foot hangar was erected and in 2010 a second hangar was completed.

This construction has allowed most of the museum’s aircraft to be housed inside, preventing further damage to the bulk of the museum inventory and allowing for more sophisticated presentation and display.


While we possess a lot of archives from PAAB, the Museum does not store military records for individuals and our records from PAAB (Pueblo Army Air Base) do not include personnel records for base employees or trainees.

If you are unable to find military records online or digitized, it is possible to request a copy of your family member’s military records- here’s a link here to help you get started.

Just be careful to use archives with a .gov website, as archives.COM is a paid website that accesses the same information you can get for free from National Archives.



Early view of Pueblo Field

The current site of the airport and museum in Pueblo, situated on the grounds of the former WWII-era heavy bomber training base Pueblo Army Air Base, is actually an entirely different location from the original Pueblo Field, which first opened in 1920.

Long before a formal landing field was established on the South Side, early aviators were drawn to the open grounds of Uplands Park. The State Fairgrounds were a popular destination for aviation enthusiasts, where in December 1910, crowds paid 50 cents each to witness a Farman biplane and a Bleriot monoplane. Puebloans queued in April 1911 to marvel at 12 visiting planes during a three-day show at the Fairgrounds.

By 1920, six 150-foot-wide runways had been graded. In 1923, the Colorado National Guard had organized Flight B of the 120th Observation Squadron in Pueblo, outfitting it with six planes. The squadron earned the moniker "eyes of the Army."

In 1925, Pueblo's population surpassed 60,000, prompting the establishment of its first municipal airport on the South Side, now Prairie Avenue. The airport's hangar, constructed in 1925 using steel girders and corrugated sheet metal repurposed from World War I, cost $50,000 and was largely built by penitentiary inmates from Canon City.

Four World War I-surplus Curtis JN4 Jennies were among the first planes housed in the hangar, utilized for training during the war and as show planes thereafter. On May 31, 1926, Puebloans gathered at the airport to witness the inaugural airmail flight to Cheyenne, Wyo., marking the city's foray into aviation.

The advent of airmail service brought excitement and economic promise to Pueblo. In August 1926, a Denver-to-Pueblo air race, with a silver loving cup prize donated by Spencer Penrose, showcased the city's growing aviation scene. The 1929 Pueblo City Directory listed the Pueblo Airport in the 900 block of Prairie Avenue.

During the 1930s, federal work-relief programs enhanced the airport's infrastructure, adding paved runways, a control tower, and offices. By 1944, Pueblo Airport received the National Security Award for its cooperation with the Civil Aeronautics Authority during World War II.

After the war, Pueblo Airport thrived, serving as a hub for flying schools, clubs, and commercial airlines like Braniff and Continental. Local historian George R. Williams Jr. recalled the airport's bustling atmosphere, which included flying schools for veterans, flying clubs, and regular commercial flights to destinations like Lamar.

In 1949, one year following the city's acquisition of the former Pueblo Army Air Base located east of town, plans were set in motion to relocate the airport.

An article published in the 1949 edition of the Pueblo Chieftain provided insightful statistics regarding the airport's operations at the time. The report indicated the employment of 10 city workers and 63 other staff members, serving between 1,300 to 2,000 passengers monthly via commercial airlines. Additionally, the airport handled an average of 16,000 pounds of air freight monthly and sold nearly 11,000 gallons of gasoline per month. With 16 daily commercial flights operated by Continental, Braniff, and Monarch airlines, and boasting a fleet of over 100 privately owned aircraft, the airport played a significant role in Pueblo's transportation network.

By 1954, the airport had been relocated to its present location on the old PAAB site, and the former airport land on the South Side was subdivided and sold to developers, with only a small parcel around the hangar retained.