Historic Brookley Field

From Private Field to Industrial Center

Early Cold War Service

The end of the Second World War led to a large layoff of workers and closure of bases across the nation as there was ab attempt to return to a peacetime footing. However, Brookley managed to avoid this downturn and even expanded.[1] Signs even began to appear in early 1950 that were going to stay quite well for employees on the installation, first with the announcement that Brookley Field would be the chosen base for a B-25 bomber overhaul.[2] Soon after, another sign appeared showing that there may still be some opportunities at the base with the type of event that led to its initial growth, another war began, this time in Korea. Immediately, Brookley Field began to hum as it did a few years earlier during the Second World War.[3] The status of the base as a logistics hub became evident as the new large transport aircraft stationed at Brookley began to make regular flights carrying men and equipment to the Pacific for the war in Korea.  With the Korean War simply being the first hot conflict of the Cold War, and the earlier Berlin Airlift also utilizing Brookley aircraft, it became clear that the base could still provide opportunity to the local area, as long as it continued to be useful.[4]

The ongoing Cold War ensured that there was still, at least for now, a need for a large maintenance and logistics hub for the newly formed United States Air Force. Unlike other industry in Mobile, Brookley Field managed to fair much better in the post-war layoffs and eventual return of labor. An area audit in 1960 showed that Brookley Field employed more civilians than the rest of the combined manufacturing industry of Mobile. Naturally, with these civilians and the military personnel on the base, Brookley Field brought in millions for the local economy, making the base an indispensable asset for the community.[5]

[1] Harvey H. Jackson III, “Mobile since 1945,” in Mobile: The New History of Alabama’s First City, ed. Michael V. R. Thomason, (Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2001) P.278

[2] “Brookley To Overhaul 64 B-25 Bombers,” Alabama Journal, January 04, 1950, Page 12

[3] “Mobile Hums As Supply Base For Fighting In Korea,” Talladega Daily Home And Our Mountain Home, July 11, 1950, Page1

[4] “Brookley Aircraft Start Supply Runs To Korean Forces,” The Anniston Star, July 11, 1950, Page 3

[5] Harvey H. Jackson III, “Mobile since 1945,” in Mobile: The New History of Alabama’s First City, ed. Michael V. R. Thomason, (Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2001) P.286-287