In the early 1940s Pampa Mayor Fred Thompson and a delegation from the city's Chamber of Commerce traveled to Washington, D.C. to promote this area as a possible site for a military base. Attracted by the terrain, climactic history, available land and community response, Army officials chose this site for the establishment of an installation to train pilots and support personnel for World War II.
Construction of the Pampa Army Air Force Base began in June 1942, under the direction of the Tulsa, Oklahoma office of the Corps of Engineers. Overseeing the initial stages of the operation was Col. Norman B. Olsen. Temporary offices were set up in the Rose Motor Company and Culberson-Smalling buildings in town. Col. Daniel S. Campbell became the commanding officer in September 1942, and within two months the first planes and aviation cadets had arrived.
The Pampa Army Air Force Base closed September 30, 1945, after just three years of operation. During that time 6,292 aviation cadets and 3,500 mechanics were trained. The base's safety record was one of the best in the U.S. Training Command during World War II. Despite a brief history, the base had a dramatic impact on the development of the Pampa area.