Established in July 1941, Garner Army Air Field was named in honor of former vice president John Nance Garner, a Texas native. Hangar Six, a private flying school owned by John Lapham of San Antonio, provided flight training conducted by civilians with Army Air Corps officers as administrators. Other civilian jobs included maintenance and parachute packing; both men and women worked as aircraft mechanics.
Fifty cadets reported for duty by October 1941 and began learning to fly PT-19A training aircraft. Tom Holland of Fayetteville, Tennessee, made the first solo flight. By the time the first class of cadets graduated, the country was at war.
Later classes contained as many as 360 cadets from the U.S., twenty-one Latin American countries, and Turkey. Uvalde citizens of all ages befriended the cadets during their 10-week stay in the area.
After deactivation in 1945, four hangars, the control tower, and runways continued in use as a city airport. The remaining ten one-story buildings became Southwest Texas Junior College which opened its doors to students in 1946. Area residents received flight training and certification at the field, and flight instruction became part of the college curriculum.