Local History: Who Was Barksdale?
Barksdale Air Force Base has been an ever present feather in the cap of the Shreveport-Bossier area. We have all grown up around the base, and some of us, myself included, have been stationed there as a member of The U.S. Air Force.
But who was Barksdale, and why was the base named after him?
I'll start with the why. The U.S. Air Force has a long tradition of naming bases after Airmen who have died in the line of duty. Barksdale is no exception.
Eugene Hoy Barksdale was born on November 5, 1896 in Goshen Springs, Mississippi.
According to his Wikipedia article:
Barksdale volunteered for the aviation section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps as a Private First Class. He received flight training with the Royal Flying Corps and was assigned to the 41st Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, in 1918.
Lieutenant Barksdale received his wings in Great Britain in 1918 and flew with the British during World War I. As a 1st Lt, Barksdale had numerous accomplishments, one of which was flying from McCook Field, OH to Mitchel Field, NY using instruments only, a great feat for 1924.
But just a couple of years later, Barksdale met his fate.
Barksdale died August 11, 1926 over McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio while testing a Douglas O-2 observation airplane for spin characteristics. He did not recover from a flat spin while parachuting out of the plane, and his parachute was caught in the wing's brace wires, causing Barksdale to fall to his death. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
On February 2, 1933, Barksdale Field was established, and when the Air Force became a separate branch from the U.S. Army, the name of the airfield was changed to Barksdale Air Force Base on February 13, 1948.
And that is who Barksdale was.
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