Results tagged “march field” from Raincross Square

A look at local history books

A Colony for California
Riverside Museum Press

Riverside 1870-1940
Arcadia Publishing

Riverside in
Vintage Postcards

Arcadia Publishing

Riverside - Then & Now
Arcadia Publishing

Recently, local historian Hal Durian's weekly "Riverside Recollections" column spotlighted several local history books, including the very popular photo history books from Arcadia Publishing.

The Arcadia series includes several topics, including Images of America, Postcard History Series, Then & Now, Black America Series, Images of Sports, and Campus History Series.

Locally, several communities have been profiled in the Arcadia series, including: Riverside, Corona, Norco, Jurupa, Rubidoux, Moreno Valley, Hemet, San Jacinto, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Redlands, Loma Linda, Montclair, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, and Big Bear.

Several cities, such as Riverside, even have multiple books: Riverside 1870-1940, Riverside in Vintage Postcards, Riverside - Then & Now, Riverside's Mission Inn, Riverside's Camp Anza & Arlanza, and Arlington.

There are also a number of single-topic books: Norconian Resort, March Air Force Base, Kaiser Steel, Fontana, The Harris' Company, Lake Mathews & Gavilan Hills, and Temecula Wine Country, and Route 66 in California.

Beyond the Arcadia books, which offer mostly a cursory review of local history in a quick, easy-to-digest visual format, there are several other local history books of Riverside to take note of.

In particular, local author Joan H. Hall has done great work documenting several aspects of Riverside. Her "Adobes, Bungalows and Mansions of Riverside, California - Revisited" (with co-author Esther H. Klotz) and "Cottages, Colonials and Community Places of Riverside California" are two of the best such works, offering insight on many of Riverside's homes, buildings and sites.

Hall has also wrote (and/or co-authored) several other important local histories, including "A Citrus Legacy," "Through the Doors of the Mission Inn," "Pursuing Eden," and "History of Citrus in the Riverside Area."

Along with Hall's many books, two other books are worth noting for their more in-depth look at local history: Steve Lech's, "Along the Old Roads -- A History of the Portion of Southern California that Became Riverside County, 1772-1893," which gives background information for communities of Riverside County; and the late Tom Patterson's, "A Colony for California," which is a loose collection of both factual and anecdotal accounts of Riverside's first one hundred years (1870-1970).

Most of these books are found at area museums and many local shops, plus Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. They can also be found on (click here for direct links to each book). And of course, the Arcadia books can also be found at Arcadia Publishing.

Riverside National Cemetery marks 30th year

Riverside National Cemetery

Ysmael R. Villegas

This Veterans Day marks thirty years since the opening of Riverside National Cemetery.

Located across the I-215 freeway from March ARB on the former grounds of Camp William G. Haan, the 921-acre cemetery is one of the nation's largest and busiest national cemeteries.

The initial phase included 96 acres and cost $5 million when opened on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1978. The first interment was local WWII hero and Medal of Honor recipient, Ysmael R. Villegas.

Read more about the history of RNC in a previous post from earlier this year.

Photo Gallery: Riverside National Cemetery


Sources: The Press-Enterprise

Out & About - 10/14/2008

Flash: Out & About slideshow

Incorporating the old RIR logo

March Field Air Museum

An original WWI-era plane
traced back to March Field

This past weekend saw us check the status on a few ongoing projects in downtown Riverside, including Regency Tower and Main Street Pedestrian Mall as both projects continue moving along. We also managed to take a nice snapshot overlooking downtown as well as take in two local museums.

First up was a visit to the Riverside International Automotive Museum in Riverside. Located in a business park near Hunter Park, the museum pays homage to the former Riverside International Raceway, which hosted major races on the eastern edge of town from 1957 - 1988. On display are posters, videos and various RIR memorabilia -- including a refrigerator from the driver's lounge. The museum also houses 3 Indy Eagle cars from the track's most prolific racer, Dan Gurney.

But more than just honoring RIR, the museum has a small collection of memorabilia from the former Ontario Motor Speedway (which held races from 1970 to 1980 on land where the new arena now stands). Likewise, several sports cars are on display, ranging from Ferrari and Maserati to Indy cars. It's also a working museum with race car restoration projects in the works.

Photos: Riverside International Raceway



Next was a stop at March Field Air Museum adjacent to I-215 in southeastern Riverside. Located on the western edge of March Air Reserve Base, the museum is comprised of a few hangar-like structures and several outdoor aircraft displays.

An interior exhibit area offers historical displays on March Field -- which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2008 -- as well as the nation's major wars. Several other displays include the Tuskegee Airmen, Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, SAC Commander Gen. Curtis LeMay and the International Combat Camera Association. The museum also includes a short film on the history of March Field -- the oldest Air Force base on the west coast -- and it's involvement within the nation's modern military.

Outside on the museum's flightline are over 50 aircraft, including an SR-71 Blackbird, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-29 Superfortress, B-52D Stratofortress, F-4 Phantom, F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle and KC-135 Stratotanker. Also on display are 4 Soviet MiG planes and a small hanger dedicated to the P-38.

The museum is also a working museum, with several hangers set up for ongoing restoration projects. Future plans at the museum include expansion for more interior exhibit space and a re-working of the exterior flightline.

When visiting March Field Air Museum, be sure to make time for a few solemn moments across the freeway at Riverside National Cemetery, which was the former site of Camp Haan during World War II.


Riverside National Cemetery

Riverside National Cemetery

National Medal of Honor

National POW/MIA Memorial

Memorial Day weekend

Recent burials

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Riverside National Cemetery, one of the nation's largest national cemeteries. It is also one of the busiest.

Located along I-215 just west of March Air Reserve Base in southeastern Riverside, the 921-acre cemetery is the final resting place for nearly 180,000 veterans, former service members and their spouses from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Currently, the cemetery averages 150 services per week, totaling about 8,000 per year.

Riverside National sits on the former grounds of Camp William G. Haan, which served as an anti-aircraft training facility during WWII. In 1946, Camp Haan was absorbed into March Air Force Base and remained part of the base's sprawling western landscape before being transferred to the VA in 1976 for the then-planned 740-acre national cemetery.

The initial phase of 96 acres cost $5 million and opened on Veterans Day, Nov. 11th 1978. The first interment was local WWII hero and Medal of Honor recipient, Ysmael R. Villegas, whose family allowed re-burial from Riverside's Olivewood Cemetery to the newly-christened national cemetery. Within the first month of operation, the facility performed 355 interments, 163 of which were re-burials.

By 2003, when the Air Force transferred an additional 181 acres to the cemetery, the total overall acreage reached 921, with current development covering approximately 300 of those acres. With future development, the total number of interments is projected to reach well over 1 million.

Among those buried at Riverside National are two other Medal of Honor recipients -- Com. John H. Balch, WWI; and Col. Mitchell Paige, WWII / Korea -- as well as several distinguished persons, including Col. Aaron Bank (the father of the Army's Green Berets) and Capt. Lillian Kinkela Keil (an Air Force Flight Nurse Pioneer, who's one of the military's most decorated women). Also of note are several members of the Tuskegee Airmen; Ofc. James F. Van Pelt Jr., navigator during the dropping of the atomic bomb over Nagasaki; and Thomas Ross Bond Sr., best known as "Butch" in the 'Little Rascals' comedies.

Two lakes, an administration building, a small amphitheater and several monuments are scattered about the grounds, which ranges from gently rolling hills to wide open spaces. (Unfortunately, the newest portions tend to be a bit thin with regards to mature trees, a condition that with increased VA support, we hope changes sooner rather than later.)

Among the memorials is one of four nationally recognized National Medal of Honor sites, which was built in 1999. Other monuments include a Veteran's Memorial and the National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Memorial. On the immediate horizon is a replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial with several others representing the Civil War, WWI, WWII and Korea planned for the future.

Though far from being the "Arlington of the West" as first envisioned by its chief proponent and longtime civic activist David Goldware, Riverside National Cemetery has come a long way in a short 30 years. With the right guidance, diligent local support -- and kind Congressional budgets -- the cemetery may very well become the Arlington for a new generation of veterans.

Photo Gallery: Riverside National Cemetery


Medal of Honor
Lake "B"

(June 1976)
(Nov. 1978)
Camp Haan*
Camp Haan*

*Photo courtesy of Robert F. Gallagher

Sources: Riverside National Cemetery, March Air Reserve Base, March Field Museum, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, The Press-Enterprise, WikiPedia

March Field AirFest 2008


This weekend, the skies over Inland Southern California will reverberate with the thundering sounds of the USAF Thunderbirds as the team performs during "AirFest 2008" at March Air Reserve Base.

AirFest 2004

March Field

March Field

Aerial view
(note the outline of
the base's original quad)
MS Virtual Earth

The base, celebrating its 90th year, will once again open up the gates to the public during its annual open house/air show. The event, which attracts upwards of 250,000 people, has become the largest such air show in Southern California.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, flyovers will include the F-22, F-18, KC-135, C-130 as well an impressive short runway landing/takeoff demo performed by a March ARB-based Globemaster C-17. Also scheduled are precision parachute teams from the US Army "Golden Knights" and Canadian Skyhawks, a Red Bull MiG-17 aerial demonstration and several stunt pilots and vintage aircraft. On the tarmac will be over 50 aircraft available for up-close inspection, including several open for "walk-thrus."

Gates will be open 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., Sat. May 3 and Sun. May, 4. Free parking is available on base grounds.

March ARB was initially established in 1918 during World War I as Alessandro Flying Training Field under the command of the fledgling Army Air Service (later to become the Army Air Corps.) The base, which is the oldest Air Force base west of the Mississippi, immediately took the name March Field in honor of 2nd Lt. Peyton C. March Jr.

Through the years, the base was home to many of the nation's most celebrated pilots and commanders, including Hoyt Vandenberg, Curtis LeMay, Nathan Twining and Henry "Hap" Arnold. With its close proximity to Hollywood, March also played host to Bob Hope's first major USO show in May 1941.

Following World War II, March became part of the newly-formed Tactical Air Command (TAC), housing the 1st Fighter Wing for the Army Air Force. Upon establishment of the US Air Force as an independent branch in 1948, the base was renamed March Air Force Base, becoming a major Strategic Air Command (SAC) bomber base and headquarters for the 15th Air Force. For several years, B-29s, B-52s and KC-135s dominated the tarmac -- and the overhead skies.

In 1982, KC-10s replaced the last of March's B-52s as the primary mission changed from bombardment to air refueling and support. In 1996, as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, the base was renamed March Air Reserve Base.

Today, as the largest air reserve base in the nation, March ARB supports all branches of the US military. The base is home to the 4th Air Force HQ and several other units, including the 4th Combat Camera Squadron, the 163d Reconnaissance Wing, the American Forces Radio and Television Service, the Southwest Interdiction Unit of U.S. Customs as well as an air wing of Homeland Security.

With Southern California's longest paved runway, the now joint-use facility includes March GlobalPort, which serves as the West Coast hub for cargo shipper DHL.



Sources: March Air Reserve Base, March Field Museum, USAF, WikiPedia

March Field AirFest 2006


This weekend marks the return of the USAF Thunderbirds to March Air Reserve Base near Riverside. The precision flying team has been making regular stops at the base's air shows for many years, the last being 2004.

This weekend's show marks the homecoming of sorts for one of the Thunderbird pilots, Maj. Nicole Malachowski, who spent part of her childhood in Upland. She's also the first female pilot in the history of the Thunderbirds. Many of her relatives will be at this weekend's airshow.

"It's exciting to be back in Southern California," Malachowski said Thursday after a practicing with the Thunderbirds over March, Riverside, Moreno Valley and Perris. "It's overwhelming and exhilarating and I'm enjoying this."

The Press-Enterprise

March Field AirFest

USAF Thunderbirds

Included in this weekend's airshow will be flight demonstrations of the Air Force's primary aircraft, including the F-15E "Strike Eagle," F-16 "Viper," C-17 "Globemaster," C-130 "Hercules," B-52 "Stratofortress," KC-135 "Stratotanker," as well as the F-22 "Raptor," and F-117 "Stealth Fighter."

A U.S. Navy F-18 "Hornet" and Russian MiG-21 are also part of the flight demonstrations along with historic Air Force aircraft B-17, B-25, P-38 and P-51. Vietnam War-vintage helicopters, precision parachute teams and stunt pilots help round out the flight demostration activities. Numerous aircraft will also be on display -- and for walk-thrus -- along March's large tarmac.

The airshow is the only such USAF show held in Greater Los Angeles and is usually one of the largest in the country. And due to the proximity to the Thunderbirds' home base of Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, family members of many of the pilots will be making the trek to March ARB for this weekend's airshow.

The March Field AirFest is Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, from 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., with the Thunderbirds performing at 3:15 p.m. both days. Admission is free.

Photo Gallery: AirFest 2004


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