NAS JRB Fort Worth, TX HistoryWhat is today the NAS at Fort Worth was originally simply Tarrant Army Air Field, quickly authorized and constructed in 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tarrant Field was renamed Fort Worth Army Air Field later in 1942. The field was primarily a training site for bomber crews, for the B-24 Liberator, B-26 Marauder, B-34 Lexington, and later in the war the B-29 Superfortress. The field was built next to the Consolidated Aircraft factory assembling B-24s, and received them into service.
After the war, Fort Worth AAF was assigned to Strategic Air Command, and was the base for intercontinental strategic bombers, including B-29s and the new, huge, B-36 Peacemaker. In 1948 the base was renamed Carswell Air Force Base, in honor of Fort Worth native Major Horace S. Carswell, Medal of Honor recipient, who piloted a single B-24 Liberator against an alerted Japanese convoy, sinking a large tanker, with severe damage to his bomber and one of the crew parachutes; Major Carswell sacrificed his own life to save his crew by piloting the bomber over land, where the crew was ordered to bail out before an attempted crash landing.
The 1950s saw Carswell AFB settle into its role as a bomber base, and was featured in the Jimmy Stewart film Strategic Air Command, featuring the major movie star, actual pilot, and Air Force Reserve colonel, James Stewart. Select scenes were shot on location at Carswell, which prominently featured a B-36, a bomber in use at Carswell.
The bomber mission of Carswell AFB continued through the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, and through the Gulf War, including many successful operations. With the forced realignments and closures of the 1990s, Carswell was closed; the US Navy acquired the property and renamed the base NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, retaining the Carswell name for the field, and conserving the useful military facilities and housing against future need.