Terrell County Memorial Museum
90th Aero Squadron

The troops immediately began to set up the aerodrome, which consisted mostly of tent structures, both for the men and as hangars for the DH-4 bombers. The only permanent wood structures came later when Eagle Pass was closed and the Squadron Headquarters moved to Sanderson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those latter buildings consisted of four headquarter structures with offices for the administrative staff, arranged around a central quadrangle assembly yard with a fifth building located to the south.

All text and photos on this site copyright Terrell County Memorial Museum, 2010-2013, except where attribution is given.

To the north of this complex sat three rows of thirty-six pyramidal tents, which served as barracks for the men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond that sat a row of twelve, large canvas hangar tents, which gave a measure of protection from the elements for the aircraft.

 

 

In addition to this, there were tents set up for the cooks, a hospital for the flight surgeon and medics and various-sized tents for tools and storage, including a large mechanics’ tent for aircraft and vehicle repairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the airplanes, there were also at least fifteen heavy trucks for hauling supplies and at least eight other vehicles and motorcycles for light transportation and ground patrol. In all, it seemed to be a large operation for a small town.

 

 

 

 

 

For armament, the DH-4s carried two .30-calibur Marlin machine guns and two .30-calibur Lewis machine guns on a rack in the rear for the co-pilot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, it could carry four bombs, with a total weight of about 322 lbs. The local crews spent hours and days practicing bombing runs in the pastures around the aerodrome with dummy bombs made of metal nosecones and fins and terracotta bodies. These bombs were cast in molds and made on site as needed.  A donor recently brought in the remains of one to give to the museum, and they are still being found.

Almost immediately the patrols began. Two planes flew west, snaking along the Rio Grande as far as Lajitas in the Big Bend, then turn and fly back. Two other planes headed east as far as the Devil’s River, then return.

 

With a 400-mile range, the American versions of the British De Havilland DH-4 bombers made the trip easily.

 

 

Rear-mounted 30-calibur Lewis machine guns.
Front-mounted 30-calibur Marlin
 machine gun.
Bomb-making sequence taken from an early film.
This dummy bomb was cast from a brick-like clay.  Others were made on site as needed from plaster and metal.  This one was found in a field favored by the practicing bombardiers, along with many others.
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