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    Howard Field (Howard AFB, Panamá Pacífico Airport) Panamá Oeste Province Panama
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MSgt Karr c44-45
Location
Lat 8° 54' 53N Long 79° 35' 59W  Howard Field was located at 52' above sea level adjacent to Fort Kobbe (Ft. Kobbe) roughly six miles southwest of Balboa at the southern side of the Panama Canal in Panamá Oeste Province in Panama. Most of the surrounding area is uninhabited area considered part of the Panama Canal Zone watershed. Postwar known as Howard AFB. Today known as Panamá Pacífico International Airport.

Construction
Built by the U. S. Army and dedicated on March 1, 1942 and named "Howard Field" in honor of Major Charles H. Howard, who flew in Panama in the late 1920s and died in a crash on October 25, 1936.

Wartime History
On May 15, 1942 U. S. Army soldiers arrived at the airfield known as Howard Air Base or Howard Field and used by fighters and bombers to defend the Panama Canal area. During World War II, known as APO 832.

American units based at Howard Field
31st FS ? - March 25, 1944 to USA
3rd BS (B-24) David Field April 6, 1944 -
29th BS (B-24) Galapagos April 10, 1944 -
16th Air Base Group, May 15, 1941 - June 1943
44 Reconnaissance Squadron, July 8, 1941 - October 27, 1941
15th Air Base Squadron, May 15, 1941 - October 1, 1945
6th AF, 7 Reconnaissance Squadron (B-17, B-18) Nov 26, 1941 - Dec 11, 1941 David Field
59th Bombardment Squadron, 28 October-11 December 1941
397th Bombardment Squadron, 26 November-10 December 1941
51th Pursuit Squadron, 10–23 December 1941
53d Fighter Group, 1 January-26 November 1942
72nd Observation Group, 18 January 1942-1 November 1943
40th Bombardment Group, June 16, 1942 - September 16, 1942 Albrook Field
20th Troop Carrier Squadron, February 19, 1942 - June 9, 1943
37th Fighter Group, 20 September 1942-1 November 1943
6th Bombardment Group, 14 January-1 November 1943
40th Bombardment Group, 2–16 June 1943
43nd Fighter Squadron, 9 February-6 April 1944; 29 August 1944-10 January 1945
51st Fighter Squadron, 10 June 1944-15 October 1946
32nd Fighter Squadron (P-38) January 10, 1945 - October 15, 1946
28th Fighter Squadron, 25 September 1945-15 October 1946
30th Fighter Squadron, 25 September 1945-15 October 1946

Postwar
Deactivated on January 1, 1950, the base was turned over to the U. S. Army but the U. S. Air Force (USAF) continued to use the area for joint training exercises during the 1950s and by December 1961 all USAF flight operations in Panama relocated to Howard.

On October 1, 1963 the Air Force officially reclaimed Howard from the Army and became known as Howard Air Force Base or Howard AFB and played a central role in U. S. military operations in Latin America ever since, largely due to its 8,500' runway and its status as the only jet capable American air base south of the Rio Grande.

Today
On November 1, 1999 closed and officially turned over to the Panamanian government. Still in use today as Howard Airport or Panamá Pacífico International Airport. The single runway is oriented 36/18 and measures 8,500' x 148' surfaced with asphalt. Airport codes: ICAO: MPHO, IATA: BLB.

Portions of the former airfield area were developed into commercial real estate, known as "Panama Pacifico". Much of the base is today used to house call centers for technology companies, including Dell Computer.

References
Panama Pacifico - official website
Alae Supra Canalem (1997) by Dan Hagedorn page 186

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Last Updated
December 22, 2019

 

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