The Webster County Historical Society will play host to a round-table discussion on the former U.S. Air Force base in Fordland at its regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Anyone with memories of the base are invited to attend and share those memories as the meeting will be held in the society’s research center at 215 South Clay Street in Marshfield, next door to the society’s museum.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m.
In 1951, the U.S. Air Force opened a radar installation two miles east of Fordland. It was designated as the 797th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron, and it’s primary mission was to provide 24-hour radar surveillance of the air. Locally, it became known as the Fordland Air Base.
During its nearly 10 years in operation, several hundred airmen called the base home. They frequented local restaurants and other businesses.
They also met and married several Webster County girls, and many continued to make their homes in and around Webster County. The base closed in the late 1950s and soon reopened in the early 1960s as the Fordland Honor Camp, a state prison, which later became the current Ozark Correctional Center.