March Field: 99 years and counting…

On March 1, 1918, Alessandro Aviation Field officially opened for business. Aviation cadet Harold Compere became the first cadet to land at the new Army encampment on the Alessandro Plain. Compere had flown from Rockwell Field, San Diego. On March 11, Captain William J. Carruthers reported for duty at the Alessandro Aviation Field. Carruthers relieved Sgt. Charles E. Garlick and became the installation’s first commissioned commander. Garlick had been the installation’s first commander since arriving in late February of 1918 to help establish the encampment. On March 15, under a sixty-day contract, the Twohy Brothers Construction Company of Spokane, Washington, began construction of hangars, barracks, and support buildings. Five days later, Alessandro Aviation Field was renamed March Field in honor of 2nd Lt. Peyton C. March Jr., the son of the Army chief of staff, Gen Peyton C. March who had died during a training accident the previous month. On March 23, 1918, the War Department issued the order officially establishing March Field.