The former Strother Field is located approximately 5 miles south of Winfield and 6 miles north of Arkansas City in Cowley County, Kansas. The former Strother Field is located in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, an area of flat-topped hills; limestone outcrops; long, steep slopes; and valleys covered with natural prairie grasses. The tall grasses in this region are mostly big and little bluestem, switch grass, and Indian grass. Trees are located along stream and river bottoms. Posey Creek runs along the eastern border of the site and drains into the Walnut River. The land comprising the Strother Field Disposal Area currently used for agriculture and industrial.
Prior to Department of Defense (DoD) use, the land was used for agricultural purposes (cultivation and livestock). During DoD use, conventional ordnance, chemical munitions, and pyrotechnics were used and/or stored at the property. Facilities at Strother Field included a small arms storage building, a magazine, an igloo, a skeet range, and a pistol range.
Currently, most of the property is occupied by the Strother Field Airport and Industrial Park. The industrial park covers the majority of the former base cantonment area. Only a few of the original air field facilities remain standing, including a hangar, waste water treatment facilities, and a water tower. The non-industrial portions of the property are used for agricultural production.
Strother Field was initially commissioned in 1942 and used primarily for basic training for Air Corps cadets. Four auxiliary landing fields were associated with Strother Field (#1, #2, #3, and #5) and used primarily for emergency and touch-and-go landings.
In 1944, the installation became a fighter pilot training station. Training included expanded instrument training, and strafing and bombing practice, which was conducted at the auxiliary airfields and not Strother Field. The property was declared surplus in January 1946 and conveyed to the cities of Winfield and Arkansas City in May 1948.
Most of the FUDS property is occupied by the Strother Field Airport and Industrial Park, which are managed by the Strother Field Commission representing Arkansas City and Winfield. The industrial park covers the majority of the former base cantonment area. The remaining portions of the FUDS property are privately owned.
The industrial park has hosted a variety of industries, including a jet engine overhaul facility, a beer distributor, driver’s license office, and other manufacturers. There is no residential property use. Non-industrial portions of the site are used for agricultural production.
There is no historical information available for the Disposal Area project. One interviewee in the Archive Search Report (ASR) indicated he had heard reports of burial sites at Strother Field, but specific locations were never identified. Aerial photographs evaluated during the ASR indicated only features related to the skeet range were observed in the area; there was no evidence of disturbance related to other activities.
In general, Strother Field was used from 1942 to 1946; however, years of use of the Disposal Area are unknown. The Disposal Area project is primarily located within a former Range Complex (Pistol Range and Sleet Range). The cities of Winfield and Arkansas City own the majority of the property, which is primarily leased for farming. There are no access restrictions at the Disposal Area and a majority of the Disposal Area MRS has been plowed without a reported incident for more than 50 years.