Never Forget: Robins observes the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
After six years of fighting and millions of casualties, on Sept. 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied forces marking the end of World War II.

Seventy years ago, more than 200 allied ships were in Tokyo Bay in Japan for the signing of the formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri.

The war began Sept. 3, 1939, two days after Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, when France and Britain declared war on Germany.

The U.S. would not get involved in the war until 1941 when Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

On the home front, the U.S. was not building or expanding its bases until the attack, which killed 2,300 people.

Robins Air Force Base was a so-called "war baby." Born out of a need for maintenance depots, what was once a field turned into a hub of activity in the early- to mid-1940s. 

The Georgia Historical Society estimated more than 300,000 Georgians served the Armed Forces in the war. 

Fort Benning in Columbus was the largest infantry training school in the world, while Robins employed 13,000, according to the GHS.

People at Robins serviced the B-17, B-29 and other aircraft during the war. The first planes that arrived at Robins for maintenance were the A-20 and C-47.

"By the end of the war, we had sustained B-17s, B-29s, B-24s, P-40s, P-47s, P-51s, B-25s," Dr. William Head, base historian, said. "After the war, we became the cargo and transport aircraft sustainment capital of the world.  

"In the 1940s we were big on parachutes, spark plugs and landing gears," Head added.