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Review of Joint Base Langley-Eustis

Review of Joint Base Langley-Eustis by Mark A. Chambers. Arcadia Publishing, 2017, 96 pp. 

Review of Joint Base Langley-Eustis is a pictorial history that Arcadia Publishing published in their Images of Modern America series. Mark A. Chambers is a contracted senior technical writer with the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center, which is adjacent to the Langley portion of Joint Base Langley–Eustis in Hampton, Virginia. This book is one of four books focused on military installations to date in the publisher’s series about modern America.


Chambers methodically addresses the history of the airfield named for an airpower pioneer, Dr. Samuel Pierpont Langley. Chambers begins with Dr. Langley’s role in early aviation, then focuses on the establishment of the military installation in 1917, highlights the airfield’s direct role in Brig Gen Billy Mitchell’s provisional air brigade that bombed ships off the Atlantic Coast, reviews the major military conflicts of the twentieth century, and concludes with the airfield in the present day.


Chambers presents the history predominately through photographs with some text. In the four-page introduction, the author succinctly captures the history of Dr. Langley’s contributions to airpower and then the history of airpower at what was originally Langley Field, later renamed Langley AFB and recently renamed Joint Base Langley–Eustis. The book succeeds in reflecting a history founded on photographs with captions that give insightful context to each.


Of the 151 photographs, 56 (more than one-third) are in the first chapter covering from 1896-1941. The balance of photographs display people, facilities, and aircraft after 1941. Chambers was successful in reviewing key elements of the airfield and the military installation’s significant contributions to airpower history with a few Langley-specific highlights of how NASA’s predecessor organization, the National Aeronautics and Civil Administration, operated there. Langley is a historically significant site for US air history. The 99 pages do justice in summarizing Langley’s contributions.

One disappointing element to this book is that the author failed to include the rich history of the portion of the joint base previously known as Fort Eustis. The book title logically leads the reader to expect that the author would address both portions of the joint base, not just the portion that was Langley AFB.

However for readers who prefer photographs with brief context as a primary means of reviewing history, this book is worth the time.


Lt Col Paul Guevin, USAF, Retired

Fort George G. Meade, Maryland

 

"The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US government or the Department of Defense."

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