Jointly operated by Obion and Weakley Counties
Airport Administration personnel.
Each class consisted of about 30 cadets. There was more than one class going through at the same time.
Cadets eating at the diner.
The control tower - Picture made from behind the tower looking West. Cadets are crossing a bridge over the creek.
Riddle McKay hanger
The Y at the lower left is the current turnoff from Airport Road and the diamond shaped area encompasses the headquarters, living quarters, mess hall and classrooms. The hangars, parachute loft, and maintenance shops are on the right outside the diamond shape. View is looking South. The tree line in the right center is the Union City-Martin road, later Stanley's Chapel road.
View looking Southwest. The triangle shaped field in the foreground shows the "new" road on the far side of the field. The "old" road came down the near side and was straight North from its intersection with the Union City-Martin road.
Prior to the United States entering World War II it was recognized by the military that great strides would have to be made to bring our air power up to the strength of the Axis powers. Congress agreed with the military and by 1942 steps had been taken to train military pilots. Obion County Tennessee was chosen as a training area and a plot of ground, about 840 acres, east of Union City and just east of the Obion River and north of the Union City-Martin Road (now Stanley's Chapel Road) was chosen to build a training base. State Highway 22 had not been built at that time, and the road now known as Airport Road just east of the Poplar Meadows Golf Course actually ran due North from the present intersection with Stanley's Chapel Road. This road was relocated during the construction of the training field.
As most war time construction was done this training base was built quickly. The Riddle-McKay Company, now Embry-Riddle University, was contracted to operate the base and the training program. A large number of metal buildings were built in 1942-43, as well as a wooden control tower. Two wooden hangers were added in 1943. Two metal hangars and two metal maintenance buildings are still in use today. The control tower was replaced by the present terminal building. Approximately 19 classes of cadets were trained at Riddle-McKay Field in Union City and were sent all over the world. The primary training aircraft was the PT-Stearman.
After WWII the War Surplus Act allowed the airport to be given to Obion County. The grant included certain stipulations about how the land could be used, sold, retained, etc., and that it must be used as an airport. It was named the Tom Stewart Airport after Senator Tom Stewart. Later, Congressman Robert A. "Fats" Everett's name was included and for many years it was known as the Everett Stewart Airport. In late 2007 it became the Everett Stewart Regional Airport jointly operated by Obion and Weakley counties.
The airport has been maintained as a public airport for sixty years and many improvements have been made, and many more are planned. The Everett Stewart Regional Airport Commission is dedicated to maintaining the airport as a very important part of the infrastructure of NorthWest Tennessee and Western Kentucky, especially Obion and Weakley counties.