During Hamilton’s 40 year existence, first as an Army Air Field in 1935 and then as an Air Force Base in 1947, a number of civilian dignitaries and notables visited the base. Naturally, there were also a number of well-known military personnel that passed through Hamilton’s famous gate. Following is a partial listing.

General Hap Arnold

General Hap Arnold

General Henry Harley (Hap) Arnold- Then, Brigadier General Hap Arnold, was present at the dedication of Hamilton Army Airfield in May of 1935. General Arnold loved the area and upon his retirement in 1946, he and his wife Bee retired in the Sonoma Valley. He maintained an office in the basement of the Hamilton Officer’s Club until he died in 1950. Upon his death, Grand Avenue in Sonoma was renamed Arnold Drive. General Arnold had a remarkable career. He took his first flight lessons from the Wright Brothers, guided U.S. military aviation from infancy to its position of prominence in the world and became the only man to be a 5 star general in both the Army and the Air force.

Major General Clarence L Tinker

Major General Clarence L Tinker

Major General Clarence L. Tinker was the Base Commander at Hamilton from December 1934 until December 1936. He was the highest ranking Native American (Osage) officer and first to reach the rank of Major General. He died leading a force during the Battle of Midway in June 1942. He was the first American general to die in the war. Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma is named in his honor.

Edward Rickenbacker

Edward Vernon (Eddie) Rickenbacker

Edward Vernon (Eddie) Rickenbacker (center), March 1942 -Three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the famed WW1 flying ace and Medal of Honor winner was on a “Morale Boosting” trip for Army Flyers around the country. Rickenbacker felt that the country was “complacent” and not being aggressive enough in pursuing the war.

Actor Joe E Brown

Actor Joe E. Brown

Joe E. Brown, April 1943 – A prominent comedian and actor, Brown had two sons in the military. He spent much time (and his own money) entertaining troops around the world. He wrote a book in 1944 titled, Your Kids and Mine, about his troop entertaining experiences.

Abbott and Costello

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, September 1944 – The well-known comedy team were touring the Evacuee wards at the Hamilton Debarkation Hospital. At the peak of their popularity during the war years, the duo promoted the sale of war bonds. On two cross county tours during the war years, they raised $85 million dollars for the U.S. Government.

Angels of Bataan

Angels of Bataan

Angels of Bataan, March 1945- Seventy eight Army and Navy nurses were captured during the fall of the Philippines in 1942. They continued their nursing duties taking care of wounded and sick soldiers during their 3-1/2 years as Prisoners of War. They were liberated February 12, 1945.

Sir Anthony Eden

Sir Anthony Eden, British Foreign Minister

Sir Anthony Eden, British Foreign Minister, April 1945- Arrived at Hamilton to attend a United Nations Conference in San Francisco.
President Harry Truman

President Harry S. Truman

President Harry Truman 2

President Truman visiting wounded soldiers

President Harry Truman, June 1945 – Arrived to sign the United Nations Charter in San Francisco. He also visited patients at the Base Evacuation Hospital.

General Jonathan Wainwright

General Jonathan Wainwright

General Johnathon Wainwright, accompanied by his sister. September 1945- A hero of Bataan and Corregidor, he arrived at Hamilton from Tokyo after witnessing the formal surrender of Japan aboard the USS Missouri. He spent 3-1/2 years in a Japanese Prison Camp.

Lt General James Doolittle

Lt. General James Doolittle

Lt. General James (Jimmy) Doolittle, (center) August 1957-On 18 April 1942, then Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle led a carrier launched squadron of 18 B-25 Mitchell Bombers on a raid over Tokyo and other Japanese cities. Just four months since the Pearl Harbor attack, the raid was a morale booster for America. A much decorated Medal of Honor recipient, Doolittle is credited with the development of Instrument Flying as well as other aviation innovations.

Lady Bird Johnson

First Lady – Lady Bird Johnson

First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, October 1966-The First Lady and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall arrived at Hamilton, and then proceeded to Pt. Reyes for the dedication of Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

President Richard Nixon

President Richard Nixon

President Richard Nixon, August 1969- President Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon arrived at Hamilton, then helicoptered to the San Francisco Presidio for a meeting with South Korean President Park Chung-Hee.

President Gerald Ford

President Gerald Ford

President Gerald Ford, April 1975-The President arrived, visited and then helicoptered from Hamilton to a meeting at “The Geysers” geothermal power field in Sonoma County.

For additional information on some of the people mentioned above, click on links below.

General Harley (Hap) Arnold https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_H._Arnold
Novato Historian: Henry Harley (“Hap”) Arnold: A True Pioneer
Major General Clarence L. Tinker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_L._Tinker
Eddie Rickenbacker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Rickenbacker
Angles of Bataan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_of_Bataan
General Johnathon Wainwright https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_M._Wainwright_(general)
General James (Jimmy) Doolittle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Doolittle