In 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked, killing thousands and destroying 18 ships and nearly 300 planes, ultimately dragging the United States into World War II.
With limited resources, Myrtle Beach became key in training soldiers before they went to war.
In March of 1942, the United States Army Air Corps officially opened the Myrtle Beach Bombing and Gunnery Training Range. Due to the urgent nature of the war, the area was built up fast, consisting of offices, barracks, a hospital and maintenance and training facilities, according to a post on the Myrtle Beach city government Facebook page.
Because the buildings were made of wood, the area quickly became known as “Splinter City” and was used to house German prisoners throughout the war.
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A marker located on the former air base, now known as The Market Common, says, “ ‘Splinter City’ allowed the training mission to get fully underway within six months.”
The post says that during that time, the military only had two branches - the Army and Navy. After the Air Force was added, “Splinter City” became the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.
In the 50s, Myrtle Beach donated land to the Air Force, which brought its first squadrons to the area around 1956.The base played a primary role in the Vietnam and Gulf Wars before in closed in 1993.