I have said this many times, and probably still will: Fresno is a strategic place to live. We are practically in the Center of CA (as well as the most notable region in the Central Valley) with close access to major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, and surrounded by National Forests/Parks (Yosemite to the north, Sequoia to the south). We also have the convenience of a small, but relatively modern airport, known as Fresno Air Terminal (FAT) or Fresno Yosemite International Airport. If you’ve ever been near the airport, surely you noticed the military’s presence (National Guard/144th Fighter Wing) within the airfield.
Today I learned that FAT’s existence is owed to the military, as it was originally opened as a military airfield 6 months after the attack Pearl Harbor, with the name Hammer Field. After WW2’s end, the military field was of course inactivated. Logically, the city of Fresno decided to use the site to create a commercial airport that was much larger than Fresno’s current airport at the time, Chandler Field (which is still around, by the way). Through this, ownership of the property was given to the city, and opened as FAT in 1948. Despite being a civilian commercial airport, CA’s National Guard is based out of FAT, and is also home to the 144th Fighter Wing.
It just so happens Fresno’s weather (usually clear skies, not much rainy days throughout the year) makes operation of FAT more reliable, which is probably why FAT has a repair facility for fighter jets. Fresno’s status as the hub of the Central Valley is why FAT matters, and it’s exciting that our airport still has projects in the works for becoming better.