Before Sebring, Florida, was known for auto racing and the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, thousands of young men swarmed to the airport at the bequest of Uncle Sam.
From 1942 to 1946, the Army Air Corps used the field we know as Sebring Regional Airport (SEF) as a training facility for multi-engine bomber crews. At that time the airport had four runways. After the war, part of the airport property was converted into the Sebring International Raceway. As time passed, still more land was handed off for non-military industrial and commercial use.
Despite the passage of time, you can still detect the field’s military heritage. From the air, you can see the outlines of the old runways. Old timers at the airport will tell you about the remains of a B-17 crash that’s near the end of a runway, but which runway it is depends on who is telling the story. One thing not in dispute is the pride the airport has in its history. At the base of the control tower there’s a plaque dedicated to the men who served in the military during World War II.