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Saturday, DiscoverDecember Venice 2012-2013 1, 2012

Page 21

PLANE FROM PAGE 20 beachfront. The Venice airfield was one of several training sites built around the state. Florida was known for its flat land and year-round flying weather, making it good for the expeditious pilot training World War II demanded. Today’s airports in Avon Park, Sarasota and Lakeland all began as Venice did — a training field to support the war effort. Venice resident Melvin Johns remembers when his father, Albert, got a job building the new airfield. “We were living in Manatee City, which later became Bradenton,” Melvin said. “My dad and two or three others came to Venice, stayed during the week and came home on the weekends.

An aerial photo of the Albee air field in Venice, circa 1942. From then until 1956, when the Albee field closed, Venice had two airports. He was a laborer and a Sharky’s is today, and watch come down to use them. carpenter. He worked at the the planes doing target “My dad was injured on the new airfield for about nine practice. They had some job and was taken to see Dr. months. During his off times, targets out in the Gulf and Albee at the Florida Medical he and his friends would go aircraft from MacDill (Air PLANE | 22 to the beach, about where Force Base in Tampa) would

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