Major Horace Carswell: The Face Behind the Base

On February 27, 1948 Fort Worth Army Airfield was renamed “Carswell Air Force Base” in honor of Fort Worth native Major Horace Seaver “Stump” Carswell Jr. (1916–1944) (photo from Wikipedia).

Carswell grew up on the North Side, attended North Side High School.

carswell frogsIn 1936 Carswell wore a college football uniform, like many young men who in a few years would wear a military uniform. Carswell would graduate in 1939, enlist in 1940.

carswell 40 census

The 1940 census listed Horace Jr. living with his parents on Denver Avenue on the North Side.

carswell 1614 denverThe Carswell house on Denver Avenue was built in 1916, the year Horace Jr. was born—101 years ago.

carswell MIAMajor Carswell was reported missing in October 1944.

carswell recommendedThis front page of December 8, 1944 shows how the war dominated news. In the lower right corner is a story stating that Carswell, by then declared killed in action, had been recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor. Carswell had remained at the controls of his crippled B-24 Liberator as the bomber crash-landed in China. (Consolidated Aircraft Company, adjacent to Fort Worth Army Airfield, built B-24s during the war.) He was twenty-eight years old.

Carswell was posthumously awarded the medal in 1946.

carswell s-t 2-28-48

Carswell’s heroism was recalled as the air base was renamed for him.

Carswell Air Force Base originally was called “Army Air Force Combat Crew School,” then “Tarrant Field,” and then “Fort Worth Army Airfield.” Today the base is known as “Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth” and is operated by the Navy (1947 photo from Lockheed Martin).

Major Horace Seaver “Stump” Carswell Jr. was buried in 1944 at Tungchen, China. In  1945 he was reburied at the American Military Cemetery at Kunming, China. In 1947 he was reburied in Hawaii. In 1948 he was reburied in Rose Hill Cemetery in east Fort Worth. Finally, in 1986 his remains were moved to Carswell Air Force Base.

carswell valorBut wait! One more deployment for the remains of Major Carswell came in 1993 when Carswell Air Force Base ceased active Air Force active duty operations, and Major Carswell’s remains were reburied yet again, this time in Carswell Memorial Park in Oakwood Cemetery.

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2 Responses to Major Horace Carswell: The Face Behind the Base

  1. Dylan York says:

    My great grandfather was a northside boy, and one of Horace’s best friends growing up. One story in particular that he always repeated was that the two of them created a game where each of them would ride through a peach orchard on a horse bareback. Which ever one of them could stay on longer was the winner, avoiding the low hanging branches before they were swept off the horse at high speeds. Later on when my great grandfather had heard of Horace’s death in the war and his act of bravery, he was deeply saddened but not shocked. That was exactly the Horace he had known in their adolescence, not afraid of anything.

    • hometown says:

      What a great anecdote. Growing up in Fort Worth, I doubt that many folks knew (or even wondered about) who Carswell Air Force Base was named after, much less knew anything of the man himself. I was born just a few blocks from where he lived, and I certainly never knew.

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