We learned so much history about the former Mather Air Force Base when we played Mather Golf Course that I thought I would share a little-known fact with you in honor of the 4th of July. Mather was not the original name of the air field. It was christened Mills Air Field, named after the community Mills Station where it was located. Built in 1917 in preparation for World War I, it was one of the original Army Air Service training camps in the United States.
Enlisting in one of the first training classes, Second Lieutenant Carl Spencer Mather proved himself a talented and well-liked pilot. Sadly, while continuing his training in Texas, he was killed in a mid-air collision on January 30, 1918. The remainder of his class requested that Mills Field be renamed in Mather’s honor. Mather Air Field eventually became Mather Air Force Base and continued under that name until it was decommissioned in 1993.
Over that period of time the military also built a golf course named after 2nd Lt. Mather. I wonder if he ever played golf. Probably not – he was too busy flying.