Happy Memorial Day!
In 1944 and 1945, Cornell Capa was posted at Mitchel Field Air Force base, located in Nassau, Long Island. While processing Cornell’s personal papers, we came across a collection of news clippings which included photographs (both credited and un-credited) taken by Cornell Capa, illustrating the daily lives of air force personnel stationed at Mitchel Field.
The majority of the clippings were from the Mitchel Field Airbase’s local newspaper: The Beacon, Mitchel Field: “Published in the interest of personnel at Mitchel Field.” The collection also contained an assortment of clippings from other local New York papers featuring stories and photographs of the Airbase at Mitchel Field.
The Mitchel Field Airbase was activated as 1 AF, December 18, 1940, as one of the four original numbered air forces. It became re-designated at First Air Force on April 9, 1941, with the mission to defend the Great Lake regions. By 1944, most of the concerns of the First Air Force was training replacement units for overseas combat. By late 1944-1945 the original four Air Force Units were placed under the command of the Continental Air Forces.
Many of the images in these clippings are completely uncredited or list the photographer as “FAF Photo” or “Official First AAF Photo.” They contain images of the daily life of the personnel and airmen of the base, as well as dozens of photographs of the Airforce football teams: “The Giants” and “The Aces.”
We cannot definitively say that these images were made by Capa, however, there are a number of clues that point in that direction. Consider these three facts:
- The intentional nature of their clipping.
- They are the oldest preserved news clippings from the Cornell Capa Papers collection.
- Mixed with these clippings are images with a written credit to “Cpl Cornell Capa.”
If you notice, Cornell was promoted to Sargent in his credits!