Rehoboth Airport from the air in the 1960s

February 6, 2019

A recent historic photograph in the Cape Gazette showed the Rehoboth Airport - in black and white - in 1949. This color postcard shows the same airport about 15 years later, looking toward the southwest. The airport, which closed in 1987, was active during World War II as a coastal base for the Civil Air Patrol, which formed in December 1941. Local pilots flew out of Rehoboth Airport on surveillance missions primarily to spot German submarines and report their locations to military officials. German submarines roamed nearshore coastal waters during the war and sank many vessels involved in coastwise trade. The pilots flying out of Rehoboth were particularly important to the Civil Air Patrol mission because of the extensive shipping traffic going in and out of Delaware Bay and Delaware River related to the oil refineries supplying fuel for the war effort. Menacing the submarines helped minimize their impact on that shipping activity.