World War II:
"Don't Shoot 'em, Chanute 'em"
With Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, citizens
flocked to Chanute Field in large numbers to enlist in the U.S.
Army Air Forces. Chanute's transition from peace to war became apparent
immediately following Japan's surprise attack. The new 15,000-man
quarters built during Chanute's "Great Renaissance" proved
insufficient to accommodate the large influx of new personnel. Many
soldiers were housed temporarily in large tents. Chanute's student
load continued to grow until it reached a peak of 25,000 in January
By 1949 Chanute had become the worst installation in Air Training
Command according to the base commander. Buildings were in poor
conditions and community relations were poor. The feeling around
the military establishment was that an assignment to Chanute was
a dire punishment. The phrase "Don't Shoot 'em, Chanute 'em"
summed up the general perception of the installation.