Those Who Served

During World War II, the entire Vineyard community mobilized to support the War effort, both on the home front and overseas. The Island was a bustling center of military activity. One square mile of land at the heart of the State Forest was taken by the federal government to construct the US Naval Auxiliary Air Facility (now the Martha’s Vineyard Airport) for training new pilots and refresher courses for seasoned airmen.

The military maintained installations at the Vineyard’s high-ground on Peaked Hill in Chilmark and at a facility in Katama. Ground and air training maneuvers were carried out along the Island’s north and south shore beaches. Vineyard men and women served abroad in every theater of the War. At home, Civil Defense and United Service Organizations (USO) were active in Island towns.

The personal stories and perspectives of Vineyard people who survived the War years are a part of the Museum’s oral history collections. These stories bring alive the horror and confusion of battle, the exhilaration of victory, and the shared sacrifice and anxiety experienced by those on the home front.