Aviation Sciences Institute

Eaker Field

History of Eaker Field

Eaker Field is located about eight miles south of the main SOSU campus. It is easily accessable from highway 75 as well as from South 9th Street in Durant.

The airport is named in honor of SOSU alum General Ira Eaker. General Eaker was a 1917 graduate of Southeastern and served in both World War I and World War II. During WW II General Eaker was commander of the Eighth Air Force in England and led several historic bombing missions against Nazi targets in occupied Europe and Germany.

The City of Durant named an airfield west of the town in honor of then Captain Eaker in the 1930’s. The U.S. Navy built the current airfield as an auxilary field during WW II and it became Durant Municipal Airport soon after the war. Later it was renamed Eaker Field in honor of now General Eaker.

Points of Interest on the Field

There are two memorials on Eaker Field. The first honors Lt. Commander John Waldron, USN, and the men of Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8). On the 4th of June, 1942, VT-8 was involved in the epic Battle of Midway. On that day the VT-8 attacked the Japanese fleet without fighter support. The entire squadron of Douglas TBD torpedo bombers was shot down during their attack. Every member of VT-8 was killed except for Ensign George Gay, who survived the battle and the war. However, by drawing Japanese fighers down to a low altitude VT-8 allowed American dive bombers with fighter support to successfully attack the Japanese fleet. Ultimately, the Japanese suffered the loss of four large aircraft carriers and one curiser and withrew from the battle. (Biography of Lt. Commander Waldron)

The second memorial honors two SOSU students who lost their lives in an aircraft accident in February of 2001. Jake Marcum, a CFI, and Lynn Mathew were flying a Cessna 150 near the eastern shore of Lake Texoma on a training flight when they collided with a Cessna 172. The Cessna 150 crashed just off the shore, killing Jake and Lynn. The Cessna 172 was able to land safely at Sherman Municipal Airport. The pilot and his passenger were not injured. To honor the memories of Jake and Lynn a memorial pavillion was erected next to the ASI building adjacent to the flight line. Jake had originally suggested such a pavillion where students could relax and watch airplanes. In April of 2003 a DC-3 propeller, painted in the school colors of blue and gold, along with two plaques, were dedicated to Jake Marcum and Lynn Mathew.