BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, LA (KSLA) - The U.S. Air Force has a long tradition of naming bases after airmen who have died valiantly in the line of duty. Barksdale Air Force Base is no exception.
When BAFB was built, no one in the Shreveport-Bossier area had joined the service or was still in the service during World War I, according to Tech Sergeant William Bracy.
In order to find a namesake, they had to look further than the ArkLaTex. That's when they found Eugene Hoy Barksdale in Goshen Springs, Mississippi. That's northeast of Jackson.
"He went to college in Mississippi during WWI, and he felt the call to service," Bracy said. "Nobody knows when he saw his first aircraft."
Barksdale served in both World Wars.
Barksdale volunteered for the aviation section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps as a Private First Class. He received his wings in Great Britain in 1918 and flew with the British during World War I.
He later worked as a test pilot.
Barksdale had numerous accomplishments and was known for his close friendship with General Ira Eaker, the founder of the 8th Air Force and medal of honor recipient General James Doolittle. Doolittle led the first aerial attack on the Japanese in World War II.
"He was into sports he was into golf he was in the basketball had a lot of friends," Bracy added.
Barksdale died August 11, 1926, in Dayton, Ohio while testing a Douglas O-2 observation airplane for spin characteristics.
He is buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
For a closer look at some of Barksdale's items from his Mississippi home, visit the Global Power Museum at BAFB.