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MacDill may not have visited

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 8, 2002

Tampa remembers Col. Leslie MacDill.

That said, MacDill may never even have visited Tampa.

Both MacDill Air Force Base and MacDill Avenue are named for this Army officer who was first in line to join the U.S. Army's flying corps in 1914. MacDill went on to serve in the Aviation Signal Corps in World War I.

He was a member of the War Department's general staff when he was killed in a 1938 airplane crash at Boling Field, near Washington, D.C. He was 49.

When MacDill Field was dedicated April 16, 1941, it was named in his honor. MacDill Avenue, which linked the field to Drew Airfield, was named at the same time.

When the U.S. Air Force was created in 1947, MacDill became an established air base, said MacDill historian Staff Sgt. J.R. Foster.

Foster searched his records, but there's no evidence that MacDill, a native of Illinois, ever lived or visited the city which so honors his name.

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