Perrin Air Force Base
(At North Texas Regional Airport)
Plans began in early 1941 for a U.S. Army Air Corps installation to be located in Grayson County. This 1,160-acre site was acquired in June, and air corps personnel began arriving in August. The base was to serve as a basic flight training facility. During its construction, the U.S. was drawn into World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7. The first class of flight students, which arrived on December 16, graduated in February 1942 in ceremonies which included the dedication of the base in memory of Lt. Col. Elmer D. Perrin, a Texas test pilot killed in the line of duty in 1941. Pilots trained here served in World War 11,Korea, and Vietnam. Their airplanes ranged from basic trainers of the 1940s to jets of the 1960sand 1970s. The presence of the air base became important in the life of Grayson County, creating jobs and boosting the local economy. Following the death in 1961 of Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, many dignitaries, including the president and vice-president, arrived here and were transported by base personnel to the funeral in nearby Fannin County. Partly because of increased air traffic in the area, Perrin Air Force Base was closed in 1971.