The airport was opened in 1934 as the Starkville Municipal Airport. During World War II the airport was taken over abruptly by the government to be used as a glider training base (Starkville AF Auxiliary Field). Plans for the AAF Basic Training Detachment were for 150 students using the TG-5 gliders. The gliders were towed by the BT-13 Vultee "Vibrator". Students lived in the dormitories at Mississippi State College, where they also used its classrooms and dining facilities.