In its initial role as a military airfield, the Arlington Airport was simply an outlying practice field for operational training of fleet carrier squadrons and for dive-bomb training for aircraft based out of Sand Point. Increased congestion at Sand Point due to the arrival of new planes was largely responsible for the decision to take over the local field. In August of 1940 the Navy assumed the lease from the City. A small building was constructed containing an air traffic control room and living quarters.
In 1942, the military site was chosen as a medium bomber base for the Army. With consent from the Navy, immediate construction began on two runways, a system of taxiways and hardstandings, a small shop and operations building, a 50-foot control tower, a well and water storage tank, and living and messing facilities for 450 officers and men. All were Theater-of-Operations buildings.
The Army’s need diminished before the facilities were used and only Army guards and firemen were located at the field. The Navy then took full control June 26, 1943 and began its arduous construction project of new buildings, facilities and a runway. Supplemental to the new facilities, the Administration building became the new Navy headquarters equipped with Station Telephone Central, a post office and administrative offices. Under the Naval Air Center- Seattle, plans were drawn for construction of eight enlisted barracks, two BOQs, a dispensary, theater-recreation building, ship’s service, mess hall, central heating plant, supply warehouse, and hangar. Once completed, the contractor’s office was transfigured into the gatehouse and Officer of the Day Office. A transmitter building and magazines were later included.
In the fall of 1944 Class “C” overhaul buildings were erected including an Overhaul building, an Armory, a Radio and Radar Building, and two portable paint shops. In addition, the previous Army Barracks were converted to an oil storage and issue building located in the hangar area. By August of 1945 construction was finally completed to the satisfaction of the United States Navy.