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Boca's Army Air Field tied to Pearl Harbor Attack

Boca's Army Air Field tied to Pearl Harbor Attack. (WPEC)

After the Japanese attacked Hawaii December 7, 1941, the U.S. began working on various military technology so we'd never be caught so off guard again.

Boca Raton's Army Air Field was vital in that research and development; the war effort was in full swing, and things unfolding in Boca were top secret.

New theories and devices were tested out of the airfield.

"The cavity magnetron, that was a small device, about the size of a fist with some leads attached, and basically what it was, the prototype of a microwave. So this was a radar device," explained Sally J. Ling.

Ling is the author of the book, Small Town Big Secrets: Inside the Boca Raton Army Airfield during World War II. She spent years researching the base and the people who lived and worked there.

"Most of the people I interviewed are now deceased because when I originally wrote the book and interviewed them it was 2005," Ling said.

Boca's private airport is situated on the bases north runway. Military planes are now replaced by corporate jets.

Only a handful of buildings from the base are still standing on FAU's campus.

Speaking of FAU, one of Sally's favorite stories that she's discovered in her research involves a lieutenant and a nurse.

"They fell in love on the base, they got married on the base and when they had children and their children grew up, two of them actually graduated from Florida Atlantic University so they really made a complete picture," Ling said.

The base was deactivated in 1947.

Boca Raton in 1947 also had devastating damage from Hurricane George and Hurricane King.

But on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Sally says we'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the memory of the base this date and that place are linked. Now, they are documented.


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