In April 1939, as the Nazis expanded their hold on Europe, the U.S. Congress approved a massive increase in the U.S. military. This included the construction of 50,000 new aircraft and the establishment of new air fields for training and defense. Early in 1940, the War Department informed the city officials of Millville, Bridgeton and Vineland that the Army Air Corps, precursor to the Air Force, was interested in having an airport built in Cumberland County. The City of Millville immediately purchased 500 acres of land next to a small, grass-covered airstrip used by the members of the Millville Flying Club, a group of local aviation enthusiasts, and offered it to the Federal Government. By February 1941 construction had begun, marking Millville Army Air Field as America’s first defense airport. By the end of 1942, the Millville airport had four concrete runways, occupied over 14,000 acres of land and housed 125 single-engine fighter planes.