By the end of 1941, the base was no longer just a pilot training school and it became the first Combat Crew Training School and the U.S. B-17 Flying Fortresses began using the field where entire crews – pilot, copilot, navigator, bombardier, aerial engineer, radio operator, and gunner were trained.
In January 1942, the base was named Hendricks Field in memory of First Lieutenant Laird Woodruff Hendricks, a native of Ocala, Florida. At this time, the base was essentially in place with four runways 150′ by 5,000′ with directional bearings N-S, NE-SW, E-W, and NW-SE, an aircraft parking apron and the majority of the landside buildings and facilities were complete.
On January 29, 1942, the first Flying Fortress landed at Hendricks Field. By mid-1942, the runways were widened to 300 feet, and the perimeter taxiways were constructed. Late in 1942, the function of Hendricks Field again changed to become exclusively a First Pilots flying school for B-17s.
With the end of World War II in 1945, Hendricks Field was inactivated on December 31. On January 25, 1946, the air base property was declared surplus to the needs of the U.S. Government and the lease was surrendered to the City of Sebring. The airfield, roadways, utilities, some buildings, various equipment and miscellaneous items were released to the city with typical reservations and restrictions concerning land and airport use. Many of the buildings were either sold or torn down at the time of surrender.
On February 21, 1946, the city received a temporary permit to operate Hendricks Field as a civilian airport and an Airport Committee of the City Council was appointed. A few days later, the first commercial flight from Hendricks Field was made when Sebring Flying Service made two passenger flights from the field.