In 1942 the War Department acquired the 640 acre site and from 1942-1943 built 2 runways, a taxiway, a parking apron, and an operations building. The runways were constructed with a 2-3” layer of oiled sand over native sand. Yuma Auxiliary Army Airfield No. 4 (aka Rolle Field) was one of seven satellite auxiliary airfields for Yuma Army Air Field (now: Marine Corps Air Station Yuma) and is one of many Arizona World War II Army Airfields. The United States Army Air Forces trained bomber crews at Rolle through the end of World War II. The airport was declared surplus in 1945 and relinquished to the Department of the Interior in 1947.
On March 17, 1952, the BOR provided Yuma County a license to operate, maintain and manage Rolle Field.
Through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s the airport was used primarily by agricultural farmers and growers for conducting crop dusting operations for the surrounding areas.
In 1966, the Yuma County Farm Bureau assumed responsibility for the Airfield since the primary beneficiaries in the area would be farmers and growers, and the related crop dusting operations.
On February 24, 1972 the Yuma County Airport Authority assumed responsibility of Rolle Airfield to manage, improve, develop, operate and maintain it. The original agreement between the BOR and Yuma County was amended on September 17, 1973, to allow for an additional term of license and to access available State funds for capital improvements. Simultaneously, the Rolle Airfield airport license was officially delegated to the YCAA by the Yuma County Board of Supervisors.
In 1975, then Airport Authority president, James B. Rolle, secured $25,000 in state grant funding for improvements to Runway 17-35 that consisted of leveling a 50 foot by 2,500 foot area with prepared aggregate base course followed by a 2 inch asphaltic overlay and an emulsion seal coat. Construction took place in early 1976, and State grant funds covered approximately half of the fifty thousand dollar project cost and the YCAA provided the funding for the remaining cost. The runway improvement sparked an increased use of the Airfield as a reliever for student pilot training as air traffic in and around Yuma International Airport / MCAS Yuma increased.
The license with the US Bureau of Reclamation was renegotiated in 1986 for a 25-year extension.
In 1987, Yuma Auxiliary Airfield No. 4 was renamed Rolle Airfield after longtime Yuma County Airport Authority member James B. Rolle, a Yuma attorney, in an effort to recognize his years of dedication to the aviation community as well as to change the auxiliary designation so pilots recognize it is under civilian control.
In a letter to Robert C. Bloom, a Federal Aviation Administration supervisor in Los Angeles, Donna Murray, Yuma International Airport’s Airport Manager at the time wrote: “The Yuma County Airport Authority is a unique organization, and it has taken people of great insight and effort to develop civilian aviation to the extent that it exists today in Yuma. One of those individuals was James B. Rolle.
“As the authority’s legal counsel and a director from 1968 until his death in 1983 and president in 1975-1976, Jim Rolle provided just that kind of vision and determination. His work in Yuma is deserving of the recognition that comes from great leadership and community service.”
In June 1999, Rolle Airfield was annexed into the City of San Luis.
In 2009 Yuma County Airport Authority renewed the lease on the airport for 25 years.
In 2011, the Airport Authority completed a full transformation of Rolle Airfield’s infrastructure to include the complete reconstruction of the 2800’ runway 17/35, construction of new taxiway and aircraft parking apron, construction of runway end run-outs, a new parking lot, sidewalk, hangar, septic system, water well, electrical generator, 8’ chain link perimeter fence with 3 strands of barbed wire along with access controlled pedestrian gate door, and a 25’ rolling controlled access vehicle gate. The transformation from a former WWII training field into a first-of-its-kind facility with focus on Aviation/Aerospace or UAS related activities, small-frame aeronautical systems and support equipment industry in an effort to create jobs and economic development for Southwest Arizona.
In 2015 the YCAA completed a Master Plan for Rolle Airfield. The purpose of the Airport Master Plan Update is to present guidelines for development of Rolle Airfield that considers all of these factors in order to meet the needs of Yuma County, the City of San Luis, as well as the array of interrelated government, military and civilian operators that are active in the region over the next 20 year period, and to incorporate the aviation impact of UAS operations with respect to pavement, ground space and the NAS.