England AFB is now closed but in the early 1950s it was a Fighter-Bomber base operating F-84s. There would have been no small arms development going on at that time.
I think you mean Eglin AFB which was, and still is the development center for USAF munitions. I was stationed there in the late 1970s. Eglin AFB was created in Oct 1940 from about 350,000 acres of national forest and became a proving ground got sit munitions during WWII. The base land and adjacent waters were used extensively for weapons training and testing during the war. Some of the best areas to troll for sport fish is a few hundred yards off shore in 60’-70’ of water where dummy bombs were dropped providing bottom structure in the otherwise sandy bottom. The primary effort immediately after WWII was missles and target drones. They even created drone B-17s. In late 1955 the Air Munitions Development Lab moved down from Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio which was the center for all Air Corp/USAF development before and during WWII and is still the location for USAF R&D as well as most USAF development of new weapon systems. This lab eventually developed into the Air Force Armament Lab. Guns and ammunition were a relatively small part of the Lab efforts during the time I was there and from my conversations with the people who had been in the business for a long time. Most of the guns and ammo work was aircraft weapons, 10mm and up. Small arms ammunition was a very small part of this effort and as far as I know never involved more than a dozen people or less. Their budget for small arms was tiny compared with what else went on in research, development and acquisition at Eglin AFB.
I have never heard of Dale Adams. The heart and soul of the ammunition development business in the Munitions/Armament Lab was Dale Davis a senior civil service employee. His official bio from his book on 20mm & 30mm ammunition below shows him arriving just months after the Air Munitions Development Lab moved down to Eglin.
[quote]Dale M. Davis received a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from West
Virginia University in 1951. Upon graduation, he received a commission in the
USAF and was assigned to the newly formed Air Research and Development Command
at Wright Air Development Center. In 1952 he was transferred to Aberdeen
Proving Ground, on the ordnance officers’ exchange program, where he was
assigned to the Small Arms and Aircraft Weapons Branch. Upon release from
active duty in 1954 he retained his position and duties as a civilian until he
transferred to the Air Force Armament Center at Eglin AFB in 1956. [/quote]
I knew Dale well and almost went to work for him when I was a Major. I also knew the technicians and engineers who had worked for him from the early 60s and looked at their play toys laying around in desk drawers and in their lab and storage area. Dale himself had quite a collection which went to the AF Armament Museum at Eglin. Most if it is in storage and only small amounts are on display. I went through Dale’s collection before he retired and have been through it again where it is stored on the Museum. I never heard or saw anything like your items, which doesn’t mean they were not made at Eglin. I also have a pretty good idea of the small arms development at Eglin that went along with the weapons, and have never heard any mention of rifle development before the AR-15 which the AF acquired and issued before the Army became interested in the M-16. I carried an AF issue AR-15 in Vietnam in 1966 (not that I ever had reason to fire it off the rifle range at Bien Hoa).
The Dale Davis was very close to Bill Woodin and if the armament lab had done anything like the items you show, Dale would have known about it and he would have passed on samples or at least information to Bill Woodin. I am sending this post along with your original post to the Woodin Lab to see if Bill recognizes them.
I feel pretty confident in telling you that these were not made in 1950, but perhaps could have been made in the late 1950s.
I doubt that there was a “Dale Adams” but perhaps that is really a reference to Dale Davis.
Frankly I think the story you got has been repeated often enough that it got screwed up and “Eglin” became “England”, 1950s or 1960s became 1950, and Dale Davis became Dale Adams.
These things could have been legit. I have no way of knowing. I did go through a cabinet once that had all the loading dies Eglin had made up including one for a .22 version of the 30-06 that they loaded for a German G-3 (I think) MG. they wanted to try it with 4000ft/sec ammo and originally chambered it for the 220 Swift, but as a semi-rimmed round it wouldn’t feed well so they rechambered it for a .22-06 and loaded the ammo themselves. At least that is how I remember the story. The box with the dies had some unloaded dummies-just unprimed cases with a bullet. I did talk the tech out of these. There were dies going back to the early 60s. Had your three cases been done by the Eglin Lab the dies would have likely been in that cabinet. Still someone could have walked off with them or whatever so that doesn’t prove they were not made at Eglin.
If I turn up any other information, I will post it.
PS: In the late 50s and early 60s, Eglin had hired a number of people from Aberdeen and participated in all the meetings and demos of that time including the discussions on small caliber infantry cartridges. I suspect that the Munitions Lab guys at WPAFB had participated before they moved to Eglin.