Martin County Airport began as a small grass landing strip in the early 1930's. With the onset of World War II patriotic private owners offered their land to Martin County to build an Airport. The Airport was known as the Stuart Airport however later nicknamed Witham Field in honor of Homer Witham who was the first Stuart aviator to die in World War II.
In October of 1942 Martin County leased the 900-acre Airport to the federal government for use as a military training field. The Navy assumed operation of the Airport in exchange for an $800,000 payment to the County. The Navy then committed $10 million to construct and operate a modern Airport. For years US Navy fighters and light bombers practiced flying into and out of the Airport.
On July 1, 1947 the property was returned to Martin County. During the 1950's and 1960's Northrop Grumman leased the property, conducted flight-testing and began to manufacture various aircraft for the US Navy.