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Bolling Air Force Base

Air Force District of Washington.png
Air Force District of Washington

Bolling AFB DC - 5 Apr 1988.jpg
USGS aerial photo as of 5 April 1988
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Owner United States Air Force
Operator Air Force District of Washington
Location Washington, D.C.
Built 1918
In use July 1, 1918 - present
Occupants 11th Wing
Elevation AMSL 20 ft / 6 m
Coordinates 38°50′34″N 077°00′58″W / 38.84278°N 77.01611°W / 38.84278; -77.01611
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 100 30 Asphalt
Sources: Official web site[1] and FAA[2]
Bolling AFB is located in District of Columbia
Bolling AFB
Location of Bolling Air Force Base, D.C.
Bolling Field, mid 1920s
Bolling Field and Anacosta Naval Air Station, mid 1940s

Bolling Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: BOFICAO: KBOFFAA LID: BOF)is a United States Air Force base located in Washington, D.C..

The host unit at Bolling is the non-flying 11th Wing (11 WG) assigned to the Air Force District of Washington. The 11 WG is one of the largest and most ceremonial wings in the Air Force. It is the single manager for all Air Force activities supporting Headquarters Air Force and other Air Force units in the National Capital Region as well as 108 countries throughout the world. As a direct reporting unit to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, it combines resources from the Pentagon and Bolling AFB.

Bolling AFB was established on 2 October 1917 as the Flying field at Anacostia. It was one of the initial World War I Army Air Service installations. [3] It is named for Colonel Raynal C. Bolling (1877-1918), the first high-ranking U.S. officer to be killed in combat in World War I. The commander of the 11th Wing is Colonel Cedric George. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Robin Johnson.



Once an important airfield in the Air Force's inventory (flight operations ended in 1961), Bolling was made into the headquarters for all Air Force operations in the National Capital Region in 1985. The "military district" concept had already been employed by the Army and Navy, with the Military District of Washington and Naval District of Washington, respectively. After setting the parameters from which the Air Force District of Washington (AFDW) would command and operate, the plan was put into motion and the AFDW was activated as a direct reporting unit on Bolling AFB in 1995.

Today, Bolling AFB provides a base support structure though the 11th Wing for Air Force units in the Washington D.C area and the Pentagon, with the exception of those supported though Andrews AFB. It supports units from base-level offices to Headquarters for the Office of Special investigations, the Air Force Surgeon General and the Air Force Chief of Chaplains. Bolling also serves as a diverse military community, housing families of all services and hosting one of the largest defense organizations, the Defense Intelligence Agency Center.


Bolling Field was officially opened 1 July 1918 and was named in honor of the first high-ranking air service officer killed in World War I, Colonel Raynal C. Bolling. Colonel Bolling was the Assistant Chief of the Air Service, and was killed in action near Amiens, France, on 26 Mar 1918 while defending himself and his driver, Cpl Paul L. Holder, from an attack by German soldiers.

The tract of land selected for the base was scouted by William C. Ocker at the direction of General Billy Mitchell. The base began near Anacostia in 1918, as the only military airfield near the United States Capitol and was originally named The Flying Field at Anacostia on 2 October 1917. It was renamed Anacostia Experimental Flying Field in Jun 1918, and Bolling Field on 1 Jul 1918. With the establishment of the United States Air Force as an independent military service, it was renamed Bolling Air Force Base on 24 Jun 1948.

Bolling AFB has served as a research and testing ground for new aviation equipment and its first mission provided aerial defense of the capital. It moved to its present location, along the Potomac in the city's southwest quadrant, in the 1930s.


Major Commands to which assigned

  • Director of Military Aeronautics, 28 Jun 1918
  • 3d Service Command, 6 Mar 1928
  • Chief of Air Corps (Exempted Station), 1 Jul 1936
  • General Headquarters Air Force, 15 Mar 1941
Redesignated Air Force Combat Command, 20 Jun 1941
Redesignated: Strategic Air Command, 21 Mar 1946
Redesignated Headquarters Command, United States Air Force, 17 Mar 1958

Major Units assigned

  • 312th Aero Sq (Service), Jul 1918-17 Aug 1919
  • 99th Observation Sq, 18 Aug 1919-21 Mar 1921
  • HQ Detachment, Bolling Field, 11 Jul 1922-31 Mar 1928
  • General Headquarters, Air Force, 1 Oct 1933-28 Feb 1935
  • 14th Air Base Group, 1 Mar 1935-31 Mar 1944
  • 1st Staff Squadron, 1 Sept 1936-31 Mar 1944
  • 2d Staff Squadron, 1 Sept 1936-31 Mar 1944
  • 4th Staff Squadron, 17 May 1941-31 Mar 1944
  • Air Force Combat Command, 28 Mar 1941-12 Mar 1942
  • V Air Support Command (redesignated: Ninth Air Force), 23 Jul - 28 Oct 1942
  • 5th Bombardment Wing, 10 Jul-31 Jul 1942
  • VIII Ground Air Support Command, 28 Apr-29 May 1942
  • 10th Ferrying Squadron, 10 Apr 1942-1 Mar 1943
  • Transatlantic Sector, AAF Ferrying Command,
Redesignated, Transatlantic Sector, Air Transport Command, 21 Feb 1942-15 Apr 1943
Redesignated Air Force Base Unit 1, 1 Apr 1944-1 Apr 1948
  • 503d Army Air Force Base Unit, 21 Feb 1944
Redesignated: 503d Air Force Base Unit, 27 Sept 1947-1 Apr 1948
Redesignated: Headquarters Command, USAF, 17 Mar 1958-1 Jul 1976
  • 1st Special Air Missions Squadron
Redesignated: 1111th Special Air Mission Squadron
Redesignated: 1299th Air Transport Squadron, 10 Mar 1948 - 10 Jul 1961
  • 16th Special Air Missions Group
Redesignated: 1100th Special Air Missions Group
Redesignated: 2310th Air Transport Group, 10 Mar 1948-29 Nov 1952
  • 1100th Air Base Wing, 16 Mar 1949-30 Sept 1977
Redesignated: 1100th Air Base Group, 30 Sept 1977-15 Dec 1980
Redesignated: 1100th Air Base Wing, 15 Dec 1980-15 Jul 1994


The First Army Air Tournament took place at Bolling Field in May 1920

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson sent Bolling pilots on the first permanent airmail route from Washington, D.C. to New York, New York.

Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" returned to Bolling field in 1927 after its historic transatlantic flight. It was reassembled at Bolling for Lindbergh's goodwill flight to Mexico and South America.

In 1934, then-Lieutenant Colonel Henry "Hap" Arnold led a bomber flight from Bolling Field on a 4,000-mile aerial journey to Alaska to demonstrate the capabilities of strategic long-range bombing missions. Carl Spaatz and Wiley Post also began or ended historic flights there.

The core units at Bolling Field at the beginning of 1939 were one housekeeping squadron, the base headquarters, the 14th Air Base Squadron and two air base maintenance squadrons -- the first and second staff squadrons.

For the duration of World War II, Bolling Field served as a training and organization base for personnel and units going overseas, and it became the aerial gateway to the nation's capital.

The Army Air Forces Headquarters and the Army's GHQ Air Force (later the Air Force Combat Command) moved to Bolling in March 1941. After creation of the United States Air Force, Bolling Field was re-designated as Bolling Field Command, and organized, on 15 December 1946. It was redesignated Headquarters Command, USAF, on 17 March 1958.

President Harry Truman's initial official aircraft and Franklin Roosevelt's only official aircraft, The Sacred Cow, retired from service at Bolling Air Force Base in 1961.

Bolling Air Force Base was reassigned to the Military Airlift Command (MAC) in 1976 when Headquarters Command, USAF was inactivated. In 1985, Bolling Air Force Base was designated the headquarters for the Air Force District of Washington. The Air Force District of Washington was redesignated as the 11th Support Wing in 1994 and renamed the 11th Wing in 1995. The Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff jointly directed reactivation of the Air Force District of Washington, effective 1 January 2005 with the 11th Wing as its subordinate unit.

The last fixed-wing flight out of Bolling Air Force Base, 1962.

In 1962, due to airspace congestion around Washington National Airport (now Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport), fixed-wing flying activities departed Bolling for nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. Similar operations at adjacent Naval Air Station Anacostia were also discontinued at the same time. Forty-four years after the dedication of Bolling Field, the last airplane departed July 1, 1962, carrying 33 passengers and six crew members bound for Andrews.

Current use

The Air Force District of Washington (AFDW) was created and activated at Bolling on 1 October 1985 with the mission of providing administrative support to Air Force members. On 15 July 1994, AFDW was deactivated, but was reactivated 5 January 2005 to "provide a single voice for Air Force requirements in the National Capital Region" according to the base's website.

Bolling field units also provide ceremonial support to the White House, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff, mainly through 11th Wing, the United States Air Force Honor Guard and The United States Air Force Band.

The Defense Intelligence Agency built its Defense Intelligence Analysis Center at Bolling Air Force Base and moved many of its operations there in 1987.

The only aeronautical facility at the base is a 100 by 100 feet (30 by 30 m) helipad (ICAO: KBOF).

As a result of the 2005 BRAC, the base will become Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling-Naval Research Laboratory, D.C, and lose 96 military and 242 civilian positions.[4]

For a brief time during the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, the Air Force Global Strike Command was located here, before moving to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.


  1. ^ Bolling Air Force Base, official web site
  2. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for BOF (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-12-20
  3. ^ World War I Group, Historical Division, Special Staff, United States Army, Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War (1917–1919)
  4. ^ Air Force Link. Retrieved February 20, 2007.

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.



  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1961 (republished 1983, Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-02-1).
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Mueller, Robert, Air Force Bases Volume I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982, Office of Air Force History, 1989

External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Bolling Air Force Base".

Redirecting to Bolling Air Force Base


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