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Coordinates: 32°09′59″N 110°52′59″W / 32.16639°N 110.88306°W / 32.16639; -110.88306

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

Air Combat Command.png
Part of Air Combat Command (ACC)

Dmafb-16may1992.jpg
Aerial Photo of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base - May 16, 1992
Dmafb-map.jpg
Location of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
IATA: DMAICAO: KDMAFAA: DMA
Summary
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Operator United States Air Force
Location Tucson, Arizona
In use 1925–present
Commander


- 355th Fighter Wing

Occupants
  • 355th Fighter Wing
  • Twelfth Air Force
  • 55th Electronic Combat Group
  • 563rd Rescue Group
  • 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group
  • 943rd Rescue Group
  • 372nd Training Squadron
  • AFOSI
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Defense Investigative Service
  • Navy Operational Support Center
  • Naval Inventory Control Point
  • Radar Approach Control
  • West Coast A-10 Demonstration Team
Elevation AMSL 2,704 ft / 824 m
Website www.dm.af.mil
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 13,643 4,158 PEM
Sources: FAA[1] and official website.[2]
An A-10 in the Arizona sunset

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base adjacent to Tucson, Arizona, named in honor of World War I pilots Lieutenants Samuel H. Davis and Oscar Monthan, both Tucson natives. Davis-Monthan AFB is primarily an Air Combat Command (ACC) installation with the 355th Fighter Wing (355 FW) as the host activity. The base is also home to Headquarters, 12th Air Force (12 AF), the 563d Rescue Group (563 RQG), 55th Electronic Combat Group (55 ECG), and the Air Force Materiel Command's (AFMC) 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309 AMARG), previously known as the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC).

Davis-Monthan's primary operational mission is to train A-10 and OA-10 pilots and to provide A-10 and OA-10 close air support and forward air control to U.S. ground forces worldwide. In addition, the attached AMARG facility functions as a long term storage and reclamation facility for excess DoD, USCG, NASA and other U.S. government aircraft.

The 7,000 military and 1,600 civilian employees who work on the base cost the U.S. taxpayer $199 million annually, and the base has an estimated $750 million economic impact on Tucson as a whole.[3][4]

Contents

Units

The host wing at Davis-Monthan is the 355th Fighter Wing, which includes:

  • 355th Operations Group
  • 355th Mission Support Group
  • 355th Maintenance Group
  • 355th Medical Group

The installation commander and commander of the 355th Fighter Wing is Colonel Paul Johnson.

Other major units assigned to the base are:

All active duty aircraft assigned to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base carry the tail code "DM".

Air Reserve Component (ARC) units assigned to Davis-Monthan include the Air Force Reserve Command's 943d Rescue Group, consisting of the 305th Rescue Squadron (305 RQS) flying the HH-60G Pavehawk, the 306th Rescue Squadron (306 RQS) and the 943rd Operations Support Flight. All of these units are operationally-gained by Air Combat Command (ACC) and are geographically separated units (GSUs) of the 920th Rescue Wing (920 RQW) at Patrick AFB, Florida.

Another (ARC) unit at Davis-Monthan is the 214th Reconnaissance Group (214 RG) of the Arizona Air National Guard flying the MQ-1 Predator.

The base provides additional active duty support to the 162d Fighter Wing (162 FW) of the Arizona Air National Guard, located at nearby Tucson International Airport, which flies the F-16C and F-16D Fighting Falcon.

Other military activities and federal agencies using the base include Navy Operational Support Center Tucson, a detachment of the Naval Air Systems Command, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Customs Service Air Service Branch, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Also located on base is the 25th Operational Weather Squadron (25th OWS). The squadron produces forecasts for the Western United States and is part of the 1st Weather Group (1WXG) headquartered at Offutt Air Froce Base, Neb. The squadron also serve as training hubs for new weather professionals - both enlisted and officers.

History

The base was named in honor of Lieutenants Samuel H. Davis and Oscar Monthan, two Tucsonans and World War I–era pilots who died in separate military aircraft accidents. Davis, who died in a Florida aircraft accident in 1921, attended the University of Arizona prior to enlisting in the Army in 1917. Monthan enlisted in the Army as a private in 1917, was commissioned as a ground officer in 1918, and later became a pilot. He was killed in a crash of a Martin bomber in Hawaii in 1924.

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Major Commands to which assigned

Major Units assigned

Redesignated: 31st Service Group, April 30 – August 16, 1942
Redesignated: Military Aircraft Storage and Redistribution Center, February 1, 1965 – July 1, 1984
Redesignated: Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, July 1, 1984
Redesignated: 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, May 1, 2007 – Present

Operational history

Origins

In the earliest days of civil aviation, the City of Tucson acquired acreage southeast of town for a runway in 1925. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh, fresh from his nonstop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, flew his "Spirit of St. Louis" to Tucson to dedicate Davis-Monthan Field, then the largest municipal airport in the United States.

Standard Airlines, later absorbed by American Airlines, had regular flights to and from Tucson in 1928. Military presence at the field began when Sergeant Simpson relocated his fuel and service operation to Tucson airport on October 6, 1927. He kept a log containing names of the field's customers, including Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Delahauf Foulois, and James H. Doolittle.

Doolittle, awarded the Medal of Honor for his Tokyo raid, was the first military customer at the field on October 9, 1927.

World War II

Davis-Monthan Airport became Tucson Army Air Field, a military base, in 1940 as the United States prepared for World War II. The first assigned USAAF units were the 1st Bomb Wing, 41st Bomb Group, and 31st Air Base Group, activating on April 30, 1941. In its military role, the base became known as Davis-Monthan Army Air Field on December 3, 1941. Even before Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Army Air Corps leaders started to increasingly utilize the airfield, first by sending Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses for bombing practices. Next came some Douglas B-18 Bolo bombers, with both training and observation missions.

During the war, Davis-Monthan Airfield became the primary training location for B-24 Liberator groups and, nearing the war's end, B-29 Superfortresses. Several known bombardment groups trained at DM during the war:

Training at the airfield came to a halt on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese unconditionally surrendered. Davis-Monthan played a further role in the war effort by housing German Prisoners of War from June 1945 to March 1946.

Postwar Years

AMARC at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Boeing B-50A-5-BO Superfortress Lucky Lady II (AF Serial No. 46-0010). Fuselage is preserved in outside storage at Planes of Fame Museum, Chino, CA.
McDonnell F-4C-20-MC Phantom II AF Serial No. 63-7602 of the 4455th CCTS/4453d Combat Crew Training Wing, July 16, 1970. Aircraft was scrapped at Hill AFB, UT November 1986
Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D-13-CV Corsair II AF Serial No. 72-0233 of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, November 1, 1973. Aircraft w/o February 9, 1982.
Lockheed EC-130H-LM Hercules "Compass Call" aircraft, AF Serial No. 73-1581 of the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron, July 1982
A newly-modified A-10C Thunderbolt II taxis into Davis-Monthan AFB
One of the new 214th Reconnaissance Group's General Atomics MQ-1B Predator UAV aircraft (AF Serial No. 04-0555)

With the end of the war, operations at the base came to a virtual standstill. It was then the base was selected as a storage site for hundreds of decommissioned aircraft with the activation of the 3040th Aircraft Storage Group. The 3040th oversaw the storage of excess B-29s and C-47 "Gooney Birds." Tucson's dry climate and alkali soil made it an ideal location for aircraft storage and preservation, a mission that has continued to this day. The airfield also acted as a separation center, which brought the base populace to a high of 11,614 people in September 1945.

Cold War

Strategic Air Command (SAC) ushered in the Cold War era at Davis-Monthan in March 1946, in the form of the 40th and 444th Bombardment Groups, both equipped with B-29s. As part of the postwar austerity, these groups were inactivated, with the personnel and equipment being consolidated into the 43d Bombardment Group in October. Davis-Monthan's 43rd Air Refueling Squadron had the honor of being one of the first two air refueling squadrons in the Air Force, flying the KB-29M.

On January 11, 1948, with the establishment of the United States Air Force, the facility was renamed Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. On June 30, 1948, the Air Force activated the 43rd Air Refueling Squadron, whose KB-29Ms were newly equipped with aerial refueling equipment purchased from the British firm FRL. The 43rd ARS, along with the 509th ARS at Walker AFB, New Mexico, was the first dedicated air refueling unit in history.

On March 2, 1949, the Lucky Lady II, a B-50A of the 43d Bombardment Wing, completed the first nonstop round-the-world flight, having covered 23,452 miles in 94 hours and 1 minute (249.45 mph). Lucky Lady II was refueled four times in the air by KB-29 tankers of the 43d Air Refueling Squadron, which had made only one operational air refueling contact before the mission. For this outstanding flight, the Lucky Lady II's crew received the Mackay Trophy, given annually by the National Aeronautic Association for the outstanding flight of the year, and the Air Age Trophy, an Air Force Association award, given each year in recognition of significant contributions to the public understanding of the air age.

In 1953, the jet age came to Davis-Monthan when SAC units on the base converted to the new B-47 Stratojet. The 303d Bombardment Wing, Medium, was initially established on August 27, 1951, and activated at Davis-Monthan AFB on September 4, 1951. The wing operated B-29s until January 1952, when it was equipped with KB-29s. On January 20, 1953, the 303d transitioned to the B-47 for its three bomb squadrons, while an additional air refueling squadron equipped with KC-97s was assigned to the wing between February 18, 1953, and February 1, 1956. A standard SAC Alert Area ramp was constructed in the southeast corner of the base adjacent to the runway and the 303d assumed nuclear alert responsibilities was final conversion and checkout in the B-47 was complete.

In April 1953 the Air Defense Command's (ADC) 15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was activated with F-86A Sabres. A year later the unit transitioned into F-86Ds followed by a transition to F-86Ls in the fall of 1957. In the spring of 1959 the unit received Northrop F-89J interceptors which it flew for only a year when it transitioned into McDonnel F-101Bs. On December 24, 1964 the 15th FIS was deactivated.

In 1962, the Strategic Air Command's 390th Strategic Missile Wing (390 SMW) and its 18 Titan II ICBM sites around Tucson were activated. The 390 SMW was one of only three Titan II missile wings in SAC and represented the heaviest land-based missile and the largest single warhead ever fielded by U.S. strategic deterrent forces.

In July 1963, the 4028th Strategic Reconnaissance Weather Wing, equipped with U-2 strategic reconnaissance aircraft, began flying global missions from Davis-Monthan. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1963, the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Laughlin AFB, Texas, relocated to the base and assumed responsibility for all U-2 operations, emphasizing long-range strategic reconnaissance and intelligence collection. As a Strategic Air Command (SAC) unit, the 4080th was later redesignated the 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing and also acquired DC-130 Hercules aircraft for launch and control of Firebee reconnaissance drones that were the precursors of contemporary unmanned aerial systems. The DC-130s and U-2s remained at the Davis-Monthan until 1976, when the 100 SRW was inactivated, its DC-130s transferred to Tactical Air Command's 432d Tactical Drone Group, and its U-2s transferred to SAC's 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (9 SRW) at Beale Air Force Base, California, where U-2 Dragon Lady operations were consolidated with SR-71 Blackbird operations.

On June 15, 1964, Davis-Monthan's 303d Bombardment Wing was inactivated as part of the retirement of the B-47 Stratojet from active service. The year 1964 brought back the combat crew training mission of the World War II years with the 4453d Combat Crew Training Wing equipped with the Air Force's newest and most sophisticated fighter, the F-4 Phantom II.

In July 1971, the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying the A-7 Corsair II aircraft, was activated at the base and the previously assigned F-4s were moved to Luke AFB, near Phoenix, Arizona.

On October 1, 1976, the base was transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC) after 30 years under SAC. It was also that year the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing accepted the first A-10 Thunderbolt II. Since 1979, D-M has been the training location for pilots in the A-10; the base was redesignated the 355th Tactical Training Wing on September 1, 1979. The organization was later redesignated the 355th Fighter Wing since it includes operational, deployable A-10 squadrons in addition to its CONUS training mission

The 1980s brought several diverse missions to D-M. The headquarters charged with overseeing them was now the 836th Air Division, which was activated January 1, 1981. The AD advised Air Force component commanders and land forces on A-10 aircraft tactics, training, employment and readiness, and subordinate units participated in exercises such as Red Flag and Celtic Echo.

The 41st Electronic Combat Squadron, equipped with the EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, arrived on July 1, 1980, and reported to the 552d Airborne Warning and Control Wing.

In 1981 D-M welcomed the 868th Tactical Missile Training Group. The 868th was the only U.S.-based Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) unit and the source of the crews that staffed the forward deployed GLCM wings in NATO in 1982.

On September 1, 1982, the headquarters of the 602nd Tactical Air Control Wing (TAIRCW) and its subordinate 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS), a unit responsible for the Air Force's tactical air control system west of the Mississippi River transferred from Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, and stood up at D-M, bringing 16 OA-37B aircraft and numerous new personnel to the base. The 23rd TASS became the Air Force's first O/A-10 squadron in 1988, providing heavily armed airborne forward air control (FAC) capability for the first time. Unlike all other D-M aircraft at the time, the 23rd TASS fleet's tail flash read "NF", for "Nail FAC"; the squadron's radio call sign was "Nail."

In 1984, as a result of the first series of Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties START I between the United States and the Soviet Union, SAC began to decommission its Titan II missile system. In 1982, the 390 SMW began removing its 18 missiles and inactivating the associated sites in preparation for eventual demolition.

In October 1981, President Ronald Reagan announced that, as part of the strategic modernization program, Titan II systems were to be retired by October 1, 1987. Deactivation began at Davis-Monthan on October 1, 1982. During the operation, titled "Rivet Cap", the missiles were removed and shipped to Norton AFB, California for refurbishment and storage. Explosive demolition began at the headworks of missile complex 570-7 on November 30, 1983. In May 1984, the 390 SMW's last Titan II at Davis-Monthan came off alert status. SAC subsequently deactivated the 390th Strategic Missile Wing on June 30, 1984.

One site under the 390 SMW, known both as Titan II Site 571-7 and as Air Force Facility Missile Site 8, was initially decommissioned in 1982. Located approximately 12 miles south of Tucson in Sahuarita, Arizona, it was saved from demolition and turned over to the Arizona Aerospace Foundation, a nonprofit organization which also administers the Pima Air and Space Museum immediately south of Davis-Monthan. With a variety of items on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force, including an inert Titan II missile, Site 571-7 is now known as the Titan Missile Museum and is the sole remaining example of a Titan II missile site in existence. In 1994, the site was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Post Cold-War changes

In the 1990s, the 355 TTW continued to train A-10 crews for assignments to units in the United States, England, and Korea. During this period, the 355 FW deployed Airborne Forward Air Controllers in their OA-10 aircraft to Operation Desert Storm, providing nearly 100 percent of this capability to the war.

On October 1, 1991, the 355th was redesignated as the 355th Fighter Wing (FW) in tune with the Air Force's Objective Wing philosophy. The 355th Fighter Wing was composed of the 355th Operations Group, the 355th Maintenance Group, the 355th Medical Group, and the 355th Mission Support Group.

In May 1992, the 41st and 43d Electronic Combat Squadron, flying EC-130E Hercules Compass Call arrived. The aircraft carried an airborne battlefield command and control center capsule that provides continuous control of tactical air operations in the forward battle area and behind enemy lines. This capability added yet more strength to the wing's combat capability. The 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron "Bats" are part of the 55th Wing at Offut AFB, Nebraska, but operate out of Davis-Monthan. In addition, the 42d Airborne Command and Control Squadron arrived from Keesler AFB, Mississippi on On July 19, 1994.

On May 1, 1992, senior Air Force leaders implemented the policy of one base, one wing, one boss. The 836 AD and 602 TAIRCW inactivated while the 41 ECS and 43 ECS came under control of the 355th Fighter Wing. With the mission diversified, the 355th was redesignated as the 355th Wing.

Following Operation Desert Storm, the 355th Wing supported Operation Southern Watch during deployments to Al Jaber, Kuwait, in 1997 by deploying 24 A-10s, in 1998 by deploying 16 A-10s, and in 1999 by deploying 14 A-10s—all to ensure compliance of the 33rd parallel southern no-fly zone.

The flight and mysterious crash of Captain Craig D. Button took off from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on April 2, 1997.

21st Century

The attacks on September 11, 2001, led to the initiation of three ongoing missions: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation Noble Eagle (ONE).

After the execution of Operation Enduring Freedom, eight A-10s from the 355th Wing were called to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, to fly close air support missions supporting multinational ground forces.

In September 2002, the 48th, 55th, and the 79th Rescue Squadrons (RQS) transferred under control of the 355th Wing, equipped with HC-130 aircraft and HH-60 helicopters. At the same time, the 41st and 43 Electronic Combat Squadrons were realigned under the control of the 55th Electronic Combat Group (55 ECG). While personnel and aircraft remained on Davis-Monthan AFB operational control of the 55 ECG was assumed by the 55th Wing at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Another major wing realignment occurred on October 1, 2003, with the activation of the 563 Rescue Group on Davis-Monthan AFB. Control of the 48th, 55th, and 79th Rescue Squadrons (RQS) was passed to the new group with the 23d Wing assuming operational command of the unit.

In 2003 and 2005, the 354th Fighter Squadron "Bulldogs" deployed on five-month deployments to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. During these deployments, they provided 24-hour presence to reassure the Afghan population as it struggled with its emergent democracy, and provided key support during national elections. While the 2003 deployment saw limited action, the Bulldogs employed over 22,000 rounds of 30 mm during 130 troops-in-contact situations during the 2005 deployment.

The 354th Fighter Squadron also returned to Afghanistan in April 2007 for a six-month deployment. Again, they provided 24-hour presence and Close Air Support expertise to coalition forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During this period, insurgent activity level was the highest recorded to date in OEF. The Bulldogs employed an unprecedented number of munitions during this deployment—over 150,000 rounds of 30 mm in support of over 400 troops-in-contact situations.

Another major change occurred on April 26, 2007. With only A-10 fighter aircraft assigned, the 355th Wing was redesignated once again as the 355th Fighter Wing. Today, the 355th Fighter Wing is composed of four groups: the 355th Operations Group, the 355th Maintenance Group, the 355th Mission Support Group, and the 355th Medical Group. Together, along with their tenant organizations, they make up the 6,000 Airmen and 1,700 civilian personnel at Davis-Monthan AFB.

In 2007, the 214th Reconnaissance Group was activated.

See also

References

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "http://www.dm.af.mil/ Davis-Monthan Air Force Base".

Notes
Bibliography
  • Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of October 1, 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of October 1, 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of October 1, 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of October 1, 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Mueller, Robert (1989). Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on September 17, 1982. USAF Reference Series, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present

External links



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