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Eglin Air Force Base

Air Force Materiel Command.png
Air Force Materiel Command

Eglinafb-15feb1999.jpg
USGS aerial photo as of February 15, 1999 (1999-02-15).
IATA: VPSICAO: KVPSFAA: VPS
Summary
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Owner United States Air Force
Operator Air Force Materiel Command
Location Valparaiso, Florida
In use 1948 (1948) – Present
Occupants 96th Air Base Wing
Elevation AMSL 87 ft / 27 m
Coordinates 30°29′00″N 086°31′52″W / 30.4833333°N 86.53111°W / 30.4833333; -86.53111
Website www.eglin.af.mil
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
1/19 10,012 3,052 Asphalt
12/30 12,005 3,659 Asphalt/Concrete
Source: official site[1] and FAA[2]
Eglin AFB is located in Florida
Eglin AFB
Location of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
Team Eglin Logo
F-15C of the 33rd Fighter Wing.
Five F-15Cs from the 33rd Fighter Wing of Eglin Air Force Base soar over the mountains ranges of Alaska during an overseas deployment to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
An A-10C Thunderbolt II, piloted by the 40th Flight Test Squadron, flies over what's left of a target that was successfully hit by a Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition drop on the Eglin range.
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft AA-1 performs a touch-and-go maneuver with the Eglin Air Force Base control tower in the background.
A Northrop F-89C landing at Eglin Air Force Base during the 1950s.
An A-10 Thunderbolt fires an AGM-65 Maverick missile over the Eglin range during a Combat Hammer Air-to-Ground Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP) mission, which are conducted by Eglin's 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron (FWS).
An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 40th Flight Test Squadron of Eglin Air Force Base refuels from a KC-10 Extender during Air & Space Power Expo '99.
May 1992 air-to-air view of an F-16 Fighting Falcon equipped with an AGM-84 Harpoon all-weather anti-ship missile over Eglin Air Force Base.
An AC-130A Hercules gunship aircraft performs a pylon turn over Hurlburt Field during a training mission in 1984. The aircraft is from the 919th Special Operations Group at Eglin's Duke Field.
A 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief marshals an F-15 Eagle ready to takeoff for a simulated Operation Noble Eagle tasking during a 33rd Fighter Wing exercise.

Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: VPSICAO: KVPSFAA LID: VPS) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) southwest of Valparaiso, Florida.

The host unit at Eglin is the 96th Air Base Wing (96 ABW) assigned to the Air Force Materiel Command Air Armament Center. The 96 ABW supports the Air Armament Center and other tenant units of the installation with traditional military services as well as all the services of a small city, to include civil engineering, personnel, logistics, communications, computer, medical, security.

Eglin AFB was established in 1935 as the Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base. It is named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Fredrick I. Eglin (1891-1937), who was killed in a crash of his Northrop A-17 pursuit aircraft on a flight from Langley to Maxwell Field, Alabama. The 96th Air Base Wing is commanded by Colonel Bruce H. McClintock. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Thomas S. Westermeyer.

Overview

Eglin is the home of the Air Armament Center (AAC) and is one of three product centers in the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC). Serving as the focal point for all Air Force armaments, the AAC is the center responsible for the development, acquisition, testing, deployment and sustainment of all air-delivered weapons.

The center plans, directs and conducts test and evaluation of U.S. and allied air armament, navigation and guidance systems, and command and control systems and supports the largest single base mobility commitment in the Air Force. AAC accomplishes its mission through three components - the 46th Test Wing, 96th Air Base Wing, and the 308th Armament Systems Wing.

AAC is the focal point for the acquisition of the world's most superior armament products. The center engages in scientific research, system management, production, operational performance, business management, requirements definition, customer and engineering support, technology planning, materiel identification, and field support activities.

Some of the major programs managed by the center include the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile, HARM Targeting System, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Joint Direct Attack Munition, Miniature Air Launched Decoy, Sensor Fuzed Weapon and the Small Diameter Bomb.

Units

The host wing at Eglin is the 96th Air Base Wing (96 ABW) whose mission consists of supporting the Air Armament Center and the myriad of tenant commands and associate units with traditional military services as well as all the services of a small city, to include civil engineering, personnel, logistics, communications, computer, medical, security, and all other host services. Critical to the success of Eglin’s mission, the 96th Air Base Wing provides a large number of base operating support functions.

The residential portion of the base is a census-designated place; its population was 8,082 at the 2000 census. The base covers 463,128 acres (1,874.2 km²).[3]

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Major units

The center plans, directs and conducts test and evaluation of U.S. and allied air armament, navigation and guidance systems, and command and control systems and supports the largest single base mobility commitment in the Air Force. It operates two Air Force installations, providing host support not only to Eglin, but also Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.
AAC accomplishes its mission through four components:
    • Armament Product Directorate (Eglin AFB, FL)
    • 46th Test Wing (Eglin AFB, FL)
    • 96th Air Base Wing (Eglin AFB, FL)
    • 377th Air Base Wing (Kirtland AFB, NM)
The 46 TW is the test and evaluation center for Air Force air-delivered weapons, navigation and guidance systems, Command and Control (C2) systems, and Air Force Special Operations Command systems. The Eglin Gulf Test Range provides approximately 130,000 square miles (340,000 km2) of over water airspace.
The 96 ABW supports the Air Armament Center and other tenant units of the installation with traditional military services as well as all the services of a small city, to include civil engineering, personnel, logistics, communications, computer, medical, security.
(F-15C/D Eagles) Tail Code: "EG"
The 33 FW “Nomads” were the largest tenant combat unit at Eglin, as well as the premier air-to-air combat unit of the Air Combat Command (ACC). With two F-15C/D squadrons and an air control squadron, the wing’s mission was to deploy worldwide and provide air superiority and air control. First established as the 33d Pursuit Group, the wing’s contribution to tactical airpower during its 50-year history has been significant with participation in campaigns around the world, while flying various fighter aircraft. As of October 2009, the 33rd FW transitioned to a training wing for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) under Air Education and Training Command. The final F-15s assigned to the 33rd departed the base in September 2009.
The 53 WG is headquartered at Eglin and serves as the Air Force’s focal point for operational test and evaluation of armament and avionics, aircrew training devices, chemical defense, aerial reconnaissance improvements, electronic warfare systems, and is responsible for the QF-4 Phantom II Full Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) program and subscale drone programs (located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida). The wing tests every fighter, bomber, unmanned aerial vehicle, and associated weapon system in the Air Force inventory. The wing reports to the USAF Air Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, a Direct Reporting Unit (DRU) to Headquarters, Air Combat Command (ACC).
    • 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron (a squadron attached to the 53d Wing but located at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana)
      The squadron plans, executes and reports ACC's weapon system evaluation programs for bombers (B-52, B-1 and B-2) and nuclear-capable fighters (F-15E and F-16). These evaluations include operational effectiveness and suitability, command and control, performance of aircraft hardware and software systems, employment tactics, and accuracy and reliability of associated precision weapons. These weapons include air-launched cruise missiles, standoff missiles, and gravity bombs. Results and conclusions support acquisition decisions and development of war plans. The unit also performs operational testing on new systems and tactics development for the B-52.
A joint U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy organization responsible for cradle-to-grave management of air dominance weapon system programs equipping warfighters with strike weapons to fight and win decisively.

The mission of the 308 ASW is to equip warfighters with strike weapons to fight and win decisively. The wing designs, develops, produces, fields, and sustains a family of air-to-ground munitions, enhancing warfighter capabilities (both U.S. and Allies) in defeating a spectrum of enemy targets.

  • AFRL Munitions Directorate (AFRL/RW)
AFRL/RW develops, demonstrates, and transitions science and technology for air-launched munitions for defeating ground fixed, mobile/relocatable, air and space targets to assure pre-eminence of U.S. air and space forces. The directorate conducts basic research, exploratory development, and advanced development and demonstrations. It also participates in programs focused on technology transfer, dual-use technology and small business development. The directorate is dedicated to providing the Air Force with a strong revolutionary and evolutionary technology base upon which future air-delivered munitions can be developed to neutralize potential threats to the United States.

Other units

The 919 SOW, located about five miles (8 km) south of Crestview and 20 miles (32 km) from Eglin main at Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field #3 (Duke Field) and is the only special operations wing in the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC). In wartime or a contingency, the 919 SOW reports to Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) at Hurlburt Field, Florida, its gaining major command.
The mission of the 20 SCS is to detect, track, identify, and report near earth and deep space objects in earth’s orbit, and provide space object identification data in support of United States Strategic Command’s space control mission. A unit of the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), the men and women of the 20th SCS operate and maintain the AN/FPS-85 radar, the Air Force’s only phased-array radar dedicated to tracking earth-orbiting objects.
Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field #6 (Biancur Field) is the site of Camp James E. Rudder and the home of the U. S. Army’s 6th Ranger Training Battalion. The 6th RTB conducts the final phase of the U.S. Army Ranger Course. The entire course is 61 days long and is divided into three phases. Each phase is conducted at different geographical and environmental locations. Its mission at Eglin is to expose Ranger students to a fast-paced, 18 day field training exercise.
  • Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal
The Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD) is a Navy-managed command, jointly staffed by Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel. NAVSCOLEOD had its official ribbon cutting on the new consolidated training facility in April 1999.
  • The Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team (JFIIT)
This is a subordinate, functional command of U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), tasked with improving the integration, interoperability, and effectiveness of Joint fires.
USJFCOM established JFIIT in February 2005 to provide assistance to Joint force commanders and Service headquarters in planning, coordinating, and executing Joint fires at the tactical level. JFIIT's 120-member team is made up of members from all four Services and Department of Defense (DoD) civilians with contractor support.
  • AFOTEC Det 2
The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center stood up Detachment 2 at Eglin to meet the growing demand to provide realistic operational testing for new and modified weapon systems. Since then, Detachment 2 has partnered with the warfighter and the developmental test community to provide the most thorough and rigorous operational test programs found anywhere in the world.
  • 728th Air Control Squadron
Largest Air Control Squadron in the Air Force.

History

Previous Names

  • Established as Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base, 14 Jun 1935
(spelling changed on 1 Feb 1937 from "Valparaiso" to "Valpariso" and on 1 Mar 1947 back to "Valparaiso")
  • Eglin Field, 4 Aug 1937
  • Eglin Field Military Reservation, 1 Oct 1940
  • Eglin Field, 28 Dec 1944
  • Eglin Air Force Base, 24 Jun 1948-Present

Major Commands to Which Assigned

  • Air Corps Training Center, 9 Jun 1935 - 27 Aug 1940
  • Southeast Air Corps Training Center, 27 Aug 1940 - 1 Apr 1942
  • AAF Proving Ground Command, 1 Apr 1942 - 1 Jun 1945
  • AAF Center, 1 Jun 1945 - 8 Mar 1946
  • AAF Proving Ground Command, 8 Mar 1946 -10 Jul 1946
  • Air Proving Ground Command, 10 Jul 1946 - 20 Jan 1948
  • Air Materiel Command, 20 Jan 1948 - 1 Jun 1948
  • Air Proving Ground, 1 Jun 1948 - 20 Dec 1951
  • Air Proving Ground Command, 20 Dec 1951 - 1 Dec 1957
  • Air Research and Development Command, 1 Dec 1957 - 1 Apr 1961
  • Air Force Systems Command, 1 Apr 1961 - 1 Jul 1992
  • Air Force Materiel Command, 1 Jul 1992–Present

Base Operating Units

  • 84th Service Sq (Det), 14 Jun 1935 - 1 Sep 1936
  • Section V, Eglin Field Section, 13th Air Base Sq, 1 Sep 1936 - 1 Aug 1940
  • Det 13th Air Base Sq, 1 Aug 1940 - 1 Dec 1940
  • 61st Air Base Gp, 1 Dec 1940 - 19 Jun 1942
  • 51st Base HQ and Air Base Sq, 19 Jun 1942 - 1 Apr 1944
  • 610th AAF Base Unit, 1 Apr 1944 - 30 Jun 1947
  • 609th AAF Base Unit, 1 Jul 1947 - 1 Jul 1948
  • 3201st Air Base Gp, 1 Jul 1948 - 31 Mar 1951
  • 3201st Air Base Wg, 31 Mar 1951 - 8 Aug 1951
  • 3201st Air Base Gp, 8 Aug 1951 - 1 Jul 1953
  • 3201st Air Base Wg, 1 Jul 1953 - 16 Sep 1964
  • 3201st Air Base Gp, 16 Sep 1964 - 1 Jun 1992
  • 96th Air Base Wing, 1 Jun 1992–Present

Major Units Assigned

  • AAAF Proving Ground Command, 4 Jan 1942-30 Jun 1946
  • 3201st Air Base Group, 1 Jul 1948-4 Feb 1958
  • Air Proving Ground Command (later Armanent Division and Test Center; Air Armament Center), 1 Jul 1948-Present
  • 3206th Support Wing, 1 Jul 1953-20 Feb 1964
  • 4135th Strategic Wing, 1 Dec 1958-1 Feb 1963
  • USAF Special Air Warfire Center, 27 Apr 1962-1 Jul 1974
  • 39th Bombardment Wing, 1 Feb 1963-25 Feb 1965
  • 33d Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 Apr 1965-Present

Operational History

The 1930s

What became Eglin Air Force Base had its beginnings with the creation in 1933 of the Valparaiso Airport, when an arrowhead-shaped parcel of 137 acres was cleared for use as an airdrome.[4]

In 1931, personnel of the Air Corps Tactical School (Maxwell Field, Alabama) while looking for a bombing and gunnery range, saw the potential of the sparsely populated forested areas surrounding Valparaiso and the vast expanse of the adjacent Gulf of Mexico.

Local businessman and airplane buff James E. Plew saw the potential of a military payroll to boost the local area’s depression-stricken economy. He leased from the City of Valparaiso the 137 acres (0.6 km2) on which an airport was established in 1933, and in 1934, Plew offered the U.S. government a donation of 1,460 acres (6 km2) contiguous for the bombing and gunnery base. This leasehold became the headquarters for the Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base activated on 14 June 1935, under the command of Captain Arnold H. Rich.

Two unpaved runways, with a supply house at their intersection, were in use by 1935. "On 1 March 1935, application was made for an FERA grant to pave the runways and to build an office, a barracks 30 by 120, a mess hall and kitchen, and an oil storage building..."[5]

Eglin Air Force Base was initially established as the U.S. Army Air Corps' Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base on 14 June 1935. On 4 August 1937, the installation was renamed Eglin Field in honor of Lt Col Frederick Irving Eglin (1891–1937). First rated as a military aviator in 1917, Lt Col Eglin helped train other Army flyers during World War I. On 1 Jan 1937, while assigned to General Headquarters, Air Force at Langley Field, VA, Colonel Eglin was killed in the crash of his Northrop A-17 pursuit aircraft on a flight from Langley to Maxwell Field, Alabama.[6]

A ceremony was held in June 1939 for the dedication and unveiling of a plaque honoring Valparaiso, Florida banker and businessman James E. Plew, as founder of Eglin Field. Embedded in the stone gate to the airfield, the plaque read "In memory of James E. Plew, 1862–1938, whose patriotism and generosity made this field possible."[7]

The 1940s

With the outbreak of war in Europe, a proving ground for aircraft armament was established at Eglin. The U.S. Forestry ceded to the War Department the Choctawhatchee National Forest on 18 October 1940. Hunters had to be reminded regularly that the base reservation was now off-limits in 1941–1942 [8] and there was some local resentment at the handover.[9] On 15 May 1941,[9] the Air Corps Proving Ground (later the Proving Ground Command) was activated, and Eglin became the site for gunnery training for Army Air Forces fighter pilots, as well as a major testing center for aircraft, equipment, and tactics. The 23rd Composite Group moved from Orlando to Eglin Field, 1 July 1941. It comprised the 1st Pursuit Squadron, the 54th Bombardment Squadron (M), the 24th Bombardment Squadron (L), the 54th School Squadron, the 61st Air Base Group, and the 3rd Gunnery and Bombing Range Detachment.[10]

On Friday, 16 August 1940, the Okaloosa News-Journal, Crestview, Florida, reported that the Southern Bell Telephone Company was cutting a right-of-way for a line directly across the military reservation to connect the Eglin Field Army headquarters to the company line at Holt, Florida. The newspaper also stated that President Franklin Roosevelt had approved a plan on 14 August for a Works Projects Administration (WPA) expenditure of approximately $64,842 to make additional improvements at Eglin, including grading and surfacing a road to the machine gun range, clearing and grubbing 500 additional acres of landing field, and other work.[11] A Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was erected at Valparaiso, Florida from November 1940 to house 1,000-plus CCC workers engaged in base construction.[12][13]

On 1 October 1940, the installation was renamed the Eglin Field Military Reservation in recognition of its increased importance to the Air Corps and its increasing size, as characterized by the construction of numerous auxiliary airfields in Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa counties, the clearing of areas in the Choctawhatchee Forest for which was begun in January 1941.[14] Clearing and grading for Auxiliary Field No.2 began 9 January, Auxiliary Field No. 3 on 23 January,[15] and $800,000 allocated for the grading and paving of fields 1, 3, 5, and 6 on 24 April 1941.[16] The Okaloosa News-Journal on Friday, 31 January 1941, listed the following construction: 30 enlisted men's barracks, eight day rooms, an enlisted men's mess building, a flying cadets mess building, four officers' quarters, eight supply rooms, eight administration buildings, a hospital, a post exchange, a motor repair shop, a theatre, four warehouses, six operations buildings, a Link trainer building, a parachute building, five magazines, and necessary utilities.[10] The Louisville and Nashville Railroad laid a long sidetrack in Crestview, Florida to handle the number of oil tankcars required to supply the Asphault Products Company with material for the vast paving job of the new airfields. A fleet of trucks were operated round the clock to offload an estimated 180 car loads of petroleum product for the task.[17] There were more than just a few vehicle accidents under the urgent tasking, some fatal.[18] The clearing of Auxiliary Field No. 6 began 7 March 1942.[19] Building construction at Auxiliary Field No. 7 began 14 March 1942.[20]

Appropriations of $202,536 were announced by Congressman Bob Sikes of Crestview in mid-April 1941 for construction and installation of water, sewage, electrical facilities, sidewalks, roads, fences, parking areas, landscaping and for the construction of a sewage disposal plant. Submitted to the WPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. in late March, the request received presidential approval in April. Work continued apace on some projects on a 24 hour a day basis.[21]

A severe housing shortage in the region for the burgeoning base-oriented expansion was partially alleviated by the construction of 100 units of the Plew Heights Defense Housing Project near Valparaiso for civil service employees and enlisted personnel. The Federal Works Agency, Division of Defense Housing, awarded the contract for the task to the Paul A. Miller Construction Company of Leesburg, Florida on 5 May 1941, with construction beginning on 8 May. The 11 November 1941 deadline for completion was beaten by almost a month.[22]

In June 1941, the Officers Club of Eglin Field made arrangements to take over the Valparaiso Inn, Valparaiso, Florida, as the "O Club".[23] Doolittle Raiders would later lodge here during their training at Eglin.

In June 1941, the Army Air Corps became the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) in order to provide the air arm a greater autonomy in which to expand more efficiently, and to provide a structure for the additional command echelons required by a vastly increased force. Although other nations already had separate air forces independent of the army or navy (such as the British Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe), the USAAF remained a part of the United States Army. Following the 7 Dec 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States entry into World War II, Eglin became a major stateside installation in support of the war effort.

Eglin became a major training location for the Doolittle Raid on the Japanese mainland. The 24 crews selected and led by Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle picked up modified North American B-25B Mitchell medium bombers in Minneapolis, Minnesota and flew them to Eglin beginning on 1 March 1942. "9-25 March: Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle and a B-25 detachment of 72 officers and 75 enlisted men from Lexington County Airport, Columbia, South Carolina, were at Eglin Field in rehearsals for the Tokyo raid."[20] There the crews received intensive training for three weeks in simulated carrier deck takeoffs by Naval Aviators from nearby Naval Air Station Pensacola, as well as low-level and night flying, low altitude bombing, and over water navigation. Lt Col Doolittle stated in his after action report that an operational level of training was reached despite several days when flying was not possible due to rain and fog. One aircraft was heavily damaged in a takeoff accident at Eglin and another aircraft was taken off the mission because of a nose wheel shimmy that could not be repaired in time.[24]

On 25 March, the remaining 22 B-25s departed Eglin for McClellan Field, California, arriving on 27 March for final modifications at the Sacramento Air Depot. A total of 16 B-25s were subsequently flown to Naval Air Station Alameda, California on 31 March for embarkation aboard USS Hornet (CV 8).[24] When now-promoted-to-General Doolittle toured the growing base in July 1942 with C.O. Grandison Gardner, the press made no mention of his recent training at Eglin.

A captured Japanese A6M2 Zero, c/n 3372, originally coded 'V-172', of the 22nd Air Flotilla Fighter Unit, found after a forced-landing on a beach at Leichou Pantao, China, on 26 November 1941, and transported to the U.S., was test-flown at Eglin during mid-war.[25]

In March 1942, the base served as one of the sites for Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle to prepare his B-25 crews for their raid against Tokyo. A number of auxiliary fields were constructed on the Eglin reservation at this time, many of which are still in service in various roles, either in support of flight operations or special test activities.

On 12 July 1943, Eglin suffered its worst loss of life when 17 personnel were killed in an explosives test at ~1700 hrs. Wartime censorship and the fact that 15 of the 17 were airmen of the African-American-staffed 867th Aviation Engineering Battalion contributed to the accident receiving virtually no publicity. The identities of the dead, including the two white officers supervising, were never released, and only one small newspaper article was published mentioning the incident. The Okaloosa News-Journal, Crestview, Florida, reported that the base "Public Relations office, who made the announcement, stated that the names of the men would not be released until the next of kin had been notified. Bodies of two officers were brought to McLaughlin Funeral Home in Crestview while those of the colored victims were taken to a parlor in Pensacola. No announcement has been made as to how the accident occurred [sic]."[26] A documentary, the "Eglin 17", debuted at the 2009 African American Heritage Month luncheon at the Eglin Air Force Base Officer's Club on 18 February 2009, providing the story of the forgotten accident. "The cause and circumstances surrounding the incident remain 'clouded in mystery,' according to the documentary," although Lt. Col. Allen Howser (Ret.), featured in the documentary, recalled that it was part of an exercise to test fire a newly acquired explosive.[27]

At its wartime peak, the base employed more than 1,000 officers, 10,000 enlisted personnel and 4,000 civilians.[28]

"In January 1944, Eglin became an important contributor to 'Operation Crossbow,' which called for the destruction of German missile launching facilities. Thousands worked around the clock for 12 days to construct a duplicate German V-1 facility. Subsequent bombing runs against this copycat facility taught Army Air Forces tacticians which attack angles and weapons would prove most effective against the German launchers."[29] The first JB-2 launch at Eglin took place in October 1944.

The sole Northrop JB-1A Bat, unofficially known as the "Thunderbug" due to the improvised General Electric B-1 turbojets' "peculiar squeal", a jet-propelled flying wing spanning 28 feet, 4 inches to carry 2,000 lb. bombs in pods close to the engines, made its first powered, but unmanned, flight from Santa Rosa Island on 7 December 1944, launching from a pair of rails laid across the sand dunes. Makeshift B-1 turbojets do not live up to expectation, so JB-1s are completed with pulsejet power as JB-10s. [30]

On 28 Dec 1944, Eglin reverted to its original name of Eglin Field as part of a new standardization practice by the USAAF. With the creation of a separate United States Air Force in 1947, Eglin Field continued to retain its name until 24 Jun 1948, when it was renamed to its current designation as Eglin Air Force Base.

At the time of the design of the super-heavy intercontinental Convair B-36 Peacemaker bomber in the mid-1940s, Eglin Field had one of only three runways in the world capable of withstanding the landing gear footprint of the original 110-inch single tire main gear design of the fully-loaded bomber (concrete at least 22 inches thick). The B-36 would undergo a redesign for a four-wheel main gear bogie with 56-inch tires to reduce this operational constraint and allow B-36s to operate from runways able to support B-29 Superfortresses. (The other two runways were at the Convair plant at Fort Worth, Texas, and at Fairfield-Suisun Field, California.)[31]

After the war, Eglin became a pioneer in developing the techniques for missile launching and handling; and the development of drone or pilotless aircraft beginning with the Republic-Ford JB-2 Loon, an American copy of the V-1. The 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Group was activated at Eglin Field, Florida on 6 February 1946. Pursuant to an order from the War Department, dated 25 January 1946, the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces Center at Eglin Field was directed to activate the Headquarters, 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Group, the 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Squadron and the 1st Experimental Air Service Squadron. The total authorized strength for the three organizations was 130 officers, one warrant officer and 714 enlisted men. Eglin's commander was directed to supply manpower for the units from his own resources, but, given the recent postwar demobilization, his ability to do so was extremely limited. Operations were conducted out of Auxiliary Field 3 (Duke Field).[32] On 13 January 1947, a successful drone flight from Eglin to Washington, D.C. was conducted utilizing a QB-17 Flying Fortress. A QB-17G, 44-85648, was utilized in a ditching test program at Eglin in 1948 when it was landed in the water by radio control. Ironically, although nine of the approximately 43 surviving intact B-17s in the world were assigned to the 3200th and 3205th Drone Groups at Eglin, the example displayed at the Armament Museum is not one one of them, having been a former U.S. Navy PB-1W patrol model.[33]

Between mid-1946 and January 1947, the Army Air Force evaluated two of the three Boeing XF8B Navy fighter prototypes at Eglin as a potential fighter-bomber, but nothing came of the idea, it being found to be inferior in the rôle to the P-47 Thunderbolt already in service.[34]

January 1948 was the first month without an aviation accident since the base was founded. Total flying hours for the month were 3,725, "an usually high number for the Proving Ground," said Lt. Gerald E. Gibson, aircraft safety officer for the base.[35] A six-month fatality-free period came to an end on 9 April 1948 when a pilot was killed in a P-51 crash N of Crestview, Florida.[36]

The first production B-36A-1-CF Peacemaker heavy bomber, 44-92004, c/n 1, officially accepted by the USAF in May 1948, was delivered on 18 June 1948 to the Air Proving Ground Command to undergo extensive testing.[37]

A C-97 Stratocruiser was assigned at Eglin for tests from 1948 onward and made two flights to Alaska and two trans-Atlantic crossings to the British Isles by July 1950.[38]

On 7 November 1948, the second prototype of the Republic XR-12 Rainbow reconnaissance design, 44-91003, crashed at 1300 hrs. while returning to Eglin from a photographic suitability test flight. Unable to maintain control after the number 2 (port inner) engine exploded, the pilot ordered the crew to bail out. Five of the seven crew escaped safely and were rescued by Eglin crash boats and helicopters. Airframe impacted two miles south of the base, in the Choctawhatchee Bay.[39] Although further testing of the first prototype was conducted (at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland), no production was ordered.

The sole remaining Hughes XR-11 reconnaissance aircraft prototype, 44-70156, arrived at Eglin in December 1948 to undergo operational suitability testing [40] but a production contract for 98 was cancelled.

The 1950s

A U.S. Air Force F-100C jet takes off from Eglin Air Force Base.
USAF Northrop F-89B sits on the tarmac at Eglin Air Force Base.

The Main Base public address system, known as the "giant voice", first conceived in 1946 and installed by the communications maintenance division of the Mobile, Alabama Air Material Area, went into operation in February 1950 with preliminary testing completed by February 15. "The new PA system, situated in the Johnson Hall information booth, resembles an instrument panel from some Buck Roger's [sic] space ship. Two record turn tables are available for the transmission of transcribed bugle calls, and appropriate music. A telephone extension running to the commanding general's office will enable him to make special addresses to Eglin personnal [sic]. The third method of transmitting announcements and emergency bulletins is the microphone connection to the control console. Four amplifier speakers are located in clusters at each of the seven sites. Designed to saturate the area, the speakers are installed at the radio base maintenance shop, guided missiles headquarters, headquarters air proving ground, the motor pool area, the maintenance and supply area, the boat squadron area, in the Plew Heights housing area, and a direct connection to the station hospital's public address system." [41]

By March 1950, the 550th Guided Missiles Wing, comprising the 1st and 2nd Guided Missile Squadrons, had replaced the 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Group. The 2nd Guided Missile Squadron, SSM, had 62 pilots manning 14 B-17s, three B-29s, and four F-80 Shooting Stars, yellow-tailed drone aircraft used in the role of testing guided missiles. In 1949, the 2nd GMS tallied 3,052 flight hours without mishap and secured the green and white pennant denoting safety supremacy for USAF B-17 type aircraft for the fourth straight time, gaining permanent possession of the three-starred flag. The 550th GMW played a prominent part in the spring of 1949 in the aerial filming of "Twelve O' Clock High", filmed in part at Eglin AFB. The 2nd GMS flew B-29s in Operation Banshee before switching to B-17s. Seven Flying Fortresses were joined by another seven in November 1948, bringing the squadron complement up to 14 mother and drone Forts.[42]

A large hump-backed steel hangar, the "Butler Hangar", 160 feet X 130 feet, transported from Trinidad, was erected at Auxiliary Field 3 between 1 April and ~10 July, 1950, by personnel of Company 'C', 806th Aviation Engineering Battalion, under Capt. Samuel M. Cable, and the men of the 550th Guided Missiles Wing. Project Officer was Capt. Clarence A. Ebbert of the Proving Ground Command Installations Division. An additional four feet of roof clearance was added to accommodate B-17s in the 21,000 square foot structure. Concrete block buildings, 160 feet X 40 feet, were erected on the flanks of the hangar. Concurrently, the 8,000 foot runway was widened to 100 feet and additional parking ramps were constructed, with 117,327 cubic yards of dirt excavated. The new ramps and runway expansion consisted of asphalt over a crushed shell base.[43]

In 1950, the Air Force Armament Center was established at Eglin. After the start of the Korean War, test teams moved to the combat theater for testing in actual combat. In 1957, the Air Force combined the Air Proving Ground Command and the Air Force Armament Center to form the Air Proving Ground Center. In 1968, the Air Proving Ground Center was redesignated the Armament Development and Test Center to centralize responsibility for research, development, test and evaluation, and initial acquisition of nonnuclear munitions for the Air Force.

The T-28A Trojan arrived at Eglin in mid-June 1950 for suitability tests as an advanced trainer by the 3200th Fighter Test Squadron, with consideration given to its transition, instrument, and gunnery capabilities.[44]

The Fledgling's Roost nursery opened on base on 30 June 1950, staffed by a practical or registered nurse and volunteers, and offered military and civilian families assigned to the Air Proving Ground space for up to 80-90 children, 8 a.m. to midnight, and 3 a.m. on special occasions. The establishment of this project was supported by base commander Col. M. C. Woodbury and the various wives clubs on base.[45]

A 40-lot trailer court opened on base at Postal Point in early July 1950. Proposed in April by Col. M. C. Woodbury, deputy commander of the Air Proving Ground, Col. E. W. Moore, deputy of material, and Lt. L. F. Strain, of budget and fiscal, site preparation was delayed until June by planning for the visit to Eglin by President Harry S Truman on 22 April.[46]

The XB-46 concluded its test program at Eglin Air Force Base, arriving from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, on its last flight, in July 1950. Its pneumatic landing gear and brake system was tested under the coldest conditions in the large climatic facility there. Most aircraft used hydraulic or electrical systems. When this concluded in November 1950, the Air Force no longer had need for it, a fact acknowledged in the press as early as August,[47] and on 13 January 1951 the nose section was sent to the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The rest of the airframe was scrapped 28 February 1952.[48]

Assault transport evaluations were done in the second half of August 1950, involving a modified Fairchild C-82 Packet, the Chase C-122 and C-123 Avitrucs, the Northrop C-125A Raider, and two gliders, the Chase XG-18A and Chase XG-20.[49] Tests included short-field approaches over 50-foot obstructions, and operational abilities over rough, unprepared fields and roads with simulated full loads. Initial landing tests were conducted at the municipal airport at Crestview, Florida. " 'The assault transport airplane was developed as a replacement for the glider to be used as the vehicle for delivering ground force troops and equipment into an airhead assault area,' asserted Capt. H. A. Lyon, Eglin project officer. 'We are primarily interested in which airplane does this job best, and determining if the assault transport can match the landing performance of the glider under the worst conditions of rough terrain operation.' " [50]

The first B-36D Peacemakers accepted by the Air Force, in August 1950, were sent to Eglin AFB for testing.[51]

In January 1951, control of the armament test center, located at Eglin, was transferred from Air Material Command headquarters at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and assigned to the Air Proving Ground. The APG also reassumed control of the 320_ (?) Chemical and Ordnance Test Group which had squadrons at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, and the Army chemical center at Edgewood, Maryland.[52]

In 1951–1952, some of the non-combat-capable B-47A Stratojets (delivered without operational equipment) were assigned to the Air Proving Ground Command, two of which were utilized to test the A-2 and A-5 fire-control systems.[53]

Building 100 on the flightline is named the Audette Airborne Systems Building. A dedication plaque at the front entrance reads: "In memory of Lieutenant Colonel Leo R. Audette, United States Air Force - in recognition of his contribution in the development of airborne electronics systems - who on 25 August 1952, while a member of this command, gave his life while participating in operations which advanced the development of these systems."

The first two production B-61A Matador missiles arrived at Eglin in September 1953, under the control of the 6555th Guided Missile Squadron, for climatic testing, although instrumentation and pre-test check-outs kept the actual cold-weather tests from beginning until November. [54]

North American F-100A-10-NA Super Sabre, 53-1538, arrived at Eglin on 15 August 1954 to undergo cold-weather testing in the Climatic Hangar under the auspices of the Wright Air Development Center. The Air Force Operational Test Center of the Air Proving Ground Command at Eglin expected to receive six F-100s soon for operational suitability testing. [55]

Contracts for constructing a new 12,000 foot runway, 32/14, were awarded in late November 1955 to R. B. Tyler and Hyde Construction Co. of Jackson, Mississippi, whose $3,191,577 bid was the lowest received for the project, said Col. Walter W. Woodard, deputy chief of staff for material for the Air Proving Ground Command. The new runway will connect with the existing north-south runway at its south end, and head northwest from that point. The new runway will be 300 feet wide, with a parallel taxiway, 12,000 feet X 150 feet. One thousand feet of the new runway at each end will be constructed of 12 inch thick cement concrete, with the remainder and taxiways of asphaltic concrete. The intermediate area's surface depth will be total four inches combined of asphaltic concrete binder and surface materials. Underlying will be a sub-base of oyster shells seven to eight inches deep, with a 79-foot strip in the center of the runway further reinforced by an additional four-inch deep stabilized sub-base. Emergency overruns of 150 feet will be at the ends of the new facility. The contract includes clearing and grubbing of 877 acres of reservation as well as relocation of a section of the base railroad main line and the ammunition area spur. Some parking aprons and connecting taxiways are also part of the project, which will be supervised for the Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by Resident Engineer James K. Glennon. [56]

The Air Munitions Development Laboratory was reassigned from the Wright Air Development Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, to the Air Force Armament Center at Eglin by Headquarters Air Research and Development Command in December 1955. The responsibility for development of guns, bombs, rockets, fuses, guided missile warheads and other related equipment in the armament field was transferred from the Dayton, Ohio facility at this time. Work on nuclear weapons was not included in this mission. [57]

The week of 1 April 1957 a Lockheed C-130 Hercules from the Air Force Operational Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base became the first turbo-prop aircraft to carry U.S. mail across the Atlantic. The C-130 was on its way to Evreux, France, where it was to be put through another phase of Employment and Suitability Testing by AFOTC. Stopping at Dover, Delaware, on the first leg of the Atlantic crossing, the Hercules took on 4,800 pounds of mail for servicemen overseas.[58]

After ten years of service, primarily for electronic testing, the first B-50A-1-BO Superfortress, 46-002, reclassified as an EB-50A in March 1949, and then as a JB-50A in January 1956 for testing of special instrumentation, concluded its career by verifying a stellar monitoring inertial bombing system and was then salvaged at Eglin on 12 July 1957.[59]

The Low Altitude Bombing System (LABS), or toss bombing, tactic was first made public in May 1957 at Eglin AFB, when a B–47 Stratojet entered its bombing run at low altitude, pulled up sharply (3.5 g) into a half loop, releasing its bomb under computer control at a predetermined point in its climb, then executed a half roll, completing a maneuver similar to an Immelmann turn or Half Cuban Eight. The bomb continued upward for some time in a high arc before falling on a target which was a considerable distance from its point of release. In the meantime, the maneuver had allowed the bomber to change direction and distance itself from the target.[60]

On 1 December 1958, the 4135th Strategic Wing of the Second Air Force, Strategic Air Command, flying the B-52 Stratofortress and KC-135 Stratotanker, was assigned to Eglin as part of SAC's dispersal program. The wing was reassigned to the Eighth Air Force, 822nd Air Division on 1 January 1959.

From the late 1940s through the mid 1960s, Eglin played host to annual Fire Power Demonstrations on its extensive test ranges. President Harry S Truman attended one such event on 22 May 1950,[61] as did President John F. Kennedy on 4 May 1962.

The first operational Strategic Air Command GAM-77 Hound Dog A missile, 59-2794, arrived at Eglin AFB in December 1959 to equip the 4135th Strategic Wing, operating B-52G Stratofortresses out of the base.[62]

Base railroad

One of the U.S. Army ALCO RSD-1 locomotives originally assigned to Eglin Air Force Base, now preserved at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

Col. George P. Kendrick, chief of installations of the Air Proving command, announced on Thursday, 11 August 1949, that negotiations were underway between the U .S. Air Force and the chief of the U. S. engineers relative to salvaging railroad materials at Camp Claiborne and Camp Polk, Louisiana, the Playground News, Fort Walton, Florida, reported on 18 August 1949. Kendrick stated that Third Army headquarters had indicated that the 44th Engineers Construction battalion, now in training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, would do the work on moving the railroad materials to the new location. Although no official date had been set, an unofficial report gave 15 November as an approximate arrival date for the engineer battalion.[63]

The Eglin Air Force Base railroad was first constructed from an interchange with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad at Mossy Head, Florida down to the main base complex, with spurs to Auxiliary Fields 1 and 2, the ammunition dump, and other parts of the military reservation, with a total of 45 miles (72 km) of track. It was constructed with materials salvaged from the Claiborne and Polk Railroad, a 43-mile line between the two camps, abandoned in 1945. The line, nicknamed the "B & F" (for back and forth), began operation in late 1951 as part of the transportation division, Air Proving Ground Command, and utilised three ALCO RSD-1 military diesel-electric locomotives. Its first yard manager was Shelby White.[64]

Part of the base main track and spur to the ammunition dump were realigned in 1956 with the construction of the 12,000-foot long runway 32/14.

Initial construction of a railroad line into the region had been discussed as early as 1927 as part of the Choctawhatchee and Northern Railroad, though military-use proposals didn't come forward until 1941. German POWs were used in clearing and grading the alignment during World War II. The line was later abandoned in the late 1970s and the southern end, west of State Road 285, pulled up by the mid 1980s. Much of the tracks remain in place from the former L&N (now CSX) interchange to just south of Bob Sikes Road, about 11 miles (18 km) long. Building 538, formerly the two-track, four-engine capacity engine house, serves as the vehicle maintenance corrosion control shop in 2009. Two of its four oversize doors have been walled closed. The (by then) four RSD-1 diesels were donated to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.[65] One authoritative source on Florida railroad history has reported that steam was operated on the neophyte base railroad, but no local accounts support this.

The 1960s

The first GAM-77 Hound Dog missile assigned to the Strategic Air Command was carried aloft for the first time on Friday, 29 January 1960,[66] aboard a B-52G-75-BW Stratofortress, 57-6472, c/n 464177, of 4135th Strategic Wing, commanded by Capt. Jay L. McDonald. The strategic missile was carried on the port underwing pylon during the flight that lasted more than four hours.[62] An operational test of the GAM-77 Hound Dog first took place over the Eglin water range on 31 March 1960 when a B-52G of the 4135th SW launched the missile from a point near Tampa, Florida, which then flew several hundred miles NW to hit a target in the Gulf of Mexico off the northwest Florida coast. This test followed a series of successful flights over the Atlantic Missile Range at Cape Canaveral as well as on the test ranges of Eglin.[67]

On 8 June 1960, the first SAC launch of an ADM-20 Quail decoy was made by a B-52G of the 4135th Strategic Wing, operating out of Eglin.[68]

The USAF Special Air Warfare Center was activated 27 April 1962.[69] Minnesota Honeywell Corporation conducted flight tests on an inertia guidance sub-system for the later-cancelled X-20 Dyna-Soar project at the base utilizing an NF-101B Voodoo, completed in 1963.[70] QB-47E Stratojets[71] and QF-104A Starfighters[72] were operated by the 3205th Drone Director Group through the late 1960s (QB-47s) in support of such programs as the testing of the IM-99 Bomarc interceptor missile, and into the 1970s (QF-104s). Three SC-54 Rescuemasters and an HU-16 Albatross of the 48th Rescue Squadron deployed from Eglin to Grand Turk Island with a contingent of some 40 squadron personnel supporting four pararescuemen who jumped from SC-54s to recover four camera cassettes, and sight and mark a fifth, from the launch of Apollo mission SA-5 with launch vehicle AS-105 at 1625 hrs. GMT, 29 January 1964, the first launch of a live second stage. Two other Eglin-based HU-16s were flown to Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, for alert missions during this launch.[73]

With the increasing U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia in the 1960s, the need for increased emphasis on conventional weapons development made Eglin's mission even more important. On 1 August 1968, the Air Proving Ground Center was redesignated the Armament Development and Test Center to centralize responsibility for research, development, test and evaluation, and initial acquisition of non-nuclear munitions for the Air Force. On 1 October 1979, the Center was given division status. The Armament Division, redesignated Munitions Systems Division on 15 March 1989, placed into production the precision-guided munitions for the laser, television, and infrared guided bombs; two anti-armor weapon systems; and an improved hard target weapon, the GBU-28, used in Operation Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War. The Division was also responsible for developing the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), an Air Force-led joint project with the U.S. Navy.

Much testing was done on developing Paveway laser-guided bombs at Eglin from the late 1960s into the 1970s.

The 1970s & 1980s

Specially-selected raiders for Operation Ivory Coast, the attempted POW rescue from Son Tay prison in North Vietnam, were extensively trained and rehearsed at Eglin Air Force Base, while planning and intelligence gathering continued from 25 May to 20 November 1970. The mission failed when it was found during the raid that all the prisoners had been previously moved to another camp.[74][75]

The Air Force Armament Museum was founded on base in 1975.

In 1975, the installation served as one of four main U.S. Vietnamese Refugee Processing Centers, where base personnel housed and processed more than 10,000 Southeast Asian refugees. Eglin again became an Air Force refugee resettlement center processing over 10,000 Cubans who fled to the U.S. between April and May 1980.

Flight-testing of modified C-130 Hercules for Operation Credible Sport were conducted at Eglin and Auxiliary Field 3 (Duke Field) in 1980.

The 1990s

Eglin Air Force Base tested the first flight of a GPS guided weapon on 10 February 1993.

The USAF test facilities at Eglin were heavily involved in the F-15 AUP (Avionics Upgrade Program) for the Israeli Air Force that integrated the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) in the mid-1990s.[76]

During a 1992 reorganization, the Air Force disestablished Eglin's parent major command, Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) and merged its functions with the former Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC). The newly created major command from this merger, Air Force Material Command (AFMC), remains Eglin's parent command to this day. The Development Test Center, Eglin's host unit, became part of AFMC on 30 June 1992.[77]

In 1998, as part of the Air Forces' strategic plan to guide the service into the 21st century, the Air Force Development Test Center became the Air Force Materiel Command's Air Armament Center (AAC), responsible for development, acquisition, testing, and fielding all air-delivered weapons.

The 2000s – present day

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb prototype is shown an instant before impact on Range 70, 11 March 2003. The detonation created a mushroom cloud that could be seen 20 miles away.

The 'Massive Ordnance Air Blast' or 'Mother of All Bombs' (MOAB) was first tested at Eglin AFB on March 11, 2003 (2003-03-11). The X-43A-LS low-speed demonstrator underwent testing out of Auxiliary Field 6 in November 2003.[78]

As of 2009, the original World War II–era base theatre still exists, and is used for a briefing space.

A move is afoot in 2009 to get the base hangar in which the modifications and maintenance of the Doolittle Raiders B-25s was performed, declared a national historic site. This work was performed by personnel from Wagner Field, Aux. Fld 1.

The Air Force Armament Museum is located on the south side of Eglin main base after originally opening in 1975 in a converted World War II–era base gymnasium near the Valparaiso gate. When the gymnasium/museum structure was razed, it was replaced by a new facility housing the Eglin Training Center.

With the departure of the 33rd Fighter Wing F-15 Eagles and the transfer of mission to AETC in the fall of 2009, Air Combat Command Gate (formerly Tactical Air Command Gate) on State 85 has been renamed Northwest Gate.

In February 2009 it was announced that Eglin would become the home base to 59 F-35B fighters, divided into one squadron each for the USAF, USN, and USMC. The first aircraft would arrive in March 2010, and deliveries would continue until 2014.[79] In an ironic turn from the past, given how closely the founding of the base is tied to the history and businesses of Valparaiso, Florida, the Valparaiso Commission voted, 3-0, on Wednesday 18 February 2009 to sue the Air Force over the Record of Decision on 6 February to bring the F-35 training operations to Eglin. Citing concerns over noise levels of the new jet, the city has until 5 April to file suit in federal court, sixty days from the military's announcement. The city had previously filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to gain more information on the potential impact of the JSF operations on the community, located under certain potential flight paths. The Air Force has received five bids for the $100 million in military construction money in preparation for arrival of the F-35 since the 6 February announcement, with at least four more bids in the works. "Military construction is expected to bring nearly $700 million to the area," reported the Northwest Florida Daily News on 19 February, but this may be jeopardized by the actions of Valparaiso city officials.[80] Other communities in the region view the Valparaiso actions with disdain, and billboards have been erected in the Fort Walton Beach area supporting the F-35 decision. The Valparaiso mayor, Bruce Arnold, called the special meeting when he knew that the two city commissioners in favor of the F-35 basing decision would be unavailable - one out of town at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, on business, and the other attending to his regular job.[81]

Demographics

Eglin employs more than 8,500 military and approximately 4,500 civilians, with an additional 2,200 jobs due to move to Eglin under the 2005 BRAC.

As of the census[82] of 2000, there were 8,082 people, 2,302 households, and 2,262 families residing on the base. The population density was 2,640.1 people per square mile (1,019.8/km²). There were 2,320 housing units at an average density of 757.9/sq mi (292.7/km²). The racial makeup of the base was 71.79% White, 14.82% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 2.96% Asian, 0.38% Pacific Islander, 4.23% from other races, and 5.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.19% of the population.

There were 2,302 households out of which 79.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 89.8% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 1.7% were non-families. 1.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 0.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.50 and the average family size was 3.51.

On the base the population was spread out with 43.5% under the age of 18, 15.2% from 18 to 24, 39.6% from 25 to 44, 1.6% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 100.6 males.

The median income for a household on the base was $31,951, and the median income for a family was $31,859. Males had a median income of $25,409 versus $19,176 for females. The per capita income for the base was $10,670. About 4.5% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under the age of 18 and none of those 65 and older.

National historic status

There are two U.S. National Historic Landmark Districts with connections to the base: Camp Pinchot and Eglin Field.

Notable residents

Eglin AFB in pop culture

  • Three movies have been filmed in part at Eglin Air Force Base or its outlying auxiliary airfields, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo in 1944, Twelve O' Clock High in 1949, and On the Threshold of Space in 1955.
  • Several Tom Clancy novels refer to "raking the sand traps on the officers' golf course" at Eglin as a common activity for low-security prisoners at the associated Eglin Federal Prison Camp, now closed.

Climate

Warm, subtropical weather lasts almost nine months out of the year. The annual precipitation ranges from 25 inches (640 mm) to 60 inches (1,500 mm). Year-round, the average temperatures run:

Jan - Mar: 60-69 High and 42-51 Low
Apr - Jun: 76-88 High and 58-72 Low
Jul - Sep: 86-89 High and 70-77 Low
Oct - Dec: 63-79 High and 44-69 Low

The area gets only 50 to 60 days of annual precipitation or more rainfall. There are few days without sunshine, which allows year-round outdoor activities.

Environment

The forests and shores of Eglin Air Force Base are at the center of one of the most biodiverse locations in North America. Over 50 species threatened in Florida are found on the base, including sea turtles that nest on its white-sand beaches and red-cockaded woodpeckers that thrive in its longleaf pine forests. The base has a natural resources management team that constantly monitors important species within the base with the goal of balancing their national defense mission with environmental stewardship.[83] Longleaf pine forest, a forest type reduced to 5% of its former range in the last few centuries, covers 200,000 acres (810 km2) of the base. Part of this forest, 6,795 acres (27.50 km2), is old growth, making the base home to one of the most extensive old-growth longleaf pine forests in the world.[84]

Civil rocketry

Eglin Air Force Base is also a launch site for civil rockets of NASA. There are three launch pads: one at 29.6700 N, 85.3700 W at Cape San Blas; and two on Santa Rosa Island at 30.3800 N, 86.7400 W and 30.3800 N, 86.8170 W. Rockets launched here have included Arcas, Nike Cajun, Nike Apaches, and Nike Iroquois.[85] This site was formerly operated by the 4751st ADS with CIM-10 Bomarcs, inactivated in 1973. In the 1940s, captured V-1 flying bombs and American copies, Republic-Ford JB-2 LOONs, were launched out over the Gulf of Mexico from these sites. A rusting Loon launch ramp still exists at Auxiliary Field 1, Wagner Field.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Eglin Air Force Base, official site
  2. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for VPS (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-12-20
  3. ^ "Organization Facilities" (). Airman the Book (United States Air Force) L (1). Winter 2006. http://www.af.mil/news/airman/0106/facilities06.shtml. 
  4. ^ Angell, Joseph W., "History of the Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command - Part One - Historical Outline 1933–1944", The Historical Branch, Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida, 1944, reprint by Office of History, Munitions Systems Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, 1989, page 46D.
  5. ^ Angell, Joseph W., "History of the Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command - Part One - Historical Outline 1933–1944", The Historical Branch, Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida, 1944, reprint by Office of History, Munitions Systems Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, 1989, page 47.
  6. ^ Angell, Joseph W., "History of the Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command - Part One - Historical Outline 1933–1944", The Historical Branch, Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida, 1944, reprint by Office of History, Munitions Systems Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, 1989, page 7.
  7. ^ Crestview, Florida, "James E. Plew Called Founder Of Eglin Proving Grounds", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 31 October 1941, Volume 27, Number 42, page 8.
  8. ^ Crestview, Florida, Okaloosa News-Journal, various issues
  9. ^ a b Hutchinson, Leonard Patrick, "History of the Playground Area of Northwest Florida", Great Outdoors Publishing Co., St. Petersburg, Florida, 1st ed., 1961, no Library of Congress card number, no ISBN, page 81.
  10. ^ a b Crestview, Florida, "Houses Scarce At Eglin - Many Men To Be Stationed There When Quarters Ready", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 31 January 1941, Volume 27, Number 4, page 1.
  11. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Eglin Gets $64,842.00 Project - Work Will Start When Present Job Is Completed", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 16 August 1940, Volume 26, Number 32, page 1.
  12. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Eglin To Have A CCC Camp - Youth Will Clear Land For Air Corps Proving Grounds", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 30 August 1940, page 1.
  13. ^ Crestview, Florida, "1,000 Men Now Work At Eglin - More WPA Laborers Now Being Put To Work This Week", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 22 November 1940, Volume 26, Number 46, page 1.
  14. ^ Angell, Joseph W., "History of the Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command - Part One - Historical Outline 1933–1944", The Historical Branch, Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida, 1944, reprint by Office of History, Munitions Systems Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, 1989, page 28.
  15. ^ Angell, Joseph W., "History of the Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command - Part One - Historical Outline 1933–1944", The Historical Branch, Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida, 1944, reprint by Office of History, Munitions Systems Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, 1989, page 29.
  16. ^ Angell, Joseph W., "History of the Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command - Part One - Historical Outline 1933–1944", The Historical Branch, Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida, 1944, reprint by Office of History, Munitions Systems Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, 1989, page 33.
  17. ^ Crestview, Florida, Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 23 May 1941, Volume 27, Number 20, page 1.
  18. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Worker At Eglin Is Killed When Truck Frame Breaks Up", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday, 6 June 1941, Volume 27, Number 22, page 1.
  19. ^ Angell, Joseph W., "History of the Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command - Part One - Historical Outline 1933–1944", The Historical Branch, Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida, 1944, reprint by Office of History, Munitions Systems Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, 1989, page 55.
  20. ^ a b Angell, Joseph W., "History of the Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command - Part One - Historical Outline 1933–1944", The Historical Branch, Army Air Forces Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Florida, 1944, reprint by Office of History, Munitions Systems Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, 1989, page 56.
  21. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Sets Up $202,536 For Eglin - To Install Water, Sewage and Light Facilities at Base", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday, 18 April 1941, Volumne 27, Number 15, page 1.
  22. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Housing Project Complete", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 31 October 1941, Volume 27, Number 42, page 1.
  23. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Officers Take Over Valparaiso Inn", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday, 6 June 1941, Volume 27, Number 22, page 1.
  24. ^ a b http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doolittle_Raid
  25. ^ http://www.j-aircraft.com/research/WarPrizes.htm
  26. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Explosion Takes Lives of 17 Men at Eglin Field", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday, 16 July 1943, Volume 30, Number 22,page 1.
  27. ^ Hernandez, Kelli, "'The Eglin 17'", Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday 19 February 2009, Volume 63, Number 20, pages A1, A7.
  28. ^ Hutchinson, Leonard Patrick, "History of the Playground Area of Northwest Florida", Great Outdoors Publishing Co., St. Petersburg, Florida, 1st ed., 1961, no Library of Congress card number, no ISBN, page 84.
  29. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/eglin.htm
  30. ^ Yenne, William, "Secret Weapons of World War II: The Techno-Military Breakthroughs That Changed History", Berkley Books, New York, August 2003, ISBN 0-425-18992-9, pages 82-83.
  31. ^ Jenkins, Dennis R., "Magnesium Overcast: The Story of the Convair B-36", Specialty Press, North Branch, Minnesota, 2001–2002, Library of Congress card number 2001049195, ISBN 978-1-58007-129-1, pages 14–15.
  32. ^ http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/6555th/6555c1-1.htm
  33. ^ Thompson, Scott A., "Final Cut - The Post-War B-17 Flying Fortress: The Survivors", Revised Edition, Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Missoula, Montana,2000, ISBN 1-57510-077-0.
  34. ^ Dorr, Robert F., "An Industry of Prototypes - Boeing XF8B - Boeing's last fighter", Wings of Fame, Volume 8, AIRtime Publishing Inc., Westport, Connecticut, 1997, ISBN 1-880588-23-4, pages 98–99.
  35. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "January Free Of Accidents At Eglin Field", Playground News, Thursday 26 February 1948, Volume 3, Number 4, page 1.
  36. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Captain Robbins Killed When P-51 Crashes in Woods", Playground News, Thursday 15 April 1948, Volume 3, Number 11, page 1.
  37. ^ Knaack, Marcelle Size, Post-World War II Bombers, 1945–1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1988, ISBN 0-16-002260-6, page 21.
  38. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Globe Trotting C-97 Back After Junket to Europe", Playground News, Thursday 6 July 1950, Volume 5, Number 23, page 3.
  39. ^ "Seven Airmen Dead in Eglin Plane Crashes". Playground Daily News, Fort Walton, Florida, 11 November 1948, Volume 3, Number 41, p. 1.
  40. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "New Ship At Eglin", Playground News, Thursday 30 December 1948, Volume 3, Number 48, page 1.
  41. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Base-Wide Public Address System Is Reality at Eglin", Playground News, Thursday, 16 February 1950, Volume 5, Number 3, page 3.
  42. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Guided Missile Squadron Captures Safety Supremacy", Playground News, Thursday, 30 March 1950, Volume 5, Number 9, page 19.
  43. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Hangar Being Built at Eglin - Metal Monster From Trinidad", Playground News, Thursday 6 July 1950, Volume 5, Number 23, page 2.
  44. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "T-28 Trainer Now at Eglin - Is Latest Word In Instructional Craft", Playground News, Thursday 22 June 1950, Volume 5, Number 21, page 10.
  45. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "New Fledgling Roost Nursery Opened at Eglin", Playground News, Thursday 22 June 1950, Volume 5, Number 21, page 8.
  46. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Trailer Court To Be Opened At Eglin AFB - 53 Tenants Ready For 40 Lots In That Area", Playground News, Tursday 29 June 1950, Volume 5, Number 22, page 3.
  47. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "XB-46 Bomber to Undergo Tests in Climatic Hangar", Playground News, Thursday 3 August 1950, Volume 5, Number 27, page 3.
  48. ^ Knaack, Marcelle Size, Post-World War II Bombers, 1945–1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1988, ISBN 0-16-002260-6, page 526.
  49. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Assault Transport Tests Staged at Eglin Field", Playground News, Thursday 7 September 1950, Volume 5, Number 32, page 1
  50. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Race for Superiority: Giant Transports to Get Eglin Suitability Tests", Playground News, Thursday 17 August 1950, Volume 5, Number 29, page 9.
  51. ^ Knaack, Marcelle Size, Post-World War II Bombers, 1945–1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1988, ISBN 0-16-002260-6, page 32.
  52. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Locate Armament Center at Eglin - Move Headquarters From Base in Ohio", Playground News, Thursday 11 January 1951, Volume 5, Number 50, page 1.
  53. ^ Knaack, Marcelle Size, Post-World War II Bombers, 1945–1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1988, ISBN 0-16-002260-6, page 110.
  54. ^ Connors, S.Sgt. J. J., "Guided Missiles: Eglin Tests Matadors In Hangar", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 12 November 1953, Volume 8, Number 42, page 1.
  55. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "F-100 Now At Eglin For Test", Playground News, 19 August 1954, Volume 9, Number 57, page 1.
  56. ^ Special, "At Eglin: Material in New Runway Would Pave 53-Mile Road", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday, December 1, 1953, Volume 9, Number 95, page 15.
  57. ^ Special, "From Dayton, Ohio - Munitions Lab Is Transferred to Eglin AFAC", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday, 15 December 1955, Volume 9, Number 97, page 1.
  58. ^ "C-130 Turbo-Prop Aircraft Takes Service Mail Abroad." Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 11 April 1957: page 2.
  59. ^ Knaack, Marcelle Size, Post-World War II Bombers, 1945–1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1988, ISBN 0-16-002260-6, page 166.
  60. ^ Knaack, Marcelle Size, Post-World War II Bombers, 1945–1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1988, ISBN 0-16-002260-6, page 138.
  61. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "1,200 Observers - Truman to See Fire-Power Demonstrated at Eglin", Thursday 13 April 1950, Volume 5, Number 11, page 1.
  62. ^ a b Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "SAC 'Hound Dog' Missile Goes Aloft on Big Bomber", Playground News, Thursday, 4 February 1960, Volume 15, Number 2, page 11.
  63. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Eglin Railroad Spur Planned As Salvage", Playground News, Thursday 18 August 1949, Volume 4, Number 29, page 1.
  64. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Eglin Keeps 'Em Rolling, Too, On Rails", Playground News, Thursday December 11, 1952 (1952-12-11), Volume 7, Number 45, page 1.
  65. ^ "Railroad Picture Archives Image: Eglin AFB". http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1209630.  A June 1978 image of an ALCO RSD-1 locomotive at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
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  67. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "'Hound Dog' Missile Makes First Flight Over Range", Playground News, Thursday, 7 April 1960, Volume 15, Number "10" (actually No. 11), page 5.
  68. ^ Knaack, Marcelle Size, Post-World War II Bombers, 1945–1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1988, ISBN 0-16-002260-6, page 275.
  69. ^ Mueller, Robert, "Air Force Bases Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982", United States Air Force Historical Research Center, Office of Air Force History, Washington, D.C., 1989, ISBN 0-912799-53-6, page 136.
  70. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Fiery Crash of Drone Plane Kills Two, Injures One – Four Firemen Overcome In Wake Of Blaze", Playground Daily News, Tuesday, 20 August 1963, Volume 16, Number 271, page 1.
  71. ^ Lloyd, Alwyn T., "Boeing's B-47 Stratojet", Specialty Press, North Branch, Minnesota, 2005, ISBN 978-1-58007-071-3, pages 199–201.
  72. ^ http://www.i-f-s.nl/QF104A.html
  73. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Eglin Air Rescue Men Recover Saturn Cassettes", Playground Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Monday Morning, 3 February 1964, Volume 17, Number 258.
  74. ^ Schemmer, Benjamin F., The Raid, Harper & Row, Publishers, ISBN 0-553-75625-7 (1976), p. 36 and p. 153.
  75. ^ Hall, George, Superbase 17 - Eglin, Osprey Publishing Limited, London, UK, 1990, ISBN 0-85045-988-5, page 6.
  76. ^ Davies, Steve, and Dildy, Doug, "F-15 Eagle Engaged - The World's Most Successful Jet Fighter", Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84603-169-4, page 149.
  77. ^ Wenzel, Tracy, Daily News Staff Writer, "Eglin host unit is reorganized", Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Wednesday 1 July 1992, Volume 47, Number 146, page 1B.
  78. ^ http://researchernews.larc.nasa.gov/archives/2003/120503/X43A.html
  79. ^ http://www.deagel.com/news/US-Air-Force-Navy-and-Marine-Corps-to-Get-59-F-35-Jets-to-Be-Based-at-Eglin-AFB_n000005662.aspx
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  81. ^ Moore, Mona, "Val-P to sue the Air Force", Northwest Florida Daily News, Thursday, 19 February 2009, Volume 63, Number 20, page A7.
  82. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  83. ^ Tech. Sgt. Mark Kinkade (August 2004). "Eglin's Other World". Airman Magazine of America's Airforce. http://www.af.mil/news/airman/0804/eglin.shtml. Retrieved 2 Feb 2009. 
  84. ^ Mary Byrd Davis (23 January 2008). "Old Growth in the East: A Survey. Florida". http://www.primalnature.org/ogeast/fl.pdf. 
  85. ^ "Eglin". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Mark Wade. http://www.astronautix.com/sites/eglin.htm. 

References

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

  •  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Eglin Air Force Base".
  • 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
  •  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Airman magazine online, Organization facilities list".
  • Martin, Patrick, Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings, 1994
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present
  • Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
  • Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC

External links


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