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Francis E. Warren Air Force Base

Air Force Global Strike Command.png
Air Force Global Strike Command

Warren AFB WY - 23 Jun 1994.jpg
USGS aerial photo, 23 June 1994
IATA: FEWICAO: KFEWFAA: FEW
Summary
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Owner United States Air Force
Operator Air Force Global Strike Command
Location Cheyenne, Wyoming
Built 1867
In use 1867 – present
Occupants 90th Missile Wing
Elevation AMSL 6,160 ft / 1,878 m
Coordinates 41°07′59″N 104°52′01″W / 41.13306°N 104.86694°W / 41.13306; -104.86694
Website www.warren.af.mil
Helipads
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 30 9 Concrete
Sources: official web site[1] and FAA[2]
F. E. Warren AFB is located in Wyoming
F. E. Warren AFB
Location of F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming
A UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) helicopter used by the 90th Security Forces Group.
Former U.S. Army residence of General John J. Pershing at Warren AFB
Minuteman-III (LGM-30G) test launch, 2004

Francis E. Warren Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: FEWICAO: KFEWFAA LID: FEW) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) west of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The host unit at Warren is the 90th Missile Wing (90 MW) assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command Twentieth Air Force. The 90 MW operates the LGM-30 Minuteman ICBM, with launch facilities in Southeast Wyoming, Western Nebraska, and Northern Colorado.

Warren AFB was established by the United States Army in 1867. Originally named in honor of Civil War Brigadier General David A. Russell, the facility came under USAF control on 1 June 1947. Its current name is in honor of Wyoming's first United States Senator, Francis Enroy Warren (1844–1929). Senator Warren was awarded the Medal of Honor at age 19 during the Civil War. It is the oldest continuously active military installation within the Air Force. The 90th Missile Wing is commanded by Colonel Gregory S. Tims.

Overview

F. E. Warren Air Force Base operates Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles as part of the United States strategic defense. Nearly 4,000 military personnel and 600 civilians operate and maintain the base which covers 5,866 acres at the main base near Cheyenne, Wyoming, and 220 remote missile facilities spread over 12,600 square miles in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado. Francis E. Warren AFB near Cheyenne Wyoming is one of four strategic missile bases in the United States.

The history of the base dates back to the Railroad Act of 1862, when President Lincoln and Congress set plans for the transcontinental railroad, including a military installation on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in the Wyoming Territory, to protect Union Pacific workers from hostile Indians. From these pioneer origins, the base has evolved from a noteworthy frontier infantry and cavalry post into the largest, most modern strategic missile facility in the United States.

Units

Warren Air Force Base is home to the 90th Missile Wing, which was activated July 1, 1963, with the original designation of the 90th Strategic Missile Wing. Warren became the nation's first operational ICBM base with the introduction of the Atlas missile in 1958.

The 90th Missile Wing employs approximately 3,361 military members and 964 civilian employees. Family members of assigned military members add another approximately 5,445 to the local population. Also, some 5,000 military retirees reside in the area.

90 MW components consist of:

  • 90th Maintenance Group
  • 90th Medical Group
  • 90th Mission Support Group
  • 90th Security Forces Group
  • 90th Operations Group

Other tenant units at Warren are:

  • 153rd Command and Control Squadron (Wyoming Air National Guard)
Provides a mobile, survivable and endurable command, control, communications, computers and intelligence capability to the commander of the United States Northern Command.
Has dual responsibilities to Air Force Global Strike Command and United States Strategic Command. As the missile Numbered Air Force for AFGSC, 20th Air Force is responsible for maintaining and operating the Air Force's ICBM force. Designated as STRATCOM's Task Force 214, 20th Air Force provides on-alert, combat ready ICBMs to the president.
  • Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 80
  • Wyoming Wing Headquarters of the Civil Air Patrol
  • Area Defense Counsel

History

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Previous Names

  • Established as Fort Francis E. Warren, 1 Jan 1930 (United States Army)
Came under USAAF control, 31 May 1947
  • Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, 7 Oct 1949-Present

Major Commands to Which Assigned

  • Air Training Command, 31 May 1947
  • Strategic Air Command, 1 Feb 1958
  • Air Combat Command, 1 Jun 1992
  • Air Force Space Command, 1 Jul 1993
  • Air Force Global Strike Command, 7 Aug 2009-Present

Base operating units

  • 463d AF Base Unit, 1 Jun 1947
  • 3450th Air Base Gp, 26 Aug 1948
  • 389th Air Base Gp, 1 Feb 1958 (rdsgd 389th Combat Support Gp, 1 Jan 1959)
  • 809th Combat Support Gp, 1 Jul 1963
  • 90th Combat Support Gp (redesignated 90th Mission Support Group), 1 Aug 1972-Present

Major units assigned

  • USAF Aviation Engineering School, 1 Jun 1947-1 May 1959
  • 3450th Technical Training Wing, 26 Aug 1948-1 Feb 1958
  • 706th Strategic Missile Wing, 23 Feb 1958-1 Jul 1961
  • 13th Bombardment Wing, 1 Jul 1959-2 Jul 1966
  • 389th Strategic Missile Wing, 26 Apr 1961-25 Mar 1965
  • 90th Strategic Missle Wing, 1 Jul 1963-Present
  • 809th Combat Support Group, 21 Feb 1963-31 Jul 1972
  • 4th Strategic Missile Division, 30 Jun 1971-23 Aug 1988

Operational History

Fort D.A. Russell was established on the branch of the South Platte River, three miles west of what is today Cheyenne, in 1867. Originally named in honor of Civil War Brigadier General David A. Russell, F. E. Warren Air Force Base is the oldest continuously active military installation within the Air Force. It is home to the 90th Missile Wing and Headquarters, 20th Air Force, of Air Force Global Strike Command.

Fort Russell

When President Lincoln and Congress set plans for the transcontinental railroad, they recognized the need for a military installation to protect Union Pacific workers from hostile Indians. On July 4, 1867, the railroad established its mountain region headquarters at Crow Creek Crossing, later known as Cheyenne. A few weeks later, the U.S. Cavalry moved from temporary headquarters in Cheyenne to a point three miles west and established Fort D. A. Russell. Thus, 1867 was the beginning of a city and a fort, and both have grown together over the years.

Detachments of the 30th Cavalry formed the first garrison, under the command of Colonel John D. Stevenson. For a brief time the troops lived in tents, but during the winter of 1867-68 they moved into wood-frame quarters. The dwellings were set in the shape of a diamond, instead of a rectangle, to protect against harsh winter winds that howled across the then treeless high plains. The diamond opened to the east and measured 800 by 1,040 feet. The entrance to the original fort was at a point next to the present day Chapel 1.

The first troops stationed here lived the rough frontier life, which meant coping with the rigors of the weather in winter and with Indians in spring and summer.

In 1876, troops from Fort Russell participated in the Great Sioux Indian Wars, the same in which Lieutenant Colonel Custer's forces were defeated.

Fort Russell was made a permanent post in 1884 because of its strategic location. In 1885, the War Department ordered the post be rebuilt to serve eight infantry companies. The Army built 27 red brick buildings for $100,000 to replace the older wood frame structures, and planted thousands of trees. The last expansion of the base took place in the early 20th century when large barracks along Randall Avenue were constructed. Many of the early brick buildings were stables that housed nearly 20,000 horses and mules. From 1885 to 1930, more than 220 brick buildings were erected; most of them remain in use today.

The base maintains the historic exterior of each building with appropriate interior modifications for today's living and working environment.

Buffalo Soldier Monument at F. E. Warren Air Force Base

In 1866, Congress formed four black regiments: the 9th and 10th Cavalry and 24th and 25th Infantry. The 25th Infantry was the only unit that didn't serve at Fort D. A. Russell. Black soldiers were called "Buffalo Soldiers," a title originating from Native Americans who likened the soldiers to the spiritual buffalo.

In 1898, the Spanish-American War brought renewed importance to the post. Soon after President McKinley sent a message to Congress, the 8th Infantry left Fort D. A. Russell for Cuba. Later, the Wyoming National Guard mustered into service at the post and departed for duty in the Philippines. In the battle for Manila, the Guard was the first battalion to reach the walls of the city and to raise the flag.

In 1901, troops from Fort Russell again went to the Philippines to help put down an insurrection and bring peace to the Pacific. They returned with a Queen Mary Tudor cannon forged in 1557 and the Bells of Balangiga. The seven-foot cannon, the only one of its kind in America, and the bells, which had been used by insurrectionists as a signal to launch an ambush on American troops, are on display near the base flagpole.

In 1906, Secretary of War William Howard Taft recommended Fort Russell expand to a brigade-size post. By 1910, the construction of red brick quarters, two-story barracks, offices and stables had tripled the area of the post. During this era, artillery units were assigned there, and the facility increased in size to accommodate troop training with the latest 20th century weapons.

From 1913 to 1916, during the Mexican Revolution, post artillery units were stationed along the border to prevent the struggle from coming onto American soil. During World War I, the post served as a mobilization point and training facility for field artillery and cavalry groups. As World War I began, Fort Russell had become one of the largest military posts in the United States.

What stands as quarters #2 today was, in 1885, the post commander's home. By tradition, the post commander always occupied the largest house on post. Hence, the commander moved into quarters #8 when it was built in 1903. Quarters #2 was then assigned to the family of Captain John "Black Jack" Pershing, who later led American forces in Europe during World War I. Captain Pershing married U.S. Senator Francis E. Warren's daughter, but she preferred staying with her father when her husband was on campaign. Due to the influence of Senator Warren, Captain Pershing was promoted to general within six months of his marriage. Pershing was promoted to General of the Armies, a position shared by only one other man, General George Washington.

Fort Warren

In 1927, the last cavalry units left the installation, ending 60 years of cavalry history at Fort Warren. In 1930, President Hoover issued a proclamation changing the name of the post to Fort Francis E. Warren, honoring Wyoming's territorial governor and first state governor. Warren was a U.S. Senator for 37 years. He received the Medal of Honor when he was 19 for heroism during the Civil War.

Other well-known figures stationed here include General Billy Mitchell (the "Father of the Air Force"), General Mark Clark (World War II (General in Europe), General Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. (first black general), Dr. Walter Reed and singer Sammy Davis, Jr.. Entertainers Neil Diamond and Chris LeDoux grew up at this installation.

During World War II, Fort Warren was the training center for up to 20,000 of the Quartermaster Corps. More than 280 wooden buildings were constructed without insulation and interior walls to temporarily house the increased number of troops. In the harsh Wyoming winter, waking up in these barracks often meant shaking snow from one's blanket before heading for the just-as-cold communal showers. A prisoner of war camp was also constructed at that time.

Air Force Base

Recreation Room, Launch Control Support building, Warren Air Force Base near Raymer, Colorado

Even though this installation became an Air Force base in 1947, the only conventional airfield ever located at F. E. Warren AFB was a single dirt strip. This field, never used by modern day pilots, was made famous by World War I ace Captain Eddie Rickenbacker who crashed his plane on the field and survived. The airfield was used in 1919 by the "Western Flying Circus," then led by then-Major Carl "Tooey" Spaatz (later promoted to general and the first Air Force Chief of Staff). However, the base does maintain an active heliport which is primarily utilized by Air Force UH-1N Twin Huey helicopters of the 37th Helicopter Squadron to ferry missile launch crews and maintenance personnel to various launch control centers and missile silos surrounding the base.

F. E. Warren AFB was initially used as a training facility. In 1958, the 4320th Strategic Missile Wing was established with responsibility for 24 Atlas missile sites under Strategic Air Command. Although not the first designated missile wing, Warren became the first fully operational missile wing in the command. On September 2, 1960, the 564th Strategic Missile Squadron was declared the first fully operational Intercontinental Ballistic Missile squadron.

Only two years later, the new Minuteman replaced the Atlas, and on July 1, 1963, the 90th Strategic Missile Wing was activated. During the early 1970s, the SAC ICBM Force Modernization Program began replacing Minuteman I with Minuteman III missiles. In November 1973, the 400th Strategic Missile Squadron marked the transition by becoming the first all Minuteman III squadron at Warren. The 90th Strategic Missile Wing was selected to base the Peacekeeper missiles in 1975. Warren was home to 50 Peacekeeper missiles from 1986 to 2005, when deactivation of the missiles and the 400th Missile Squadron was completed. Warren missile fields currently maintain 150 Minuteman III missiles, split evenly between the 319th, 320th, and 321st Missile Squadrons.

During a period of Air Force reorganization in the early 1990s, Warren transitioned from the deactivating SAC to newly-established Air Combat Command, and finally, on July 1, 1993 to the Air Force Space Command. This realignment was designed to take advantage of the similarities between missile launch and space launch operations. The 90th Strategic Missile Wing was also renamed the 90th Missile Wing. The wing became the 90th Space Wing on October 1, 1997.

The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure commission (BRAC) did not recommend making any significant change to the base's current operations. [3]

On July 1, 2008, the 90th Space Wing was redesignated the 90th Missile Wing, per the order of outgoing Air Force Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley as a way of refocusing the unit on the nuclear surety mission after the 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the base has a total area of 5.0 square miles (13.1 km²), of which, 5.0 square miles (12.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it is water. The total area is 0.79% water.

Demographics

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 4,440 people, 639 households, and 631 families residing on the base. The population density was 888.3 people per square mile (342.9/km²). There were 735 housing units at an average density of 147.0/sq mi (56.8/km²). The racial makeup of the base was 79.62% White, 9.39% African American, 0.50% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.34% Pacific Islander, 4.39% from other races, and 3.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.76% of the population.

There were 639 households out of which 82.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 92.2% were married couples living together, 4.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 1.1% were non-families. 1.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 3.59 and the average family size was 3.58.

On the base the population was spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 26.7% from 18 to 24, 48.4% from 25 to 44, and 1.8% from 45 to 64. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 201.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 259.4 males.

The median income for a household on the base was $32,589, and the median income for a family was $32,946. Males had a median income of $25,247 versus $20,819 for females. The per capita income for the base was $18,426. About 2.2% of families and 2.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under the age of 18.

References

Further reading

 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 "F.E. Warren 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

External links


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