Hurlburt Field: Wikis

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Coordinates: 30°25′40″N 086°41′22″W / 30.42778°N 86.68944°W / 30.42778; -86.68944

Hurlburt Field

Air Force Special Operations Command.png
Home of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)

Hurlburt Field FL - 15feb1999.jpg
Hurlburt Field, 15 February 1999
Map of Florida highlighting Hurlburt Field.svg
red dot indicates location of Hurlburt Field
IATA: noneICAO: KHRTFAA: HRT
Summary
Airport type Military
Operator United States Air Force
Serves Eglin Air Force Base
Location Mary Esther, Florida
Commander Col Brad Webb
Occupants 1st Special Operations Wing
Elevation AMSL 38 ft / 12 m
Website www.hurlburt.af.mil
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18/36 9,600 2,926 Concrete
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]
Main Gate (about 1967)
Air Commandos in training
First Lieutenant Donald Wilson Hurlburt
U.S. Air Force MSgt Tanya Breed demonstrates a Barrett .50 caliber rifle during a special operations training course at Hurlburt Field.

Hurlburt Field (ICAO: KHRTFAA LID: HRT) is a U.S. Air Force installation located in Okaloosa County, Florida, immediately west of the Town of Mary Esther. It is part of the greater Eglin Air Force Base reservation, and is home to Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the 1st Special Operations Wing (1 SOW), the USAF Special Operations School (USAFSOS) and the Air Combat Command's (ACC) 505th Command and Control Wing. It was named for First Lieutenant Donald Wilson Hurlburt, who died in a crash at Eglin. The installation is nearly 6,700 acres (27 km2), and employs nearly 8,000 military personnel.

Although most U.S. airports use the same three-letter location identifier for the FAA and IATA, Hurlburt Field is assigned HRT by the FAA but has no designation from the IATA (which assigned HRT to RAF Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire, England).[2][3]

Contents

History

Hurlburt began as a small training field for the much larger Eglin Field. It was initially designated Eglin Auxiliary Field No. 9, and later as Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field 9/Hurlburt Field, before being administratively separated from the rest of the Eglin AFB complex in the 1950s. However, once separated, the facility retained its history and kept all building numbers the same; i.e., all start with a "9". The installation was named by then-Eglin base commander Brigadier General Grandison Gardner for First Lieutenant Donald Wilson Hurlburt (1919-1943), who was killed in an aircraft crash at the main base, then known as Eglin Field, in 1943.

The facility had previously been named the Eglin-Hurlburt Airdrome until 1943; Hurlburt Field, March 1944; Eglin Auxiliary Field #9, October 1944; with the current name official on 13 January 1948. The base commander of Eglin Main was also responsible for Hurlburt, 1942-1946, but when the base reactivated on 1 February 1955, it gained a separate commander.

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Donald Wilson Hurlburt

After flying combat missions from Great Britain and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Lieutenant Hurlburt was assigned in mid-1943 to the First Proving Ground Electronics Test Unit at Eglin Field. He died on either 1 October 1943,[4] or 2 October 1943[5] when his Lockheed AT-18 Hudson gunnery trainer crashed during take-off at Eglin. An official history of Eglin AFB's early years book cites the 2 October 1943 date for this accident, and also notes that Capt. Barclay H. Dillon, test pilot of the Fighter Section of the 1st Proving Ground Group, died in another accident the same date. Auxiliary Field No. 10 was later named Eglin Dillon Airdrome.[6] Hurlburt's nephew was Captain Craig D. Button (noted for his mysterious flight and crash of an A-10 Thunderbolt on 2 April 1997).

Doolittle Raiders

Under the tutelage of Naval Aviators from nearby NAS Pensacola in 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and his Raiders practiced taking off with their B-25 Mitchell bombers on a short runway using the short cross-field runway near the southern end of Hurlburt Field's main runway. This complex is now named the Doolittle Runway. It should be noted that other Eglin fields, including Wagner Field/Eglin Auxiliary Field #1, and Duke Field/Eglin Auxiliary Field #3, were also used during this training.

For the 2008 gathering of Doolittle mission survivors, six crew were present for recognition in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, culminating in a reenactment of the training sessions by three civilian-owned B-25 Mitchells at Duke Field on 31 May. Navy personnel from NAS Pensacola, as flight deck "shirt" crew, represented that service's contribution to the Tokyo mission. Thought had been given to using Wagner Field for the ceremonies, but investigation showed the taxiways at the disused field were in better shape than the runways.

Drones and missiles

Gulf-facing launch sites for drones (cruise missiles, in modern parlance) beginning with Republic-Ford JB-2 Loons, American copies of the V-1 "buzz bombs", were operated on Santa Rosa Island, from Site A-15, directly south of Field 9 from the fall of 1944 in anticipation of operations against Japan from captured Pacific island bases. The atomic missions put paid to this operation. This launch site is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 4751st Air Defense Squadron (15 January 1958 - 30 November 1979) operated IM-99/CIM-10 Bomarcs and CGM-13/TGM-13 Mace missiles from this site. On 18 August 1960, a Bomarc missile from the Santa Rosa launch facility made a direct hit on its target, a QB-47E drone of the 3205th Drone Director Group, marking the first shoot-down of a multi-jet medium bomber by a surface-to-air missile.[7] On 5 January 1967 an international incident was narrowly avoided when a TGM-13 Mace, launched from Santa Rosa Island, which was supposed to circle over the Gulf for shoot-down by a pair of Eglin F-4 Phantoms, instead, headed south for Cuba. A third F-4 overtook the drone, firing two test AAMs with no effect, and damaged it with cannonfire, but the unarmed Mace actually overflew the western tip of Cuba before crashing in open water some 100 miles (160 km) further south.[8] [9] The final Mace launches from Hurlburt Site A-15 took place in June 1974. [10] Other launches in the 1960s included six high-altitude releases of vaporized barium from 2-stage Nike Iroquois sounding rockets in January 1967 to measure wind speeds and directions in the upper atmosphere, conducted under the auspices of the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory (AFCRL) in conjunction with the Space Systems Branch of the Aircraft and Missile Test Division, Air Proving Ground Center, Eglin AFB. [11]

Special Operations

Hurlburt Field fell into disrepair following World War II, but was reactivated in 1955. On 14 April 1961 the Air Force Tactical Air Command (TAC) activated the 4400th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Hurlburt, to fly operations against guerrillas, either as an overt Air Force operation or in an undefined covert capacity. Known by its nickname "Jungle Jim", the unit was commanded by Colonel Benjamin H. King. The squadron was authorised 16 C-47s, eight B-26s and eight T-28 Trojans, plus the same number of aircraft in temporary storage. The T-28s were armed with .50 calibre mg, 2.75-in. rockets and a small quantity of bombs. These specialists flew missions in Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America and other places throughout the world. In early 1962, plans for the never executed Operation Northwoods called for decoy aircraft to land at this base.

From the 1960s into the early 1970s, the base hosted a wide variety of aircraft types, including A-1E Skyraiders, AC-119G Shadow and AC-119K Stinger gunships, AC-47 Spooky gunships, AC-130A Spectre gunships, B-26K Counter-Invaders (including those deployed to the Congo), UC-123Ks with underwing jet pods, OV-10A Forward Air Control Broncos, Cessna O-2A Skymaster FAC and O-2B PSYOPS aircraft, and other long-serving C-47s in various support roles. Following the conclusion of the war in Southeast Asia, most reciprocating engine types were retired by the USAF.

In the early 1960s, Hurlburt was utilized as a Strategic Air Command dispersal base for B-47s of the 306th Bomb Wing at MacDill AFB, Florida.

Most facilities were located west of the runway, including hangars, through the 1980s. With the growth and importance of special operation capabilities, Lockheed AC-130 Spectre/Spooky gunship and MC-130 Combat Talon/Combat Spear operations have remained on the western flight line, while additional hangars and ramps have been constructed northeast of the intersection of the main runway and the Doolittle runway. These newer facilities are home to CV-22 Osprey operations, and the recently retired MH-53J Pave Low III and MH-53M Pave Low IV helicopter. The Air Force Special Operations Command continues to fly sensitive operations missions from Hurlburt Field worldwide.

The USAF Special Operations School (USAFSOS) trains US Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and US government civilian personnel in a variety of courses. Among the most popular courses are the Dynamics of International Terrorism, and the Middle East Orientation Course.

The Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) is also located at Hurlburt Field. JSOU's lecturers include specialists from all branches of the US military, the US Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency, civilian universities, and nongovernmental organizations. USAF Major Warren A. Speller was an integral part of this idea to promote frank discussion, JSOU follows a policy of non-attribution of comments by faculty, staff and students.

Facilities

Hurlburt Field has one concrete paved runway (18/36) measuring 9,600 x 150 ft (2,926 x 46 m).[1]

Although an Air Commando Air Park was established at the field in the 1970s to honor the history of the Air Commandos, security in the post 9-11 era means that it is off-limits to non-military personnel. Visitors must be sponsored onto the installation.

Hurlburt Field in pop culture

See also

References

  1. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for HRT (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-10-25
  2. ^ Great Circle Mapper: KHRT - Mary Esther, Florida (Hurlburt Field)
  3. ^ Great Circle Mapper: HRT / EGXU - Harrogate, Yorkshire, England (Linton-on-Ouse)
  4. ^ Hurlburt Field-Library-Biographies-FIRST LIEUTENANT DONALD HURLBURTAir Force supplied date of 01 October 1943 1st Lt Hurlburt death
  5. ^ U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet-EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE HISTORYAir Force supplied date of 02 October 1943 1st Lt Hurlburt death
  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 AFB, Florida, reprint by Office of History, Munitions Systems Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, circa 1990, page 105.
  7. ^ Eglin Air Force Base - Fact Sheet (Printable) : HISTORICAL EGLIN EVENTS IN AUGUST
  8. ^ Washington, D.C.: Washington Daily News, "Made a MACE of It: Jet Failed to Down Errant Missile", January 5, 1967.
  9. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida: Playground Daily News, United Press International,"Air Force Hunts Missing Missile Which Fell, They Know Not Where", Thursday, 5 January 1967, Volume 20, Number 267, page 1.
  10. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida: Playground Daily News, Air Force Resumes MACE Tests, Thursday, 30 May 1974.
  11. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida: Playground Daily News, "Vapor Cloud Expected From Tests", Thursday, 12 January 1967, Volume 20, Number 272, page 1.

External links


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