MacDill Air Force Base: Wikis


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MacDill Air Force Base

Air Mobility Command.png
Air Mobility Command

MacDill Air Force Base - 30dec1988.jpg
30 December 1988
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Owner United States Air Force
Operator Air Mobility Command
Location Tampa, Florida
Built 1941
In use 1941-Present
Occupants 6th Air Mobility Wing
Elevation AMSL 14 ft / 4 m
Coordinates 27°50′58″N 082°31′16″W / 27.84944°N 82.52111°W / 27.84944; -82.52111
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4/22 11,421 3,481 Asphalt
Sources: official site[1] and FAA[2]
MacDill AFB is located in Florida
MacDill AFB
Location of MacDill Air Force Base, Florida
Main Gate Entrance before updates
Hedge at MacDill AFB
An F-15E from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC receives fuel from a 91st Air Refueling Squadron KC-135R.
MacDill Air Force Base Emblem showing a KC-135 Stratotanker of the 6th Air Mobility Wing with the Tampa Skyline and Gasparilla ship in the background. From MacDill AFB press kit.

MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: MCFICAO: KMCFFAA LID: MCF) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) south-southwest of Tampa, Florida.

The host unit at MacDill AFB is the 6th Air Mobility Wing (6 AMW), assigned to the Air Mobility Command's 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force. The 6 AMW provides day-to-day mission support to more than 3,000 personnel along with more than 50 Mission Partners, including the United States Central Command and United States Special Operations Command. It is a force capable of rapidly projecting air refueling power anywhere in the world.

MacDill AFB was established in 1939 as Southeast Air Base, Tampa. It is named in honor of Colonel Leslie MacDill (1889-1938). A World War I aviator, Colonel MacDill was killed in a crash of his North American BC-1 at Anacosta, D.C. on 8 November 1938. The 6th Air Mobility Wing is commanded by Colonel Lawrence M. Martin, Jr. The Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Derrick D. Crowley.


The "host wing" for MacDill AFB is the 6th Air Mobility Wing (6 AMW) of the Air Mobility Command (AMC), part of AMC's Eighteenth Air Force (18 AF).

The 6 AMW is a 3,000-person force capable of rapidly projecting air refueling power anywhere in the world. They are organized into four groups, in addition to the wing commander's immediate staff, in order to carry out their mission to be America's premier mobility team providing world-class air refueling, responsive airlift and airbase support to Headquarters U.S. Central Command, Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command and 51 other mission partners that all call MacDill home.

The 6 AMW also has a collocated "Associate" wing at MacDill, the 927th Air Refueling Wing (927 ARW) of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC). The 6 AMW and the 927 ARW operate and share the same assigned KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.


The 6 AMW consists of:

  • 6th Maintenance Group (6 MXG)
    • 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (6 AMXS)
    • 6th Maintenance Squadron (6 MXS)
    • 6th Maintenance Operations Squadron (6 MOS)
  • 6th Medical Group (6 MDG)
    • 6th Aerospace Medicine Squadron (6 AMDS)
    • 6th Dental Squadron (6 DS)
    • 6th Medical Operations Squadron (6 MDOS)
    • 6th Medical Support Squadron (6 MDSS)
  • 6th Mission Support Group (6 MSG)
    • 6th Civil Engineering Squadron (6 CES)
    • 6th Contracting Squadron (6 CONS)
    • 6th Communications Squadron (6 CS)
    • 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron (6 LRS)
    • 6th Mission Support Squadron (6 MSS)
    • 6th Security Forces Squadron (6 SFS)
    • 6th Services Squadron (6 SVS)
  • 6th Operations Group (6 OG)

The 927 ARW consists of:

  • 927th Maintenance Group (927 MXG)
    • 927th Maintenance Squadron (927 MXS)
    • 927th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (927 AMXS)
    • 927th Maintenance Operations Flight (927 MOF)
  • 927th Mission Support Group (927 MSG)
    • 927th Logistics Readiness Squadron (927 LRS)
    • 927th Security Forces Squadron (927 SFS)
    • 927th Mission Support Flight (927 MSF)
    • 927th Services Flight (927 SVF)
  • Squadrons subordinate to the 6th Medical Group (6 MDG)
    • 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron (927 AMSS)
    • 927th Aerospace Medicine Flight (927 AMF)
  • 927th Operations Group (927 OG)
    • 63d Air Refueling Squadron (63 ARS)
      Operates the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker. The KC-135R is a long-range tanker aircraft capable of refueling a variety of other aircraft in mid-air, anywhere in the world and under any weather condition.
    • 927th Operations Support Flight (927 OSF)

The 927 ARW is commanded by Colonel Kenneth D. Lewis, Jr., USAF.

Other major tenant units at MacDill are:

  • Headquarters, United States Central Command (USCENTCOM)
  • Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
  • Headquarters, United States Special Operations Central Command (USSOCCENT)
  • Headquarters, United States Marine Corps Forces Central Command (USMARCENT)
  • Tampa Det, Headquarters, United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM)

Also located at MacDill are a division of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGIA), the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE), the Air Force Reserve Command's 622nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (622 AES), the Florida Air National Guard's 290th Joint Communications Support Squadron (290 JCSS), the Navy Reserve Forces Command's Navy Operational Support Center Tampa (NOSC Tampa), the US Army's 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, the Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory, activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, elements of the American Red Cross, the anti-medfly operation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Detachment 1 of the 23d Wing from Moody Air Force Base, GA, among numerous other organizations, activities and agencies.

Detachment 1 of the 23d Wing is unique in that it hosts the Deployed Unit Complex (DUC) at MacDill AFB, providing flight line and logistical support for detachments of Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps tactical jet fighter and attack aircraft (to include Reserve and Air National Guard) utilizing the nearby Avon Park Air Force Range facility, the Avon Range also being operated and maintained by Det 1, 23d Wing.

The base also supports the large military retiree community in the Tampa Bay area and surrounding environs.


MacDill Air Force Base is named in honor of Col Leslie MacDill (1889-1938). Commissioned in the Coast Artillery in 1912, Colonel MacDill became a military pilot in 1914. During World War I he commanded an aerial gunnery school in St Jean de Monte, France.

On 8 Nov 1938 Colonel MacDill was killed in the crash of his North American BC-1 at Anacostia, D.C.


Previous names

  • Established as Southeast Air Base, Tampa, c. 24 May 1939
  • MacDill Field, 1 Dec 1939
  • MacDill Air Force Base, 13 Jan 1948

Major Commands to Which Assigned

  • GHQ Air Force, 8 Apr 1940
  • Third Air Force, 21 Jul 1942
  • Continental Air Forces, 16 Apr 1945 (redesignated Strategic Air Command, 21 Mar 1946)

Base Operating Units

  • 27th Air Base Sq, 11 Mar 1940
  • 27th Air Base Gp, 1 Sep 1940
  • 28th Base HQ and Air Base Sq, c. 15 Jul 1942
  • MacDill Field Base Det, 13 Dec 1943
  • 326th AAF Base Unit, 1 May 1944
  • 307th Airdrome Gp, 15 Aug 1947
  • 307th Air Base Gp, 12 Jul 1948
  • 306th Air Base Gp, 1 Sep 1950
  • 809th Air Base Gp, 16 Jun 1952 (rdsgd 809th Combat Support Gp, 1 Jan 1959)
  • 306th Combat Support Gp, 1 Jun 1959
  • 836th Combat Support Gp, 1 Jul 1962
  • 15th Combat Support Gp, 8 Jun 1969
  • 1st Combat Support Gp, 1 Oct 1970
  • 56th Combat Support Gp, 1 Jul 1975
  • 6th Mission Support Group. 4 Jan 1994-Present

Major units assigned

  • 3d Bomb Wing, 3 Oct 1940-5 Sep 1941
  • 44th Bombardment Group, 15 Jan 1941-15 Feb 1942
  • 55th Bombardment Training Wing, 13 Mar 1943-3 Feb 1944
  • 89th Combat Crew Training Wing, 19 Jun 1944-8 Apr 1946
  • 323d Combat Crew Training Wing, 22 Feb 1945-4 Aug 1946
  • 311th Reconnaissance Wing, 17 Apr 1946-31 May 1947
  • 8th Bomber Command, 14 May-10 Nov 1946
  • Eighth Air Force, 7 Jun-1 Nov 1946
  • Tactical Air Command, 21 Mar-26 May 1946
  • 307th Bombardment Wing, 15 Aug 1947-16 May 1951
  • 306th Bombardment Group, 1 Aug 1848-16 Jun 1952
  • 306th Bombardment Wing, 1 Sep 1950-1 Apr 1953
  • 305th Bombardment Wing, 2 Jan 1951-1 Jun 1959
  • 4750th Air Defense Wing, 25 Jun 1959-25 Jun 1960
  • 12th Tactical Fighter Wing, 25 Apr 1962-8 Nov 1965
  • 15th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 Jul 1962-1 Oct 1970
  • 836th Air Division, 1 Jul 1962-30 Jun 1971
  • 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 Oct 1970-30 Jun 1975
  • 56th Tactical Fighter Wing, 30 Jun 1975-4 Jan 1994
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing, 4 Jan 1994-Present

Operational History


Though the south end of Interbay Peninsula was used as a military staging area as early as the Spanish-American War, the land at the end of the peninsula was not formally declared a military installation until it was given to the War Department in 1939 by the state and Hillsborough County.

MacDill Field was dedicated on April 16, 1941. It was named in honor of Colonel Leslie MacDill, one of the U.S. Army's aviation pioneers who had been killed in an aircraft accident in 1938. The initial host unit was the 28th Air Base Squadron.

The initial assignment of the airfield was to Air Defense Command. As a component of the U.S. First Army, its mission was to plan for and execute the air defense of the continental United States. MacDill was the headquarters of ADC Third Air Force and its primary mission was to fly antisubmarine patrols. Units supporting this mission were:

  • 29th Bombardment Group
    Flew antisubmarine patrol missions over the Caribbean. These missions initiated on 21 May 1940 and continued until the group was transferred to Gowen AAF, Idaho in June 1942 when the group was transitioned into a B-24 Operational Training Unit (OTU).

By the fall of 1942 these patrols, in conjunction with naval operations, had succeeded in driving off the German U-boat packs that had been taking such a heavy toll of shipping in the western Atlantic Ocean.

Another prewar mission of MacDill was "Project X;' the ferrying of combat aircraft eastward to the Philippines via the South Atlantic and South Africa. These operations began in February 1941 and were performed by the 6th Bomb Squadron and 43d Bomb Squadron flying the Douglas B-18 "Bolo" and Boeing B-17C/D "Flying Fortress" by way of Ascension Island and Africa.

Other prewar units based at MacDill were:

'76th Observation Group
Flew North American B-25 Mitchells. Performed aerial reconnaissance and air support techniques and aided ground units in their training (February 1942 - May 1943). Transferred to Key AAF, Mississippi.

World War II

Oblique westward oriented photo of MacDill Airfield taken during World War II.

With the American entry into World War II, The antisubmarine mission was turned over to the Navy and for the balance of the war, MacDill trained aircrews for overseas deployments to the various war theaters. The first units trained at the base were Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber groups. Known units which trained at MacDill were:

In the summer of 1942 the 21st Bombardment Group (Medium) was activated and served at MacDill as the OTU for Martin B-26 Marauder training. As well as the main training unit, the group flew antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico. It disbanded on 10 October 1943. Known B-26 units that trained at the base were:

B-26 training ceased in October 1943 and the base reverted to a primary B-17 aircrew replacement training training facility. The OTU which performed the training was the 488th Bombardment Group (Heavy) which was activated in November 1943. Groups which trained were:

B-17 Aircrew training ended at MacDill during May 1944 with the inactivation of the 488th Bomb Group.

Beginning in January 1944, the 11th Photographic Group used MacDill for its mission of photographic mapping in the US and sent detachments to carry out similar operations in Africa, the CBI theater, the Near and Middle East, Mexico, Canada, Alaska, and the Caribbean. The unit flew a mixture of B-17, B-24, B-25, B-29, F-2, F-9, F-10, and A-20 aircraft. The 11th PG inactivated in October 1944, being replaced by several intelligence and mapping training units at the airfield from 1945 through 1948.

During the war, MacDill also served as a Prisoner of War camp, holding as many as 488 German POWs.

Cold War

Strategic Air Command

In 1945, with the war in Europe over, B-17 training assignment ended. On 16 April 1945 MacDill was assigned to Continental Air Command and became the primary training facility for aircrew assgined to the B-29 Superfortress.

With the end of hostilities in September 1945, the base became a reception facility for returning Twentieth Air Force groups from the Marianas. These groups were:

The rapid demobilization after the war led these units to be inactivated during 1946. On 21 March 1946, Continental Air Command was redesignated as Strategic Air Command (SAC).

307th Bombardment Wing

On 4 August 1946, SAC activated the 307th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) as the host unit at MacDill, being initially equipped with Boeing B-29 Superfortresses. Known initial operational squadrons of the group were the 370th, 371st and 372d Bombardment Squadrons.

The group selected as SAC's first antisubmarine unit in December 1946. Precursor to similar SAC units, the group began training other SAC combat units in anti-submarine warfare and operational procedures. In February 1947 the wing began operating a B-29 transition training school and standardized combat training for all SAC units.

The unit was redesignated as the 307th Bombardment Wing, Medium on 12 July 1948. Under the wing designation, the 306th Bombardment Group (eff: 12 August 1948) and 307th Bombardment Group (eff: 12 July 1948) were attached to the wing. This brought three additional operational squadrons (367th, 368th and 369th Bombardment Squadrons) under the wing's command. In 1952, the 307th Bombardment Wing was bestowed the lineage, honors and history of the USAAF World War II 307th Bombardment Group.

On 1 September 1950, the 307th Bomb Group with its three squadrons of B-29s was deployed to Far East Air Force (FEAF) Bomber Command, Provisional at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, engaging in combat operations during the Korean War. From Kadena, the 307th staged attacks against the rapidly advancing communist forces in South Korea. While in Okinawa, the 307th was awarded the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for its air strikes against enemy forces in Korea. It was also awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation and several campaign streamers.

The 307th BG returned from deployment on 10 February 1951, however elements of the group remained deployed in Okinawa on a permanent basis. Later in 1951, the B-29s of the group at MacDill were replaced by the Boeing B-50D Superfortress.

Also on 1 September 1950 the 306th Bomb Group was transferred to the newly activated 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill and continued the wing's training mission.

The 307th Bomb Wing was inactivated at MacDill on 16 June 1952. The 307th Bomb Group was permanently reassigned to Kadena Air Base upon the deactivation of the wing at MacDill.

306th Bombardment Wing

On 1 September 1950 the 306th Bombardment Wing was activated at MacDill and became SAC's first operational B-47 jet bomber wing. Upon activation, operational units of the wing were the 367th, 368th and 369th Bombardment Squadrons under the 306th Bombardment Group which was transferred from the 307th BMW.

Deliveries of the new Boeing B-47A Stratojet Stratojet to the USAF began in December 1950. It entered service in May 1951 with the 306th Bombardment Wing. The 306th was intended to act as a training outfit to prepare future B-47 crews. The B-47As were primarily training aircraft and were not considered as being combat ready, and none of the B-47As ever saw any operational duty.

On 19 November 1951 the Wing received its first operational Boeing B-47B and christened it "The Real McCoy" in honor of Colonel Michael N. W. McCoy, the wing commander who flew it from the Boeing Wichita plant to MacDill. During 1952, the 306th developed combat procedures and techniques for the new bomber and soon emerged as a leader in jet bombardment tactics and strategies.

The first Boeing KC-97E Stratotanker assigned to Strategic Air Command was delivered to the 306th Air Refueling Squadron at MacDill on 14 July 1951. Inflight refueling operations started in May 1952 with KC-97s refueling B-47s on operational training missions leading toward combat ready status.

In 1953, the 306th became the first operational B-47 Wing. The wing became the backbone of the US Nuclear Deterrence Strategy by maintaining high levels of ground alert in the US and at overseas bases. The Wing was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit citation for its role as a pioneer and leader in jet bombardment tactics.

In 1954, SAC designated specific air refueling organizations and the 306th Air Refueling Squadron became ready to support B-47 operations across the command. During 1954, the more advanced B-47Es, with ejection seats, improved electronics and a white reflective paint scheme, replaced the 306th BMW B-47Bs.

During 1954-55, MacDill and the wing also served as a backdrop for part of the Paramount Pictures film Strategic Air Command starring James Stewart and June Allyson.

The wing deployed to RAF Fairford England, Jun - Sept, 1953, at Ben Guerir AB, French Morocco (later Morocco), Jan - Feb, 1955, Oct 1956 - Jan 1957 and Oct 1957.

As SAC's B-47s were being phased out of the inventory, inactivation planning of the 306th BMW began. Phase down and transfer of B-47s was started, and by 15 February 1963 the wing was no longer capable of fulfilling its part of the strategic war plan. On 1 April 1963, SAC inactivated the 306th BMW at MacDill and reactivated it the same day at McCoy AFB, Florida as a B-52D and KC-135A heavy bombardment wing. McCoy AFB was the former Pinecastle AFB, having been been renamed after Colonel Michael N. W. McCoy following his death in a B-47 mishap near the base in 1957.

305th Bombardment Wing

On 2 January 1951 the 305th Bombardment Wing was activated at MacDill. The unit became the second Strategic Air Command wing to receive the B-47 jet bomber. Operational squadrons of the wing were the 305th, 364th, 365th and 366th Bombardment Squadrons.

Initially training with the Boeing B-29 and B-50 Superfortress, later that year the 305th received its first Boeing KC-97 Stratofreighter. Following this, the group began training heavily in its new dual mission of strategic bombardment and aerial refueling.

The 809th Air Division (809th AD) took over host unit responsibilities at MacDill on 16 June 1952. The 809th AD consisted of the 305th and 306th Bombardment Wings which were both assigned to the base.

In June 1952, the wing upgraded to the all-jet Boeing B-47 Stratojet. The wing continued strategic bombardment and refueling operations from MacDill. The wing deployed overseas three times, once to England (Sep-Dec 1953) and twice to North Africa (Nov 1955-Jan 1956 and Jan-Mar 1957), in keeping with its mission of global bombardment and air refueling operations.

Two wing B-47s set speed records on 28 Jul 1953 when one flew from RCAF Goose Bay, Labrador, to RAF Fairford, England, in 4:14 hours and the other flew from Limestone AFB, Maine, to RAF Fairford in 4:45 hours

In May 1959, the 305th Bomb Wing with B-47's was reassigned to Bunker Hill AFB, later Grissom AFB, Indiana. The 809th AD deactivated on 1 June 1959 with the reassignment of the 305th Bomb Wing.

Tactical Air Command

In 1962, MacDill AFB was transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC). Bomber aircraft would remain at MacDill until the 306th Bombardment Wing's transfer to McCoy AFB, and SAC would continue to maintain a tenant presence at MacDill through the 1980s, utilizing their Alert Facility as a dispersal location for B-52 and KC-135 aircraft. But for all practical purposes, the 1960s marked MacDill's transition to a fighter-centric TAC installation. Under TAC, MacDill remained a fighter base for almost 30 years, but other changes went on in the background.

12th Tactical Fighter Wing

Upon MacDill AFB's transfer to TAC, the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing was reactivated on 17 April and assigned to Ninth Air Force. Initially, its only operational squadron was the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

The mission of the 12th TFW was to be prepeared for tactical worldwide deployments and operations. Until 1964 the wing flew obsolete Republic F-84F Thunderjets reclaimed from the Air National Guard.

In January 1964, the wing was chosen to be the first Air Force combat wing to convert to the new McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II. It was expanded as follows:

The wing was soon involved in F-4C firepower demonstrations, exercises and, ultimately, the Paris Air Show.

The first attempt to close MacDill was made in 1960, when it was listed as surplus and slated for closure. However, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 pointed up the base's strategic location and usefulness as a staging area, and the cuts were stayed. In response to the Missile Crisis, the United States Strike Command was established at MacDill as a crisis response force; it was one of the first unified commands, a command that draws manpower and equipment from all branches of the U.S. military.

The conflict in Southeast Asia was escalating and throughout 1965 the wing supported Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Contingency Operations by rotating combat squadrons quarterly to Naha AB in the Ryuku Islands. The 12th began its permanent deployment to the first Air Force expeditionary airfield at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, South Vietnam on 6 November 1965.

12th TFW Combat squadrons initially scheduled for deployment to Vietnam were the 555th, 557th and 558th TFS. Ultimately, the 559th TFS took the place of the 555th when the squadron was diverted to a second TDY with the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Naha Air Base, Okinawa, followed by a re-assignment to the 8th TFW at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Still later the 555th was assigned to the 432d TRW at Udon Royal Thai Air Force Base.

15th Tactical Fighter Wing
McDonnell Douglas F-4E-35-MC Phantom II, AF Serial No. 67-0305 of the 43d TFS.

On 17 April 1962, the 15th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at MacDill and assigned to Ninth Air Force. Operational squadrons of the wing and squadron tail codes were:

The 12th and 15th TFWs constituted the 836th Air Division at MacDill AFB 1 July 1962.

Initially equipped with the Republic F-84F Thunderjet, in 1964 the wing upgraded to the tail-coded McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II.

The mission of the 15th TFW was to conduct tactical fighter combat crew training. The wing participated in a variety of exercises, operations and readiness tests of Tactical Air Command, and trained pilots and provided logistical support for the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing. Reorganized as a mission-capable unit at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, it returned afterwards to a training mission.

With the departure of the 12th TFW in 1965, the 15th TFW became the host unit at MacDill with unit's mission becoming a training unit for F-4 aircrews prior to their deployment to Southeast Asia. The wing deployed 16 F-4s to Seymour Johnson AFB, NC during the U.S.S. Pueblo Crisis in 1968.

In 1965, the wing deployed its 43rd, 45th, 46th and 47th Tactical Fighter Squadrons to Southeast Asia, where they participated in the air defense commitment for the Philippines from Clark AB and flew combat missions from Cam Rahn Bay Air Base in South Vietnam and Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. Members of the 45th TFS achieved the first U.S. Air Force aerial victories of the Vietnam conflict when they destroyed two MiGs on 10 July 1965.

Captains Thomas S. Roberts, Ronald C. Anderson, Kenneth E. Holcombe and Arthur C. Clark received credit for these kills.

Beginning on 8 February 1969, the 13th Bombardment Squadron, Tactical began Martin B-57G (Tail Code: FK) light bomber aircrew training. The squadron was deactivated on 1 October 1970 and redesignated as the 4424th Combat Crew Training Squadron.

Also in 1970, Strike Command was renamed United States Readiness Command.

The 43rd TFS was reassigned to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska on 4 January 1970. The 15th was deactivated on 1 October 1970, being replaced by the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing.

Cuban Missile Crisis

During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the following units were deployed to MacDill in addition to the assigned 12th and 15th TFWs in preparation for planned airstrikes on Cuba:

The MacDill-based 12th and 15th Tac Fighter Wings, were designated as the 836th Air Division. The 836th AD was committed to provide one hundred F-84F sorties in the planned first strike. They were to press napalm and rocket attacks against SAM sites at Mariel and Sagua La Grande as well as the airfields at Santa Clara, Los Banos and San Julien.

The 836th commitment for the second strike was to provide sixty-four sorties concentrating on the Los Banos airfield, two AAA sites and the SSM launchers at San Diego de los Vegas and Pinar Del Rio.

Finally, forty-two F-84Fs were to strike Los Banos MiG base a third time and the Santa Clara MiG base, Sagua La Grande and Mariel SAM sites each a second time.

The Cuban missile confrontation was ultimately resolved and the air strikes, which would have been followed by an invasion of Cuba, were never launched.

1st Tactical Fighter Wing
McDonnell F-4E-31-MC Phantom II, AF Serial No. 66-0295 of the 94th TFS.
Martin B-57G-MA, AF Serial No. 53-3877 of the 4530th CCTS.

On 10 January 1970, the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing was reassigned without personnel or equipment to MacDill, the wing being transferred from Air Defense Command (ADC) to TAC from Hamilton AFB, California. Initially, the 1st TFW operated with the same Tactical Fighter Squadron designations used by the 15th TFW until 1 July 1971 when they were redesignated as follows:

  • 45th TFS -> 27th Tactical Fighter Squadron (FD/FF) (F-4E)
  • 46th TFS -> 71st Tactical Fighter Squadron (FB/FF) (F-4E)
  • 47th TFS -> 94th Tactical Fighter Squadron (FE/FF) (F-4E)
  • 4424Th TFTS -> 4530th Combat Crew Training Squadron (FK/FS) (B-57G)
    (Note: squadron deactivated 30 June 1972.)

In 1972, the 1st TFW standardized on the common wing tail code "FF".

At MacDill, the 1st TFW was an operational TAC fighter wing, assuming operational commitments of the 15th TFW. Assumed an F-4 transitional and replacement pilot training role in 1971, some of its aircrews and equipment being deployed from time to time in a variety of tactical exercises.

On 1 July 1975 the 1st TFW and its operational squadrons were reassigned to Langley AFB Virginia without personnel or equipment.

56th Tactical Fighter Wing
McDonnell F-4D-29-MC Phantom II, AF Serial No. 66-0244 of the 61st TFS.
General Dynamics F-16A Block 10B Fighting Falcon, AF Serial No. 79-0397 of the 61st TFS.

On 30 June 1975, the 56th Tactical Fighter Wing became the new host unit at MacDill, being reassigned from Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Operational squadrons of the wing were:

The 56th TFW assumed the F-4E aircraft of the reassigned 1st TFW. Tail codes were changed to "MC".

The wing conducted F-4E replacement training for pilots, weapon systems officers, and maintenance personnel and conducted a service test of TAC's "production oriented maintenance organization" in 1976 and converted to the POMO concept in March 1977. In addition, the wing converted from the F-4E to F-4D between October 1977 and September 1978.

In 1980 and 1981, the wing upgraded to the Block 10 General Dynamics F-16A/B Fighting Falcon. With the arrival of the F-16, the wing designation was changed to 56th Tactical Training Wing on 1 October 1981. The aircraft were upgraded to the more capable Block 30 and 42 F-16C/D in 1991.

In 1983, the new Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) was activated, and in 1987 it became U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM. That same year, U.S. Readiness Command (USREDCOM) was redesignated U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM.

On 1 October 1991, the 56th TTW was redesignated as the 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW). Following inactivation of Tactical Air Command (TAC), the 56 FW and was reassigned to the newly-established Air Combat Command (ACC) on 1 June 1992.

Modern era

By the 1990s, the U.S. was looking to downsize the military and eliminate a large number of bases. MacDill AFB figured prominently in this: the Tampa area saw substantial commercial air traffic at two international airports within ten nautical miles of MacDill, creating hazardous conditions for F-16 training, and the noise associated with the high-performance jets was deemed unsuitable for high-density residential areas like those around MacDill. As a result the 1991 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission ordered that all flightline activities cease at MacDill AFB by 1993.

As a result of the BRAC decision, the F-16 training mission and the 56th Fighter Wing were moved without personnel or equipment to Luke Air Force Base, outside of Phoenix, Arizona, and was reassigned to Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The wing's F-16 aircraft were transferred to other Regular U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard wings and squadrons.

6th Air Mobility Wing and 927th Air Refueling Wing (Associate)

In August 1992, just prior to the landfall of Hurricane Andrew in southern Florida, the 31st Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve's 482d Fighter Wing, both based at Homestead AFB, executed an emergency hurricane evacuation of all of their F-16C aircraft, with the bulk of those aircraft temporarily staging at MacDill.

In 1993, with the help of local Congressman Bill Young (R-FL), the flight line closure order for MacDill was rescinded and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) transferred from their former air facility at Miami International Airport to Hangar 5 at MacDill AFB in order to use the base and its flight line as their new home station for weather and research flights.

On 1 January 1994, the Air Mobility Command's 6th Air Base Wing (6 ABW) stood up at MacDill to operate the base and provide support services for CENTCOM, SOCOM, and the large and growing number of other tenant units, as well as to provide services for transient air units. Later that year, the base served as the primary staging facility for Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.

This staging was considered evidence of the quality and usefulness of the MacDill runway and flight line, even in light of the high civilian air traffic levels in the Tampa Bay area from nearby Tampa International Airport, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Peter O'Knight Airport. With further Congressional prodding and lobbying, MacDill was chosen as the site for a KC-135 air refueling mission. With the arrival of 12 KC-135R tankers and the 91st Air Refueling Squadron from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, the 6th Air Base Wing was renamed the 6th Air Refueling Wing on 1 October 1996.

In January 2001, the 310th Airlift Squadron (310 AS) was activated at the base, flying the CT-43A and EC-135, the former aircraft providing executive transport to the commander of United States Southern Command (USSOUTHOM) in Miami and the latter aircraft providing executive transport and airborne command post capabilities to the commanders of USCENTCOM and USSOCOM at MacDill. New C-37A aircraft were delivered starting in 2001, and the CT-43 and EC-135s were subsequently removed from service. The 310th's primary mission is dedicated airlift support for the commanders of USCENTCOM and USSOCOM. With the addition of the 310 AS, the wing was given its current designation as the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

In late 2003/early 2004, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command vacated its Tampa "rear headquarters" at MacDill AFB, a complex normally occupied by the USNAVCENT Deputy Commander (DEPCOMUSNAVCENT) and his staff when they were not forward deployed to the Persian Gulf, consolidating all activities at COMUSNAVCENT headquarters in Bahrain. This facility was then turned over to the Deputy Commander, U.S. Marine Forces Central Command (DEPCOMUSMARCENT) and his staff. It would subsequently become the overall Headquarters, U.S. Marine Forces Central Command, although the Commanding General for MARCENT (COMUSMARCENT) would remain a dual-hatted function for the Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) at Camp Pendleton, California. So while the Commander remained in California, his MARCENT staff would primarily reside at MacDill AFB.

Also in late 2004, Naval Reserve Center Tampa relocated from its obsolescent waterfront location in downtown Tampa to a newly constructed facility on the south side of MacDill AFB. In 2006, this facility was renamed Navy Operational Support Center Tampa, providing administrative support for all Navy Reserve personnel assigned to various joint and service commands and activities at MacDill AFB, CGAS Clearwater and Marine Corps Reserve Center Tampa.

In April 2008, pursuant to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action, the Air Force Reserve Command's 927th Air Refueling Wing (927 ARW) relocated from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan to MacDill AFB, where it became an associate wing to the 6 AMW, flying the same KC-135R aircraft.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. It would distribute the 319th Air Refueling Wing’s KC-135R aircraft to the 6th Air Mobility Wing (6 AMW) at MacDill AFB, FL (four aircraft) and several other installations. The 6 AMW would also host a Reserve association with the Air Mobility Command-gained 927th Air Refueling Wing (927 ARW) of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), which would be realigned and relocated from Selfridge ANGB, Michigan to MacDill AFB. Under the Reserve Associate arrangement, both the 6 AMW and the 927 ARW would share the same KC-135R aircraft, while the 927 ARW would turn over their KC-135R aircraft to the 127th Wing (127 WG) at Selfridge ANGB.

The 927 ARW began relocation from Selfridge ANGB to MacDill AFB in 2007 and formally established itself at MacDill in April 2008[3].


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 2,692 people, 638 households, and 600 families residing in the district. The racial makeup of the district was 61.80% European American, 24.50% African American, 12.0% Latin American, 0.60% American Indian, 2.90% Asian American, 0.40% Pacific Islander American, 5.10% from some other race, and 4.80% from two or more races.

There were 608 households out of which 39.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 87.8% were married couples living together, and 1.5% were non-families. 88.5% of all households were made up of individuals over 18 and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.75 and the average family size was 3.76.

See also


 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 "MacDill 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
  • Martin, Patrick (1994). Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History. ISBN 0887405134.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present

External links


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