Patrick Air Force Base: Wikis


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Patrick Air Force Base

Air Force Space Command.png
Air Force Space Command

Patrick AFB FL - 28 Jan 1999.jpg
28 January 1999
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Owner United States Air Force
Operator Air Force Space Command
Location Cocoa Beach, Florida
In use 1950 - present
Occupants 45th Space Wing
Elevation AMSL 8 ft / 2 m
Coordinates Coordinates: 28°14′06″N 080°36′36″W / 28.235°N 80.61°W / 28.235; -80.61
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2/20 9,023 2,750 Asphalt/Concrete
11/29 4,000 1,219 Asphalt
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]
Patrick AFB is located in Florida
Patrick AFB
Location of Patrick AFB, Florida
Launch of a Delta II rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

Patrick Air Force Base (IATA: COFICAO: KCOFFAA LID: COF) is a United States Air Force Base located between Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach, in Brevard County, Florida, United States. It was named in honor of Major General Mason Patrick. An Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) base, it is home to the 45th Space Wing. Additional tenant activities include the 920th Rescue Wing, the Air Force Technical Applications Center and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). Total employment is 10,400. There are 13,099 military, dependents, civilian employees and contractors on base.[2]


Current operations

The host wing for Patrick AFB is the 45th Space Wing (45 SW), whose Officers and Airmen manage all launches of unmanned rockets at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). These rockets include satellites for the US Military, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Security Agency, as well as scientific payload launches in support of NASA, weather satellite launches in support of NOAA, payloads in support of international customers such as the European Space Agency, and commercial payloads for various corporate communications entities. Units and individuals from the 45 SW have also deployed abroad during wartime, most notably during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom[3]

Also headquartered at Patrick Air Force Base is the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC). AFTAC is the sole Department of Defense agency operating and maintaining a global network of nuclear event detection sensors.

The 920th Rescue Wing (920 RQW), part of Air Force Reserve Command, is also headquartered at Patrick AFB. An Air Combat Command (ACC)-gained combat search and rescue organization, the 920 RQW is the only rescue wing in the Air Force Reserve, operating the HC-130P/N "King" variant of the C-130 Hercules and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, ready for worldwide deployment. The wing is also a major player in civilian rescue operations, most notably is its role in manned spaceflight support to NASA, providing Eastern Range monitoring and search and rescue support for Space Shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Additional operations have also included searching the Caribbean for downed aircraft, as well as retrieving critically ill sailors and passengers from ships hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic, often at night and/or in bad weather. Because the USAF HH-60G can refuel in flight from the USAF HC-130, MC-130, or USMC KC-130, it possesses a much greater range and mission radius versus similar military helicopters.[4]

The 920 RQW is also a full participant in the Air Force's current Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force (AETF) operating concept. Under this concept, the bulk of the wing deployed to Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Subsequent AETF deployments have included Djibouti in 2004 and 2006 and Afghanistan in 2007 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.[5]

Adjacent to the 920 RQW's facilities is the NASA Flight Operations Facility, which provides support for NASA's permanently based UH-1N helicopters supporting Kennedy Space Center and transient NASA fixed-wing aircraft such as the T-38 Talon.

The U.S. State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Air Wing helps foreign countries combat drugs and narcotics criminals. The Bureau operates a fleet of aircraft, primarily former USAF and USMC OV-10 and former USAF C-27 aircraft at Patrick AFB to help detect and interdict the drug trade in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Afghanistan.


The facility which is today Patrick AFB initially started as Naval Air Station Banana River, having been commissioned on 1 October 1940. NAS Banana River supported seaplane patrol operations during World War II and it continued to operate as a Navy support base for two years after the war. The installation was deactivated and placed in a caretaker status on 1 August 1947.

The Navy transferred NAS Banana River to the Air Force on 1 September 1948. The station was renamed the Joint Long Range Proving Ground (JLRPG) Base on 10 June 1949. On 1 October 1949, the Joint Long Range Proving Ground Base was transferred from Air Materiel Command to the Air Force Division of the Joint Long Range Proving Ground.

In February 2005, the officers club was destroyed by an accidental fire.[6]


Operational history

On 17 May 1950, the base was renamed the "Long Range Proving Ground Base", but three months later was renamed "Patrick Air Force Base", in honor of Major General Mason Patrick.[7]

On 3 May 1951, the Long Range Proving Ground Division was assigned to the newly created Air Research and Development Command (ARDC). The next month the Division was redesignated the Air Force Missile Test Center (AFMTC).[7]

Cost comparison studies done in the early 1950s pointed out the desirability of letting contractors operate the station. The first range contract was signed with Pan American World Services on 31 December 1953. The Air Force Missile Test Center began transferring property and equipment to Pan American World Services at the end of that year. Pan American operated under contract to the Air Force for the next 34 years (until early October 1988). In 1988, the old Range Contract was divided into the Range Technical Services (RTS) and the Launch Base Services (LBS) contracts. The RTS Contract was awarded to Computer Sciences Raytheon (CSR) in June 1988, and the LBS Contract was awarded to Pan American World Services (later known as Johnson Controls) in August 1988.

Rocket and missile display in front of the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Florida, circa 1970. These static displays have since been relocated to the AF Space and Missile Museum at Cape Canaveral AFS.

The Eastern Range supported a variety of missile and manned and unmanned space programs in the 1960s, making it a regular focus of media attention. In the 1960s, a test range office at Patrick AFB with a missile backdrop was even used to film Air Force scenes for the sitcom, "I Dream of Jeannie", which was supposedly set in nearby Cocoa Beach (no cast was present).[8]. But by the mid-1970s, the demise of the Apollo manned space program and the end of land-based ballistic missile development at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station signaled a downturn in fortunes, and on 1977-02-01 the "Air Force Eastern Test Range" organization was deactivated and its functions transferred to Detachment 1 of the Space and Missile Test Center (SAMTEC) until the activation of the Eastern Space and Missile Center in 1979 on 1 October 1979. In 1990, ESMC was transferred from the deactivating Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) to the newly established Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). On 12 November 1991 ESMC was deactivated and the 45th Space Wing (45 SW) assumed its remaining functions.[9]

Major Commands assigned

  • Air Proving Ground Command, 1 October 1949
  • Air Research and Development Command, 14 May 1951
Redesignated: Air Force Systems Command, 1 April 1961

Major Units assigned

  • 2nd Combat Communications Group (deactivated 1993)
  • 2770th Standby Squadron, 20 November 1948 - 1 October 1949
  • Advance HQ, Joint Long Range Proving Ground, 1 October 1949 - 15 August 1950
Redesignated, 4820th Air Base Squadron, 15 August 1950 - 4 September 1951
  • 6550th Air Base Wing, 4 September 1951 - 1 March 1953
Redesignated: 6550th Air Base Group, 1 March 1953 - 1 October 1990
Redesignated: 1040th Space Support Group, 1 October 1990 - 12 November 1991
Redesignated: 45th Support Group, 12 November 1991 - present
  • Air Force Eastern Test Range, 1 October 1949 - 1 February 1977
Det. 1 Space and Missile Test Center (SAMTEC), 1 February 1977 - 1 October 1979
Eastern Space & Missile Center (ESMC), 1 October 1979 - 1 November 1991
  • 4802d (later 6555th) Guided Missile Squadron, 10 April 1951 - 15 August 1959
Redesignated: 6555th Guided Missile Group, 15 August 1959 - 1 July 1992
  • 6541st Missile Test Wing, 4 September 1951 - 7 September 1954
  • 45th Space Wing on 12 November 1991 - present
45th Support Group became subordinate of Wing
Eastern Space & Missile Center became subordinate of Wing

Reference for history summation, major commands assigned and major units assigned[9][10]


The base has the Space Coast Inn for visiting personnel, dormitories for permanent party single enlisted personnel, quarters for families in three separate housing areas, recreational housing on the beach, beach access, combined officers and enlisted clubs, commissary, a large base exchange (BX), library and numerous morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities.

There are several chapels including Chapel One, Chapel Two, South Chapel at the South Housing area, and Seaside Chapel (Building 440). There is also a "45th Space Wing Chapel" which travels with the Wing when it is deployed. The Catholic Group is called "St. George Parish" and meets in Chapel One or Two. While the buildings are owned by the Air Force, the Catholic Parish is under the spiritual direction of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.

In 2009, base housing became available for members of the Reserve and Guard, military retirees, and Department of Defense civil service employees and DOD contractors.[11]


  • The Missileer - published weekly.

Surrounding areas


Patrick Air Force Base lies on a barrier island, and is primarily accessed from the mainland by the Pineda Causeway (State Road 404) in Satellite Beach, or Florida State Road 520 in Cocoa Beach. Florida State Road A1A runs the entire length of Patrick AFB to the east connecting Cocoa Beach in the north to Satellite Beach in the south.

See also


  1. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for COF (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-10-25
  2. ^ Moody, R. Norman (13 February 2010). "New Commander takes the flag". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1A. 
  3. ^ Moody, R. Norman (May 12, 2007). After days of delay, airmen return from deployments. Florida Today. 
  4. ^ retrieved May 9, 2007
  5. ^ {{cite book | author = Moody, R. Norman |title = After days of delay, airmen return from deployments | publisher = Fl[[orida Today| date = May 12, 2007}}
  6. ^ [1] retrieved March 16, 2009
  7. ^ a b Lethbridge, Keith. "THE MISSILE RANGE TAKES SHAPE (1949-1958)". Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b "Fact Sheets : EVOLUTION OF THE 45TH SPACE WING". Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  10. ^ Mueller, Robert (1989). Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. ISBN 0912799536; 0160022614
  11. ^ Calkins, Chris (2009-01-29). "Base housing policy changes Feb. 2". 45th SW Public Affairs. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 

External material

External 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 "Patrick 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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