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Peterson Air Force Base

Air Force Space Command.png
Part of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)

Hartinger Building, home of the AFSPC
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Owner U.S. Air Force
Location Colorado Springs, Colorado
Built 1942
In use 1942-1945; 1951-1976 (as Peterson Field); 1976 - present (as Peterson AFB)
Commander Colonel Stephen Whiting
Occupants 21st Space Wing, 302d Airlift Wing, US Northern Command, NORAD, Air Force Space Command, Army Space Command
Elevation AMSL 6,187 ft / 1,886 m
Coordinates 38°48′21″N 104°42′03″W / 38.80583°N 104.70083°W / 38.80583; -104.70083
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17L/35R 13,501 4,115 Concrete
17R/35L 11,022 3,360 Asphalt
12/30 8,269 2,520 Asphalt
Statistics (2006)
Aircraft operations 153,244
Based aircraft 292 (USAF + civilian)
Sources: official web site[1] and FAA[2]

Peterson Air Force Base (IATA: COSICAO: KCOSFAA LID: COS) is a base of the United States Air Force located at Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States and it provides runways for the adjacent City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport under a shared joint civil-military airport arrangement. It was named in honor of 1st Lt Edward Joseph Peterson who was killed in a crash at the base.

Peterson AFB is home to the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), AFSPC's 21st Space Wing (21 SW), Army Space Command, and the Air Force Reserve Command's 302d Airlift Wing (302 AW). The 21 SW serves as host unit for Peterson AFB.

The Colorado Springs Post Office (ZIP Code 80914) serves Peterson AFB postal addresses.[3]



Peterson AFB was established on May 6, 1942 at the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport. It was renamed on December 13, 1942 from Colorado Springs Army Air Base to Peterson Field in honor of 1st Lt Edward Joseph Peterson who was killed in the crash of a F-4 "Photo Lightning" reconnaissance aircraft. The F-4 was the reconnaissance version of Lockheed's P-38 "Lightning" twin-engine fighter, when it suffered engine failure on take-off on August 8, 1942 from the base.[4][5]

Initially, Colorado Springs AAF was a center for Reconnaissance pilot training. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Reconnaissance Groups trained there in 1942 and early 1943 before being reassigned to one of the overseas theaters. In 1943, the base began heavy bomber combat crew training utilizing the B-24 Liberator. In June 1944 the mission at the base changed again, this time to fighter pilot training employing P–40 Warhawks.

On 31 December 1945, the Army inactivated the base, turning the property over to the City of Colorado Springs. During the next six years the base was deactivated and reactivated several times, until it finally reactivated for good in 1951 as a joint civil-military airport. In this capacity, it served as the operational airfield supporting the former Ent AFB and later the United States Air Force Academy, NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain Complex and Schriever AFB, a role it continues to perform today. On 1 March 1976, Peterson Field was renamed Peterson Air Force Base while still retaining its joint civil-military status with the City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport.[5]

Strategic Air Command (SAC) assumed control of the base on 1 October 1979. On 1 September 1982, control was transferred from SAC to the newly-established Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), which was activated at Peterson AFB the same day. On 15 May 1992, the 21st Space Wing was activated at Peterson to replace two other previous wings.[6]

Principal military flight operations at Peterson AFB are currently conducted by the 302d Airlift Wing (302 AW), an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC). Previously stationed at the former Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio, the 302 AW relocated to Peterson in 1985 when Rickenbacker converted to an Air National Guard installation. The 302 AW consists of over 1,200 traditional part-time Air Force Reservists and over 200 full-time Air Reserve Technician (ART), Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and USAF civil service personnel operating and maintaining 13 C-130H Hercules aircraft.[7]

On 28 July 2006, operations formerly conducted in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) were relocated to Peterson Air Force Base for purposes of efficiency. The Cheyenne Mountain Complex will be left on warm standby until such time the protection of the mountain is again required. NORAD officials no longer feel there is a threat of an intercontinental nuclear attack which could disrupt NORAD's operations.[8]

Current tenant units

See also


  1. ^ Peterson Air Force Base, official web site
  2. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for COS (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-12-20
  3. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. December 15, 2006. Retrieved December 15, 2006. 
  4. ^ 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 471.
  5. ^ a b PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE HISTORY Peterson AFB Website. Retrieved December 6, 2006
  6. ^ Peterson AFB. Global Security Website. Retrieved December 6, 2006
  7. ^ 302nd Airlift Wing Data
  8. ^ NORAD AND USNORTHCOM change underway. July 28, 2006. NORAD Website. Retrieved December 6, 2006
  9. ^ 2006 Base Guide. Peterson Air Force Base Website. Retrieved February 15, 2008, See p. 41/51 in electronic file, or p. 44 on printed version.

External links



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