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DM AFB History

DM AFB History

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Published by J Hevesi
History - The Story of Davis - Monthan Air Force Base 1940-1976
History - The Story of Davis - Monthan Air Force Base 1940-1976

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Published by: J Hevesi on Feb 13, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/23/2011

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DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB
1940 - 1976
 
i
PREFACE
This history, in its final form, is the result of almost three years of off-and-on effort on the part of thishistorian. It has had to be sandwiched in between the myriad taskings associated with three different assignments.It began at Davis-Monthan AFB in 1979 while assigned there as the historian for the 390
th
Strategic Missile Wing.My research notes and supporting documents came with me when I was subsequentlytransferred to theHeadquarters SAC Office of the Historian and then later to the 4000
th
Satellite Operations Group at Offutt AFB,Nebraska.The need for a complete base history became painfully obvious as soon as I began my initial research.There was very little data available at Davis-MonthanAFB concerning the history of the installation; other thana few short Information Office history handouts of the type often given to newcomers and visitors. The majorityof substantive material on base activities over the years had been lost as host units switched repeatedlythroughoutthe station’s existence. Those units were subsequently inactiviated or transferred to other bases. Accordingly,the majority of material presented herein had to be obtained at the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center,Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Without the invaluable assistance of the many dedicated professionals at the SimpsonCenter, this history couldnever have been compiled.The transfer of Davis-MonthanAFB from the Strategic Air Command to the Tactical Air Command on 30September 1976 ends the period of coverage for this history.
GARY P. MYERS, MSgt, USAFHistorian16 December 1982
 
ii
INTRODUCTION
DEC 2 1940TO: MAYOR TUCSON ARIZUNDER LATEST APPROVED WAR DEPT PLANS UNITS OF ARMY AIRCORPS ARE TO BE STATIONED TUCSON AIRPORT–STOP–YOURCOOPERATION WITH WAR DEPT SURVEY BOARDS OF OFFICERSGREATLY APPRECIATED– STOP–THIS TELEGRAM MAY BE TAKEN ASOFFICIAL WAR DEPT NOTIFICATION OF INTENTION TO OCCUPYAIRPORT AND ADJACENT PREMISES MUTUALLYAGREED UPON–END--ADAMS WASHINGTON
On the 2
nd 
of December, 1940, Tucson officials received the above Western Uniontelegram from theWar Department notifying them that a decision had been made to establish a military airfield at the city’smunicipal airport. This marked the culmination of an intense eleven-year effort on the part of many of theOld Pueblo’s most prominent citizens to get an air base established at Tucson.Throughout the subsequent years, the fledgling installation grew in spurts; promptedfirst by theoutbreak of World War II and then by the buildup of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in the era of the Cold War. The missions supported by the base have gone full circle over the years. Its first mission was strategicbombardment and reconnaissance. That ended with the attack on Pearl Harbor, after which the field wastasked with the training of combat crews for the big B-17, B-24, and B-29 bombers used during the war. Withthe creation of the Strategic Air Command in 1946, Davis-Monthan Field took on an new strategic roleinvolving B-29s, B-50s, and later the all-jet B-47bombers. The importance of the base was bolstered during the 1960s with the addition of the nation’s first Titan II intercontinentalballistic missilewing and a high-technology reconnaissance unit. The strategic bombardment mission, however, was lost during that period.Within the same decade, the Tactical Air Command first appeared at the base as a tenant unit charged withthe training of combat crews for the F-4C jet fighter-bomber.The prominence of the Tactical Air Command at Davis-Monthan AFB became much more pronounced in the early 1970s with the arrival of the 355
th
Tactical Fighter Wing and its inventory of A-7Ds and later A-10s. With the final wind down of the Southeast Asian conflict, the base lost its reconnaissance mission and only the Titan II wingremained to represent the Strategic Air Command. After 30 years of SAC stewardship,the base was turned over to the Tactical Air Command on 30 September 1976.

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