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
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
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.