Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: DYS, ICAO: KDYS, FAA LID:DYS) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Abilene, Texas.
The host unit at Dyess is the 7th Bomb Wing (7 BW) assigned to theAir Combat Command Twelfth Air Force. The 7 BW is one of only two B-1B Lancer strategic bomber wings in the United States Air Force, the other being the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.
Dyess AFB was established in 1942 as Abilene Army Air Base (AAB). It is named in honor of Texas native and Bataan Death March survivorLieutenant Colonel William Dyess. The 7th Bomb Wing is commanded by Col Michael Bob Starr. The Vice Commander is Colonel Steven Beasley and the Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sgt. Eddie Webb.
The base is named after Lt Col William Edwin Dyess, a native of Albany, Texas, who was captured by the Japanese on Bataan in April 1942. Dyess escaped in April 1943 and fought with guerilla forces on Mindanao until evacuated by submarine in July 1943. During retraining in the United States, his P-38 Lightning caught fire in flight on 23 December 1943 near Burbank, CA. He refused to bail out over a populated area and died in the crash of his P-38 in a vacant lot.
On 1 October 1993, the 96 BW and 463 AW were both inactivated and replaced by the 7th Wing, a former B-52 and KC-135 wing that had been located at the formerCarswell AFB which was being realigned as NAS Fort Worth JRB/Carswell ARS as a result of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action. The 7th Wing incorporated Dyess' B-1Bs and C-130s, the latter which transferred from Air Mobility Command toAir Combat Command.
Within its first year, the 7th Wing's diverse mission made it one of the most active units in the United States Air Force. The C-130s were deployed around the globe performing several airlift missions to Europe and the Persian Gulf. The crews and support people of the B-1s focused on enhancing the purpose of the Lancer in a post-Soviet 21st century.
In the 1997, Dyess' C-130s were transferred back to Air Mobility Command, and the317th Airlift Group was created as the parent unit for Dyess' C-130 squadrons. At the same time, the 7th Wing was redesignated the 7th Bomb Wing. Despite this separation as units, both the 7th Bomb Wing and the 317th Airlift Group remained at Dyess.
One of the many unique features of Dyess is its extensive collection of static military aircraft on display. Collectively known as the "Linear Air Park," it contains 30 aircraft from World War II to the present, many of them formerly based at Dyess, and is located along the base's main road, Arnold Blvd. All but one plane has been flown before. Its most recent addition is the first operational B-1B Lancer, known as "The Star of Abilene," which made its final flight in 2003. It can be seen at the front gate to Dyess along with a recently retired C-130 Hercules located on the other side of the road (a tribute to the two main aircraft currently housed at Dyess).
Another unique feature of Dyess is its main source of energy. In January 2003, Dyess became the first Department of Defense installation in the United States to be powered exclusively from renewable wind energy. Today, most of the energy Dyess receives is from other sources of renewable energy, such as biomass, and is considered one of the "greenest" bases in the U.S. Air Force.
The remnants of Tye AAF can still be seen today. Parts of the old runway still exist as well as part of its parking area on the west side of Dyess.