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About Little Rock Air Force Base

Little Rock Air Force Base

 

 

 

 

 

Little Rock Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: LRF, ICAO: KLRF, FAA LID:LRF) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

 

 

 

 

History

Little Rock Air Force Base was authorized in 1953 and opened on 24 January 1955. Communications and several storage buildings, JATO facility, ordnance igloos, track and loading platform were completed by 30 June 1955, and the base was opened to limited air traffic on 9 September 1955. The base headquarters facility was accepted 31 January 1956, and all runways and other operational concrete areas were completed by January 1957.

SAC B-47s on the flight line

Construction of Little Rock Air Force Base began on 6 November 1953 and the base was officially activated by Strategic Air Command (SAC) on 1 August 1955, hosting SAC's 384th Bombardment Wing (384 BW) flying the Boeing B-47E Stratojet and the70th Reconnaissance Wing (70 RW) flying the RB-47 Stratojet and KC-97 Stratofreighter.

In 1960, the Air Force announced that Little Rock Air Force Base would house 18 Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles located throughout the state of Arkansas. In 1961, the 70 RW was redesignated as the 70th Bombardment Wing (Medium) and converted to the B-47, but was inactivated the following year before being declared combat-ready.

In September 1962, the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the Arkansas Air National Guard relocated to Little Rock AFB and reorganized as the 189th Tactical Reconnaissance Group (189 TRG).

 
B-58A in flight, June 1967

In October 1962, the 384th Bomb Wing deployed 11 B-47 Stratojet aircraft to civilian municipal airports around the nation for dispersal alert purposes during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Also in 1962, SAC established the 308th Strategic Missile Wing (308 SMW) as the host organization for Little Rock AFB's Titan II missile operations, with the first of the Titan II missiles installed at a site in Searcy, Arkansas in February 1963.

In September 1964, the 384th Bomb Wing inactivated following the retirement of the B-47 from front-line service in SAC. That same year, SAC's 43d Bombardment Wingtransferred from Carswell AFB, Texas with its B-58 Hustler supersonic aircraft. The 43d Bomb Wing would continue to operate at Little Rock until the B-58s were withdrawn from operational service in January 1970.

In June 1965, Little Rock's 189 TRG became the first Air National Guard unit to operate the RF-101 Voodoo and by December, had assumed the RF-101 Replacement Training Unit (RTU) mission for the entire Air Force. The same year, the base and associated flying units also participated in various relief efforts such as a tornado that ripped through Conway, Arkansas in April and Hurricane Betsy in Louisiana in September.

In the 1970s the base went through significant changes, with the first C-130 Hercules aircraft arriving in March 1970. On 31 March 1970, Little Rock Air Force Base officially transferred from SAC to Tactical Air Command (TAC), with TAC's 314th Tactical Airlift Wing (314 TAW) taking over host wing responsibilities. Although SAC's 308 SMW and its Titan II ICBMs continued to be a major tenant, the base's primary mission became C-130 tactical airlift operations and training, with two operational C-130 squadrons assigned and two C-130 training squadrons assigned. In 1974, following the divestiture of C-130 tactical airlift aircraft from TAC, both the 314 TAW and Little Rock AFB transferred from TAC control to that of theMilitary Airlift Command (MAC).

On 1 January 1976, the 189 TRG transferred being a TAC-gained unit to a SAC-gained unit when it converted to the KC-135 Stratotanker and was redesignated the 189th Air Refueling Group (189 ARG), becoming one of the first Air National Guard units to be assigned to Strategic Air Command with a concomitant requirement to maintain a 24-hour alert force at Little Rock as well as deployments to support worldwide tanker task forces.

On September 18, 1980 an airman conducting maintenance on a USAF Titan-II missile at Little Rock Air Force Base'sLaunch Complex 374-7 in Southside (Van Buren County), just north of Damascus, Arkansas, dropped a socket which fell impacting the rocket's first stage fuel tank resulting in a leak. In response, evacuations were made in the area. On September 19, 1980, the leaking fuel exploded. The force of the blast resulted in the W53 warhead being hurled about 100 feet (30 m) from the launch complex's entry gate; its safety features operated correctly and prevented any loss of radioactive material. An Air Force airman was killed and the launch complex was destroyed.

On 1 October 1986, the 189 ARG saw yet another mission change when it was redesignated as the 189th Tactical Airlift Group (189 TAG) and converted to the C-130 aircraft, with transfer of operational claimancy to MAC.

 
Little Rock AFB, February 2010

During the 1991 Gulf War, the 314 TAW's two operational C-130 squadrons and the 189 TAG's C-130 squadron supported operations from both the middle east and European theaters. Later that year, the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing was redesignated as the 314th Airlift Wing (314 AW), and following the disestablishment of MAC in 1992, the base and the 314 AW were transferred to the new Air Mobility Command (AMC). The 189 TAG was also redesignated as the 189th Airlift Group (189 AG) the same year, followed by redesignation as the 189th Airlift Wing (189 AW) in 1995.

In 1993, the base and the 314 AW transferred to Air Combat Command (ACC), as part the U.S. Air Force's decision to transfer continental U.S.-based C-130s from AMC to ACC. In 1997, the U.S. Air Force reversed this decision, returning most C-130 airlift back to AMC claimancy. However, given the 314 AW's primary training mission as the Formal Training Unit (FTU) for C-130s, the base and the 314 AW were transferred to the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), and the base's two operational Regular Air Force C-130 squadrons were organized under the 463d Airlift Group, an AMC unit.

From the mid-1990s to the late 1990s, the 314 AW and the 463 AG supported the air war over Serbia and since theSeptember 11, 2001 attacks, the 463 AG has supported both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In its 50-year history, Little Rock Air Force Base has been operated by six Air Force Major Commands (MAJCOMs): SAC, TAC, MAC, AMC, ACC, and AETC. These represent every possible MAJCOM a continental U.S. based operational flying base could have been assigned to except for the former Air Defense Command/Aerospace Defense Command and Air Force Global Strike Command.

In 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Little Rock base to mark the second anniversary of the Let's Move initiative.

 

 

 

 

Major commands to which assigned

Attached to: Air Education and Training Command, 1 April 1997 – present

 

 

 

Major units assigned

  • 70th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, 24 January 1955 – 25 October 1961
Redesignated: 70th Bombardment Wing, 25 October 1961 – 25 June 1962
  • 384th Bombardment Wing, 1 August 1955 – 1 September 1965
  • 825th Air Division, 1 August 1955 – 1 June 1962
Redesignated: 825 Strategic Aerospace Division, 1 June 1962 – 1 April 1970
  • 308th Strategic Missile Wing, 1 April 1962 – 18 August 1987
  • 189th Tactical Reconnaissance Group (various designations), 1 October 1962 – present
  • 43d Bombardment Wing, 1 September 1964 – 31 January 1970
  • 64th Tactical Airlift Wing, 9 March 1970 – 30 May 1971
  • 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, 1 April 1971 – 1974
Redesignated: 314th Military Airlift Wing, 1974 – 1991
Redesignated: 314th Airlift Wing, 1991 – present
  • 834th Airlift Division, 1 January 1972 – 31 December 1974
  • 34th Tactical Airlift Training Group, 15 September 1978 – 1 December 1991
  • 463d Airlift Group, 1 April 1997 – 1 October 2008
  • United States Air Force Mobility Weapons School, 3 February 2003 – present
  • 19th Airlift Wing, 1 October 2008 – present

 

Aircraft assigned (Strategic Air Command)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Rock_Air_Force_Base


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