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Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona, USA

August 3rd, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (IATA: DMA, ICAO: KDMA), also referred to as D-M, is a key US Air Combat Command installation, located within the city limits of Tucson, in Pima County, Arizona.

The 355th Fighter Wing is the host unit providing medical, logistical, and operational support to all D-M units. The wing's missions are to train A-10 and OA-10 pilots and to provide A-10 and OA-10 close support and forward air control to ground forces worldwide. As a tenant unit the 55th Electronic Combat Group provides command, control, and communications countermeasures in support of tactical forces with its EC-130H aircraft and, employing the EC-130E aircraft, provide airborne command, control, and communications capabilities for managing tactical air operations in war and other contingencies worldwide.

D-M became a military base in 1925, but its origins can be traced to the earliest days of civil aviation. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh, fresh from his non-stop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, flew his "Spirit of St. Louis" to Tucson to dedicate Davis-Monthan Field—then the largest municipal airport in the United States.

The base was named in honor of Lieutenants Samuel H. Davis and Oscar Monthan, two Tucsonans and World War I era pilots who died in separate military aircraft accidents. Davis, who died in a Florida aircraft accident in 1921, attended the University of Arizona prior to enlisting in the Army in 1917. Monthan enlisted in the Army as a private in 1917, was commissioned as a ground officer in 1918 and later became a pilot. He was killed in a crash of a Martin bomber in Hawaii in 1924.

In 1940, early in World War II, the field was selected for expansion. D-M served as an operational training base for B-18 Bolos and B-24 Liberators and, nearing the war's end, B-29 Superfortresses.

With the end of the war, operations at the base came to a virtual standstill. It was then the base was selected as a storage site for hundreds of decommissioned aircraft, particularly the excess B-29s and Douglas DC-3 "Gooney Birds." Tucson's dry climate and alkali soil made it an ideal location for aircraft storage and preservation, a mission that has continued to this day.

On 2 March 1949, the Lucky Lady II, a B-50A (serial number 46-010) of the 43d Bombardment Group, completed the first nonstop round-the-world flight, having covered 23,452 miles in 94 hours and 1 minute. Lucky Lady II was refueled four times in the air by KB-29 tankers of the 43d Air Refueling Squadron. For this outstanding flight, the Lucky Lady II crew received the Mackay Trophy, given annually by the National Aeronautic Association for the outstanding flight of the year, and the Air Age Trophy, an Air Force Association award, given each year in recognition of significant contributions to the public understanding of the air age.

The jet age came to the base in 1953, when SAC units converted to the new B-47 Stratojet. That same year, the Air Defense Command appeared on the base with a squadron of F-86 Sabre fighters.

In the early 1960s, the 390th Strategic Missile Wing and its 18 Titan II sites were activated here. This unit inactivated in 1984. In July 1963, a wing of U-2 strategic reconnaissance aircraft was assigned to the base and began flying global missions. The U-2s remained at the base until 1976, when they were transferred to Beale Air Force Base, California.

The year 1964 brought back the combat crew training mission of the World War II years -- this time for the Air Force's newest and most sophisticated fighter, the F-4 Phantom II. In July 1971, the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying the A-7 Corsair II aircraft, was activated at the base and the F-4s moved to Luke AFB, near Phoenix, Arizona.

On October 1, 1976, the base was transferred to Tactical Air Command after 30 years under SAC. It was also that year the 355 TFW accepted the first A-10 Thunderbolt II. Since 1979, D-M has been the training location for pilots in the A-10.

The 1980s brought several diverse missions to D-M, and the headquarters charged with overseeing them was the 836th Air Division, which was activated January 1, 1981. Shortly thereafter, the base welcomed the 868th Tactical Missile Training Group, which trained the crews to operate, maintain, and defend the Ground Launch Cruise Missile system. The 41st Electronic Combat Squadron, equipped with the EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, was the next to arrive, followed by the 602d Tactical Air Control Wing, a unit responsible for the Air Force's tactical air control system west of the Mississippi River.

The most recent unit to join the 355th Wing was the 42d Airborne Command and Control Squadron who arrived at D-M from Keesler AFB, Mississippi. The squadron's EC-130E Hercules aircraft carry an airborne battlefield command and control center capsule, and provides continuous control of tactical air operations in the forward battle area and behind enemy lines.

On May 1, 1992, the 836th Air Division was inactivated and the 355th Fighter Wing was redesignated the 355th Wing in tune with the Air Force's philosophy of one base, one wing, one commander. The 355th Wing is comprised of the 355th Operations Group, the 355th Maintenance Group, the 355th Medical Group, and the 355th Mission Support Group.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona, USA

July 1st, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona, USA

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