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McChord Air Force Base, Pierce County, Washington, USA

July 21st, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

McChord Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base in Pierce County, Washington. As of the 2000 census, it had a total population of 4,096.

In 1938 the State of Washington approved the transfer of Tacoma Field to the United States government. It was officially designated McChord Field, in honor of Colonel William C. McChord, who had been killed in an accident near Richmond, Virginia the year before. Formal dedication took place on 3 July 1940.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, McChord was camouflaged and windows were blacked out. Squadrons of P-40 and P-43 fighters were assigned to the field. In addition to training pilots, McChord was a clearing station for planes and crews headed for Alaska and the war in the Pacific. Following the end of the war in Europe, McChord redeployed thousands of troops arriving from the European theater to the Pacific.

In 1948, the field was re-designated McChord Air Force Base.

McChord was instrumental in the development of the Alaskan air defense system. In 1950, McChord became part of the Air Defense Command. In 1968, the base was relieved of its assignment to Air Defense Command, when it was turned over to the Military Airlift Command.

In 1980, following the eruption of Mount St. Helens , a C-130 crew provided communications support during the search for survivors. One week after St Helen's first eruption, a second one occurred. All of the base's flyable aircraft were evacuated following reports that ash was drifting northwest toward McChord. In 1988 McChord became involved in combating devastating Yellowstone National Park forest fires, carrying troops from Fort Lewis to the fire areas.

In 1991 Clark Air Base in the Philippines was evacuated due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. By 16 June, the evacuation order was issued and the first plane load of evacuees arrived at McChord on the 18th. In 1992, McChord became an Air Mobility Command base In November of that same year, two McChord C-141 Starlifters, participating in an air refueling training mission over north central Montana, collided in mid-air, killing all 13 crewmen.

As the C-141 was phased out at Mcchord, it was replaced with the C-17 Globemaster III. McChord AFB was the second Base to receive this aircraft for active duty. The first was Charleston AFB in South Carolina.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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