McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base

McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base
McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base

Air National Guard.png

Part of Tennessee Air National Guard (ANG)
KC-135R Arrives at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base
Type Air National Guard Base
Coordinates 35°48′39″N 083°59′38″W / 35.81083°N 83.99389°W / 35.81083; -83.99389 (McGhee Tyson ANGB)
Built 1951
In use 51-Present
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Garrison 134th Air Refueling Wing.png 134th Air Refueling Wing
Airfield information
Elevation AMSL 981 ft / 299 m
Direction Length Surface
ft m
5L/23R 9,005 2,745 Concrete
5R/23L 9,000 2,743 Asphalt
Statistics (2007)
Aircraft operations 138,682
Based aircraft 173
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]
McGhee Tyson ANGB is located in Tennessee
McGhee Tyson ANGB
Location of McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tennessee
For the civil use of this airport, see McGhee Tyson Airport

McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base (IATA: TYSICAO: KTYSFAA LID: TYS) is a joint military facility located at McGhee Tyson Airport. It is located approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of the central business district of Knoxville, near Alcoa, Blount County, Tennessee, United States. It was the site of McGhee Tyson Air Force Base from 1952 until 1960.



It is the home of the 134th Air Refueling Wing (134 ARW) of the Tennessee Air National Guard, which functions as the host wing for the installation. Other tenants of the base include the 119th Command and Control Squadron, the I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center, the 228th Combat Communications Squadron and the 1-230th Armored Cavalry Squadron's Army Aviation Support Facility of the Tennessee Army National Guard, operating several OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters.


The announcement that the United States Air Force would build an air base at McGhee-Tyson Airport was made on January 26, 1951. Fighter-interceptors based there would defend the Atomic Energy Commission facilities at nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Alcoa aluminum plant and the rest of the Tennessee Valley, including the vital Tennessee Valley Authority dams. Initial construction was estimated at $5.5 million. The military facilities built on the northwest side of the airfield have remained separate from the civil airport.

The base officially opened on August 9, 1952 but air defense alert operations began there much sooner. The federalized Tennessee Air National Guard Detachment 1, 105th Fighter Interceptor Squadron was assigned to the base while on active duty during the Korean War. Assigned to Air Defense Command (ADC) and flying F-47D Thunderbolts, the 105th FIS was headquartered at Berry Field in Nashville. The 105th FIS remained at the base until 1 January 1952 when it was returned to state control.[2]

The active-duty Air Defense Command Central Air Defense Force 516th Air Defense Group replaced the Air National Guard unit on 1 January 1952. With it were the 516th Air Base Squadron, 516th Materiel Squadron, and the 516th Infirmary. Between 1200 and 1400 men—with a $1.5 million annual payroll—were assigned to the base.

The tactical unit of the 516th ADG was the 469th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron which initially inherited the F-47s of the Air National Guard, replacing them with F-86D Sabres. In 1953, the 460th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron became a second F-86D squadron at the base.[3] The 460th was reassigned to Portland Airport, Oregon in 1955, while the 469th remained at TYS until 1957 when it was inactivated.[3][4].

North American F-86D Sabre at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. This type of interceptor aircraft was assigned to McGhee Tyson AFB during the 1950s.

The 516th Air Defense Group was redesignated as the 355th Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 18 August 1955. The 354th FIS was activated with F-86Ds to become the second FIS. On August 29, 1957 the Air Force announced that the base—by then worth $7.75 million—would close. About 4,000 Air Force people left the area, taking with them $25.5 million in equipment from the base. Regular Air Force operations at McGhee Tyson Airport ended on January 8, 1958. The 354th FIS inactivated in that date. The 355th remained until 1 July 1960 when it was inactivated along with the F-86 interceptor squadrons, and the base turned over to Tennessee Air National Guard control.[4][5]

The 134 ARW, which is operationally gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC), operates KC-135R Stratotankers for both air mobility and aerial refueling of military aircraft. McGhee Tyson ANGB is also home to the I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center and its associated Academy of Military Science (AMS). Similar to U.S. Air Force (USAF) Officer Training School (OTS), AMS is an alternate commissioning source for USAF officers who are directly inputted into various units of the Air National Guard throughout the United States.[6][7]

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1961 (republished 1983, Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-02-1).
  • Mauer, Mauer (1969), Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Air Force Historical Studies Office, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. ISBN 0892010975
  • A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
  • Winkler, David F. (1997), Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program. Prepared for United States Air Force Headquarters Air Combat Command.

External links

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