Olmsted Air Force Base

Olmsted Air Force Base

Olmsted Air Force Base (1918-1969) grew to 11,400 civilian employees in 1969, when it was decommissioned and turned over the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.cite web| url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/harrisburg.htm | year=2006| title=Harrisburg International Airport|first=| last=| publisher=GlobalSecurity.Org/| accessdate=2006-12-31] Olmsted Air Force Base then became Harrisburg International Airport.


The first airplanes landed in 1918 at Middletown Air Depot, when it was under the administration of the Signal Corps of the United States Army. In 1939, it was still known by this name.

Robert S. Olmsted

1st Lts. Robert S. Olmsted and John W. Shoptaw entered U.S. Army balloon S-6 in international balloon race from Brussels on September 23, 1923, despite threatening weather which causes some competitors to drop out. Lightning struck the S-6 over Nistelrode, Holland, killing Olmsted outright, and Shoptaw in the fall.Maurer Maurer, "Aviation in the U.S. Army, 1919-1939", United States Air Force Historical Research Center, Office of Air Force History, Washington, D.C., 1987, ISBN 0-912799-38-2, page 174.] Middletown Air Depot was later renamed for Olmsted.

Air Force takes over

The National Security Act of 1947 created the separate Department of the Air Force and ownership of Olmsted was transferred from the U.S. Army to the newly independent U.S. Air Force. Olmsted AFB had an abundance of engine and airframe shops and a supply distribution system that made it a significant facility, but a poor runway that, it was felt, would be too expensive to improve.cite web| url=http://4mermarine.com/news/ott000928.html | year=2000| title=The Lititz Air Force Base|first=Glenn B.| last=Knight| publisher=Lititz Record-Express| accessdate=2006-12-31] It would involve claiming marsh land and portions of the Susquehanna River (both of which have since been accomplished) and the Air Force leadership at that time determined that more land for supply and maintenance buildings was needed.

In 1969, the Air Force shut down Olmsted and turned the facilities over to the state government. At this point, Harrisburg International Airport began to serve the public, under the ownership of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Although the active duty Air Force departed the facility, an Air Force presence still remains at the airport in the form of the 193rd Special Operations Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, an Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) orgainzation currently operating the EC-130 Commando Solo psychological operations (PSYOP) aircraft. In 1998, the Commonwealth transferred ownership to the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA). In addition, in 1966, much of the property was converted into The Pennsylvania State University -- The Capital College, otherwise known as the Harrisburg Campus. This campus was originally chartered as a graduate and upper division school.

ee also

* Harrisburg International Airport
* Pennsylvania World War II Army Airfields


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