George Air Force Base

George Air Force Base

Infobox Military Structure
name=George Air Force Base

partof=Tactical Air Command (TAC)
location= Located near Victorville, California
coordinates= Coord|34|35|51|N|117|22|59|W|type:airport

caption= 28 May 1994
Location of George AFB
type=Air Force Base
controlledby=United States Air Force
garrison=35th Tactical Fighter Wing
:"For the civilian use of this facility after 1992, see Southern California Logistics AirportGeorge Air Force Base (1941-1992) is a former United States Air Force base located 8 miles Northwest of Victorville, California, about 75 miles Northeast of Los Angeles, California.

It was closed by the Base Realignment and Closure (or BRAC) 1992 commission at the end of the Cold War.


George Air Force Base was named in honor of Brig Gen Harold Huston George (1892-1942). A World War I fighter ace, General George directed air operations in defense of the fortified islands in Manila Bay at the beginning of World War II. He died on 29 April 1942 in an aircraft accident near Darwin NT, Australia.

World War II

George AFB, originally called the Victorville Army Flying School, was constructed between 1941 and 1943 as a flight training school. It was renamed Victorville Army Air Field on 23 April 1943, and after the creation of the United States Air Force, Victorville Air Force Base on 13 January 1948. Known World War II units based at Victorville AAF were:

* 87th Air Base Squadron (November 1941 - April 1944) (Administrative Headquarters Unit)
* 3035th AAF Base Unit, (April 1944 - November 1945) (Administrative Headquarters Unit)
* 4196th AAF Base Squadron, (November 1945 - January 1948) (Administrative Headquarters Unit)
* USAAC/USAAF Advanced Flight School (June 1941 - December 1944)
* USAAF Bombardier School (June 1941 - December 1944)
* Army Air Force Radar Observer School (September 1944 - October 1945)

* 516th, 517th, 518th Basic Flight Training Squadron (November 1941 - February 1944)
* 520th, 521st, 522d, 524th Bombardier Training Squadron (January 1942 - April 1944)
* 983d, 984th, 985th Bombardier Training Squadron (July 1942 - April 1944)

* 71st Troop Carrier Squadron (434th TCG) (October 1945 - February 1946)
Trained with C-46s, Deactivated.

Training began in February 1942 on Curtiss AT-9's, T-6 Texan's, and AT-17's for pilots, and AT-11's and BT-13 Valiant's for bombardiers. The first class of flying cadets graduated on 24 April 1942.

During 1943, the following aircraft were assigned: C-60A, C-47, C-53, L-4A, L-4E, L-3C, PT-15, L-3B, and CG-4A gliders.

In March, 1944, the 36th Flight Training Wing was activated as a school for P-39 single-engine pursuit pilots. The wing also included training crew members in the B-24 and B-25.

On 12 October 1945, all flying operations ceased, and the base was placed on standby status and used for surplus aircraft storage (mostly Boeing B-29s, Beechcraft AT-7s, and AT-11s) Its carekeeper host unit was renamed the 2756th Air Base Squadron in January 1948 after the establishment of the United States Air Force.

Cold War

Flight training remained the primary mission of George AFB throughout the Cold War and a number of bomber, glider, single engine, twin engine, and jet fighter aircraft were flown by the various organizations assigned.

George AFB was assigned to Continental Air Command, 10 October 1950, reassigned to Air Defense Command, 1 January 1951 reassigned to Strategic Air Command on 23 July 1951, then assigned to Tactical Air Command in November 1951.

Primary USAF Wings Assigned

1st Fighter-Interceptor Wing

The initial USAF unit assigned to George AFB was the Continental Air Command's (ConAC) 1st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, being reassigned from March AFB, California on 18 July 1950. Operational squadrons of the 1st FIW were:

* 27th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1950-1951) (F-86A)
* 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1950-1951) (F-86A)
* 94th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1950-1955) (F-86A/D)

The 1st FIW Headquarters was normally assigned to George, however during its time at George, its 27th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was detached to Griffiss AFB, New York for attachment to the Eastern Air Defense Force (EADF). The 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was attached to Air Force Reserve/Air National Guard facility at Pittsburgh International Airport, Pennsylvania, also as part of the EADF.

Air Defense Command (ADC) was reestablished as a major command on 1 January 1951. Continental Air Command lost responsibility for air defense on that date and the wing was reassigned to ADC.

In May, 2250126541441 the 27th and the 71st were attached to the 103d Fighter-Interceptor Wing, which provided administrative and logistical support and operational control, although the squadrons remained assigned to the 1st Fighter Group. Air Defense Command planners recognized that the policy of deploying squadrons over a wide area negated whatever advantages may have accrued from the establishment of the wing-base plan in 1948. In the case of the 1st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, a wing headquarters stationed in California could provide only limited control and virtually no support to squadrons deployed on the East Coast.

With the exception of the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, and the three fighter-interceptor squadrons, all 1st Fighter-interceptor Wing organizations and the group headquarters were reduced to a strength of one officer and one enlisted man on 30 November 1951, at which time the wing moved from George to Norton Air Force Base, California. The 94th FIS remained at George until 1955 when it was reassigned to Selfridge AFB, Michigan.

Other ADC squadrons assigned to the Western Air Defense Force at George were:

* 327th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1955-1958) (F-86D, F-102A):Activated at George, 1955. First ADC squadron to fly the F-102A. Reassigned to Thule AB, Greenland
* 329th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1955-1967) (F-86D/L, F-102A, F-106A):Activated at George, 1955. First ADC squadron to fly the F-106A. Inactivated 1967.
* 518th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1955-1959) (F-86D)

479th Tactical Fighter Wing

The 479th Fighter-Bomber Wing was activated at George AFB on 1 December 1952. It was redesignated as the 479th Fighter-Day Wing on 15 February 1954, and the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing on 1 July 1958. Replaced the 131st Fighter-Bomber Wing at George AFB.

* Operational Squadrons were 434th, 435th, 436th and 476th Fighter-Bomber/Tactical Fighter Squadrons. Maintained tactical proficiency with F-51Ds (1952-53), later with F-86Fs (1953-55).

* Tactical components participated in numerous exercises, augmented air defenses of the West Coast, and deployed overseas to support other commands.

* Converted to the North American F-100 Super Sabre beginning in September 1954 and to Lockheed F-104C Starfighter beginning in October 1958. The 479th TFW was first TAC Wing equipped with the F-100. Trained F-104 pilots of foreign states, January 1962 - August 1963. Had one squadron deployed at NAS Key West, Florida, (435th TFS) during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

* During 1964/65 the 23d Air Base Group at Da Nang AB South Vietnam supported the 476th and 479th TFS in regular TDY rotations. Their job was to fly MiG combat air patrol (MiGCAP) missions to protect American fighter bombers against attack by North Vietnamese fighters.

* In April 1965, deployed two squadrons to Ching Chuan Kang Air Base Taiwan (434th and 435th TFS) and one Takhli RTAFB Thailand (476th TFS) to provide air defenses of northern area of the Republic of Vietnam.

* Transferred one F-104 (476th TFS) squadron to Udon RTAFB Thailand in June 1966 to carry out escort and bombing missions with the F-4Cs at Udon. An additional 12 F-104Cs joined the 8th TFW at Udon on 22 July.

* The wing conducted F-104 replacement training until early 1967. Transferred all F-104s in July 1967.

* Retired F-104s and gained two McDonnell Douglas F-4C/D Phantom II Combat Crew Training Squadrons in December 1965 (4535th, 4452d CCTS), and began F-4 replacement training in February 1966.

* 434th, 476th TFS inactivated September 1968, F-4s assigned to 4535th CCTS. 435th TFS inactivated May 1970, F-4s assigned to 4552d CCTS.

* Began training foreign personnel in F-4 operations and maintenance in March 1969, including pilots from Israel, Iran, Japan, and West Germany.

* Inactivated, and replaced by the 35th TFW, in October 1971.

35th Tactical Fighter Wing

The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing reactivated at George Air Force Base, Califoinia, on 1 October 1971, where it replaced the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing. The wing's mission at George was to take over the mission of training F-4 flight crews. Its operational squadrons (Tail Code: GA) were:

* 434th Tactical Fighter Squadron (October 1971 - October 1975) (F-4D)
434th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron (October 1975 - January 1977) (F-4E)
* 4435th Combat Crew Training Squadron (October 1971 - December 1972) F-4C, Red/White Tail stripe.
4435th Tactical Fighter Replacement Squadron (December 1972 - January 1976) (F-4E, 1972) (F-4C, 1972 - 1976)
* 4452th Combat Crew Training Squadron (October 1971 - October 1973) (F-4D, 1972) (F-4E, 1972 - 1973)

* 20th Tactical Fighter Squadron
(December 1972 - 1981) (F-4C) (1972 - 1975) (F-4F) (1981 - June 1992) (F-4E)
* 21st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron (December 1972 - October 1980) (F-4C)
21st Tactical Fighter Squadron (October 1980 - October 1989) (F-4E)
21st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron (October 1989 - June 1991) (F-4E)
* 431st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron (December 1972 - October 1978) (F-4D, 1972) (F-4E, January 1976 - October 1978)
* 4535th Combat Crew Training Squadron (December 1972) (F-4C)

With the arrival of F-105F/G aircraft from the 388th TFW at Korat RTAFB, Thailand in July 1973, the wing began training aircrews for radar detection and suppression or "Wild Weasel" missions in addition to other F-4 training. By 1975, with the arrival of new F-4G aircraft, the wing was training aircrews exclusively in Wild Weasel operations for deployment to operational units in Okinawa and Germany.

* 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron (July 1973 - July 1980) (F-105F/G), (F-4G, Tail Code: WW July 1980 - October 1989)
* 562d Tactical Fighter Squadron (October 1974 - July 1980) (F-105F/G), (F-4G, Tail Code: WW July 1980 - October 1989)
* 563d Tactical Fighter Training Squadron (July 1975 - July 1977) (F-105F/G)
563d Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-4G, Tail Code: WW July 1977 - October 1989)
* 39th Tactical Fighter Squadron
(January 1977 - May 1984) (F-4C Tail Code: WW) (January 1976 - October 1980) (F-4E, January 1982 - May 1984)

In 1980, the wing received the new F-4G and its advanced Wild Weasel system. By July 1980, the last F-105G left George Air Force Base, leaving the 35th with F-4Gs in its inventory for Wild Weasel training.

Operations at George Air Force Base were reorganized by mission requirements March 30, 1981. The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing retained control of the 20th and 21st Tactical Fighter Training Squadrons and gained the 39th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

With the inactivation of the 39th Tactical Fighter Squadron in 1985, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing was redesignated the 35th Tactical Training Wing. However, the wing kept its air defense augmentation responsibility. It provided operations and maintenance support for the close air support portion of Army training exercises conducted at the U.S. Army National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., from 1981 to 1990. Also, the wing advised specific Air National Guard units on F-4 operations from 1981 to 1991.

The new 37th Tactical Fighter Wing assumed the 561st and 562nd Tactical Fighter Squadrons active Wild Weasel missions in 1981. This training ended in 1989 when the 37th TFW was reassigned to Tonopah Test Range Nevada assuming F-117A operational development.

Operations at George Air Force Base were reorganized again October 5, 1989. The 37th Tactical Fighter Wing and the 35th Tactical Training Wing consolidated all operations under the newly redesignated 35th Tactical Fighter Wing. Under the reorganization the 35th regained control of the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron and the 562nd Tactical Fighter Training Squadron.

In August 1990, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing mobilized in support of Operation Desert Shield. On Aug. 16, 1990, 24 F-4Gs of the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron left George Air Force Base enroute to Shaikh Isa Air Base, Bahrain. Once in the Middle East, its deployed people established operational, maintenance and living facilities for the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional). These facilities eventually housed more than 60 active duty and Air National Guard F-4s and more than 2,600 military members.

During Operation Desert Storm, which started 17 Jan 1991, the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron flew 1,182 combat sorties for a total of 4,393.5 hours. The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) was credited with flying 3,072 combat missions for 10,318.5 hours. U.S. Central Command relied heavily on the wing's Wild Weasels to suppress enemy air defense systems. The F-4G aircrews were credited with firing 905 missiles at Iraqi targets, while the RF-4C aircrews shot more than 300,000 feet of vital reconnaissance film. During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) suffered no casualties. The wing's people began returning to George Air Force Base March 23, 1991, with its aircraft and pilots following three days later.

The 35th became the host unit for George Air Force Base when the 831st Air Division there inactivated on 31 March 1991. As a result, the wing gained several support agencies, including the 35th Combat Support Group and associated squadrons. In support of the Air Force's force reduction programs, the 21st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron inactivated 28 June 1991. That October, as part of the Air Force's reorganization plan, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing was redesignated the 35th Fighter Wing. A month later, the wing's tactical fighter squadrons were redesignated fighter squadrons.

In 1992, the 35th began downsizing in preparation for the closure of George Air Force Base. On 5 June 1992, the 20th Fighter Squadron moved to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, and by the end of June, the 561st and 562d Fighter Squadrons were inactivated.

On 15 December 1992, the 35th Fighter Wing inactivated and George Air Force Base closed bringing an end to 21 years of continuous service and more than 34 years of total service for the 35 FW.

Secondary USAF Wings Assigned

452d Bombardment Wing (Light)

As a result of the Korean War, the Long Beach Municipal Airport, California Air Force Reserve 452d Bombardment Wing (Light) was mobilized at George AFB and ordered to active duty August 10, 1950. Four squadrons (728th, 729th, 730th, 731st) of Douglas B-26 Invaders.

The wing was deployed to Itazuke AB Japan October 1950. It was the first Air Force Reserve wing to fly combat missions in Korea.

116th Fighter-Bomber Wing

The 116th Fighter-Bomber Wing was a Washington Air National Guard unit activated to federal service during the Korean War. Received five Republic F-84G Thunderjets becoming the first Guard unit west of the Mississippi River to be equipped with the jets. On February 1, 1951, as a result of the Korean Conflict, the 116th Fighter Squadron received new North American F-86A Sabres.

The 116th FBW was ordered to RAF Shepherds Grove, England, in August 1951 to bolster NATO forces in Europe. The move was the first time in aviation history that a full tactical fighter squadron had crossed an ocean.

131st Fighter-Bomber Wing

The 131st Fighter-Bomber Wing was a federalized Missouri Air National Guard unit during the Korean War. It was assigned to George during August 1951

The wing trained at George with North American F-51D Mustangs. It was relieved from active duty and returned to state control on 1 December 1952.

21st Fighter-Bomber Wing

The 21st Fighter-Bomber Wing was activated at George on 1 January 1953 with three (72d, 416th and 531st) Fighter-Bomber squadrons, equipped with F-86F Sabres.

At George, the wing established and maintained tactical proficiency and provided air defense augmentation. In December 1954, the wing was assigned to NATO and was reassigned to Chambley-Bussieres Air Base, France.

413th Tactical Fighter Wing

The 413th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at George on 11 November 1954 as the 413th Fighter-Bomber Wing. It was initially equipped with four (1st, 21st, 34th, and 474th) F-86H squadrons.

Transitioned to the F-100D/F in 1958, becoming the 413th TFW. The wing trained to achieve and maintain combat readiness by participation in tactical exercises, firepower demonstrations, joint training with US Army and US Marine Corps units, and tactical evaluations. Provided augmentation of Sixteenth Air Force to Morón Air Base Spain through deployment of assigned squadrons on a rotational basis, 1958-1959. The 1st Fighter Day Squadron was commanded by Lt-Col Chuck Yeager from April 1957 to its deactivation in March 1959.

The wing was deactivated on 15 March 1959 for budgetary reasons. 34th TFS was inactivated and personnel and F-100s of three other squadrons were reassigned to incoming 31st TFW.

31st Tactical Fighter Wing

On 15 March 1959 the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing was activated without personnel or equipment at George AFB, and absorbed the personnel and equipment of the inactivated 413th TFW.

The 31st was previously assigned to Turner AFB, Georgia as a Strategic Air Command fighter wing and had transferred its F-100s to the 354th TFW at Myrtle Beach AFB South Carolina in 1956 after SAC turned all of its strategic escort fighters over to Tactical Air Command. The 31st was maintained as an inactive "paper unit" by TAC with no personnel or equipment assigned until it was reactivated at George.

The reassignment equipped three F-100D/F tactical fighter squadrons (306th, 308th, 309th) which were trained for operational capability. The 31st TFW was reassigned to Homestead AFB, Florida on 31 May 1962.

355th Tactical Fighter Wing

The 355th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at George on 13 April 1962. Four operational tactical fighter squadrons (354th, 357th, 421st, and 469th) equipped with Republic F-105D/F aircraft. Trained in tactical fighter operations and deployed tactical squadrons overseas as required, primarily to combat duty in Southeast Asia.

* 354th TFS deployed to Korat and Takhli RTAFB Thailand 24 January - 21 February 1964, and 2 May - 20 September 1964 as a part of the USAF buildup of forces in Thailand.

The 355th TFW was reassigned to McConnell AFB, Kansas on 21 July 1964.

32d/8th Tactical Fighter Wing

On 1 April 1964, the 32d Tactical Fighter Wing was activated and being organized at George. Three fighter squadrons (68th, 433d and 497th) were equipped with F-4Ds.

On 18 June 1964, the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing was reassigned without personnel or equipment to George AFB from Itazuke AB, Japan as part of an overall effort to reduce the number of wings in Japan. The 8th TFW replaced and absorbed the resources of the 32d TFW. Operational squadrons of the 8th TFW at George were:

* 68th Tactical Fighter Squadron
* 433d Tactical Fighter Squadron
* 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron

While at George AFB, the wing trained with the McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II fighter aircraft. The 68th TFS deployed to Korat RTAFB Thailand during July-December 1964, with the wing participated in numerous exercises, operational readiness inspections, and the like.

The entire 8th TFW was reassigned to Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand in December 1965 to commence combat operations in the Vietnam War.

37th Tactical Fighter Wing

The 37th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at George on 30 March 1981 with F-4G/E Wild Weasel elements of the 35th TFW (561st, 562d, 563d TFS).

Squadrons returned to 35th TFW control 5 October 1989. 37th TFW reassigned to Tonopah Test Range, Nevada to conduct F-117 operations and training.


George Air Force Base was officially decommissioned in December 1992. In 1993, President Bill Clinton announced a "Five Part Plan" to speed economic recovery in communities where military bases were to be closed. One part of this plan called for improving public participation in the base's environmental cleanup program. George AFB was among a number of installations where environmental cleanup was placed on a "fast track" so base property could be quickly transferred to the community for reuse. Many of the old base housing homes and buildings are currently used by the Army and Marine Corps for urban warfare training.

See also

* United States Air Forces in Europe
* United States Air Force In South Vietnam
* United States Air Force In Thailand
* California World War II Army Airfields
* Western Air Defense Force (Air Defense Command)


This article contains information from the " [ 35th Fighter Wing history factsheet] " which is an official document of the United States Government and is presumed to be in the public domain.

* Aerospace Defense Command publication, The Interceptor, January 1979 (Volume 21, Number 1).
* Donald, David (2004) Century Jets: USAF Frontline Fighters of the Cold War. AIRtime ISBN 1880588684
* Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
* Martin, Patrick (1994). Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History. ISBN 0887405134.
* Menard, David W. (1998) Before Centuries: USAFE Fighters, 1948-1959. Howell Press Inc. ISBN 1574270796
* Mueller, Robert (1989). Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6
* Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
* Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
* [] USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present

External links

* [ Southern California Logistics Airport / George Air Force Base] (

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