Eglin Air Force Base

Eglin Air Force Base

Infobox Airport
name = Eglin Air Force Base
nativename = nobold|Part of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC)

image-width = 250
caption = USGS aerial photo as of 15 February 1999

image2-width = 200
caption2 = Location of Eglin Air Force Base
type = Military: Air Force Base
operator = U.S. Air Force
location = Valparaiso, Florida
elevation-f = 87
elevation-m = 27
built =
used = 1948-present
commander = [ Maj. Gen. David W. Eidsaune]
occupants = 96th Air Base Wing
coordinates = coord|30|29|00|N|086|31|31|W|region:US_type:airport
website = []
r1-number = 1/19
r1-length-f = 10,012
r1-length-m = 3,052
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 12/30
r2-length-f = 12,005
r2-length-m = 3,659
r2-surface = Asphalt/Concrete
footnotes = Source: official site [ Eglin Air Force Base] , official site] and FAAFAA-airport|ID=VPS|use=PR|own=MA|site=03534.*A, effective 2007-12-20]

Eglin Air Force Base airport codes|VPS|KVPS|VPS is a United States Air Force base located convert|1|mi|km|sing=on southwest of Valparaiso in Okaloosa County, Florida, United States.


Eglin is the home of the Air Armament Center (AAC) and is one of four product centers in Air Force Materiel Command. Serving as the focal point for all Air Force armaments, the AAC is the center responsible for the development, acquisition, testing, deployment and sustainment of all air-delivered weapons.

The host wing at Eglin is the 96th Air Base Wing (96 ABW) whose mission consists of supporting the Air Armament Center and the myriad of associate units with traditional military services as well as all the services of a small city, to include civil engineering, personnel, logistics, communications, computer, medical, security, and all other host services. Critical to the success of Eglin’s mission, the 96th Air Base Wing provides a large number of base operating support functions.

The residential portion of the base is a census-designated place; its population was 8,082 at the 2000 census. The base covers 463,128 acres (1,874.2 km²) [] .

Major Units

* Air Armament Center (AAC)
The center plans, directs and conducts test and evaluation of U.S. and allied air armament, navigation and guidance systems, and command and control systems and supports the largest single base mobility commitment in the Air Force. It operates two Air Force installations, providing host support not only to Eglin, but also Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.

AAC accomplishes its mission through four components:
** Armament Product Directorate (Eglin)
** 46th Test Wing (Eglin)
** 96th Air Base Wing (Eglin)
** 377th Air Base Wing (Kirtland)

* 46th Test Wing (46 TW)
The 46 TW is the test and evaluation center for Air Force air-delivered weapons, navigation and guidance systems, Command and Control (C2) systems, and Air Force Special Operations Command systems. The Eglin Gulf Test Range provides approximately convert|130000|sqmi|km2 of over water airspace.

* 96th Air Base Wing (96 ABW)
The 96 ABW supports the Air Armament Center and other tenant units of the installation with traditional military services as well as all the services of a small city, to include civil engineering, personnel, logistics, communications, computer, medical, security.
* 33d Fighter Wing (33 FW) (F-15C/D Eagles) Tail Code: "EG"
The 33 FW “Nomads” are the largest tenant combat unit at Eglin, as well as a premier air-to-air combat unit of the Air Combat Command (ACC). With two F-15C/D squadrons and an air control squadron, the wing’s mission is to deploy worldwide and provide air superiority and air control. First established as the 33d Pursuit Group, the wing’s contribution to tactical airpower during its 50-year history has been significant with participation in campaigns around the world, while flying various fighter aircraft.
** 58th Fighter Squadron (Blue tail stripe)
** 60th Fighter Squadron (Red tail stripe)

* 53d Wing (53 WG)
The 53 WG is headquartered at Eglin and serves as the Air Force’s focal point for operational test and evaluation of armament and avionics, aircrew training devices, chemical defense, aerial reconnaissance improvements, electronic warfare systems, and is responsible for the QF-4 Phantom II Full Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) program and subscale drone programs (located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.) The wing tests every fighter, bomber, unmanned aerial vehicle, and weapon system in the Air Force inventory.

The wing reports to the USAF Air Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, a Direct Reporting Unit to Headquarters, Air Combat Command.
** 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron (a squadron attached to the 53d Wing but located at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.)
The squadron plans, executes and reports ACC's weapon system evaluation programs for bombers (B-52, B-1 and B-2) and nuclear-capable fighters (F-15 and F-16). These evaluations include operational effectiveness and suitability, command and control, performance of aircraft hardware and software systems, employment tactics, and accuracy and reliability of associated precision weapons. These weapons include air-launched cruise missiles, standoff missiles, and gravity bombs. Results and conclusions support acquisition decisions and development of war plans. The unit also performs operational testing on new systems and tactics development for the B-52.

* 308th Armament Systems Wing (308 ASW)
A joint U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy organization responsible for cradle-to-grave management of air dominance weapon system programs equipping warfighters with strike weapons to fight and win decisively.

The mission of the 308 ASW is to equip warfighters with strike weapons to fight and win decisively. The wing designs, develops, produces, fields, and sustains a family of air-to-ground munitions, enhancing warfighter capabilities (both U.S. and allies) in defeating a spectrum of enemy targets.

* AFRL Munitions Directorate (AFRL/RW)
AFRL/RW develops, demonstrates, and transitions science and technology for air-launched munitions for defeating ground fixed, mobile/relocatable, air and space targets to assure pre-eminence of U.S. air and space forces. The directorate conducts basic research, exploratory development, and advanced development and demonstrations. It also participates in programs focused on technology transfer, dual-use technology and small business development. The directorate is dedicated to providing the Air Force with a strong revolutionary and evolutionary technology base upon which future air-delivered munitions can be developed to neutralize potential threats to the United States.

Other Units

* 919th Special Operations Wing (919 SOW)
The 919 SOW, located about five miles (8 km) south of Crestview and convert|20|mi|km from Eglin main at Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field #3 (Duke Field) and is the only special operations wing in the Air Force Reserve Command. In wartime or a contingency, the 919 SOW reports to Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida., its gaining major command.

* 20th Space Control Squadron (20 SCS)
The mission of the 20 SCS is to detect, track, identify, and report near earth and deep space objects in earth’s orbit, and provide space object identification data in support of United States Strategic Command’s space control mission. The men and women of the 20th SPCS operate and maintain the AN/FPS-85 radar, the Air Force’s only phased-array radar dedicated to tracking earth-orbiting objects.

* 6th Ranger Training Battalion (6th RTB)
Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field #6 (Biancur Field) is the site of Camp James E. Rudder and the home of the U. S. Army’s 6th Ranger Training Battalion. The 6th RTB conducts the final phase of the U.S. Army Ranger Course. The entire course is 61 days in length and is divided into three phases. Each phase is conducted at different geographical and environmental locations. Its mission at Eglin is to expose Ranger students to a fast-paced, 18 day field training exercise.

* Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal
The Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD) is a Navy-managed command, jointly staffed by Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel. NAVSCOLEOD had its official ribbon cutting on the new consolidated training facility in April 1999.

* The Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team (JFIIT)
This is a subordinate, functional command of U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), tasked with improving the integration, interoperability, and effectiveness of Joint fires.

USJFCOM established JFIIT in February 2005 to provide assistance to Joint force commanders and Service headquarters in planning, coordinating, and executing Joint fires at the tactical level. JFIIT's 120-member team is made up of members from all four Services and Department of Defense (DoD) civilians with contractor support.

* AFOTEC Det 2
The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center stood up Detachment 2 at Eglin to meet the growing demand to provide realistic operational testing for new and modified weapon systems. Since then, Detachment 2 has partnered with the warfighter and the developmental test community to provide the most thorough and rigorous operational test programs found anywhere in the world.


Eglin Air Force Base was named on 24 Jun 1948 in honor of Lt Col Frederick Irving Eglin (1891-1937). First rated as a military aviator in 1917, he helped train other flyers during World War I. On 1 Jan 1937, while assigned to General Headquarters, Air Force, Langley Field, VA, Colonel Eglin was killed in the crash of his Northrop A-17 pursuit aircraft on a flight from Langley to Maxwell Field, AL.

Previous names of Eglin AFB were:
* Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base, 14 Jun 1935
* Eglin Field, 4 Aug 1937
* Eglin Field Military Reservation, 1 Oct 1940
* Eglin Field, 28 Dec 1944

Major Commands

* Air Corps Training Cen, 9 Jun 1935 - 27 Aug 1940
* Southeast Air Corps Training Cen, 27 Aug 1940 - 1 Apr 1942
* AAF Proving Ground Comd, 1 Apr 1942 - 1 Jun 1945
* AAF Center, 1 Jun 1945 - 8 Mar 1946
* AAF Proving Ground Comd, 8 Mar 1946 -10 Jul 1946
* Air Proving Ground Comd, 10 Jul 1946 - 20 Jan 1948United States Air Force
* Air Materiel Comd, 20 Jan 1948 - 1 Jun 1948
* Air Proving Ground, 1 Jun 1948 - 20 Dec 1951
* Air Proving Ground Comd, 20 Dec 1951 - 1 Dec 1957
* Air Research and Development Comd, 1 Dec 1957 - 1 Apr 1961
* Air Force Systems Command, 1 Apr 1961 - 1 Jul 1992
* Air Force Materiel Command, 1 Jul 1992 - Present

Base Operating Units

* 84th Service Sq (Det), 14 Jun 1935 - 1 Sep 1936
* Section V, Eglin Field Section, 13th Air Base Sq, 1 Sep 1936 - 1 Aug 1940
* Det 13th Air Base Sq, 1 Aug 1940 - 1 Dec 1940
* 61st Air Base Gp, 1 Dec 1940 - 19 Jun 1942
* 51st Base HQ and Air Base Sq, 19 Jun 1942 - 1 Apr 1944
* 610th AAF Base Unit, 1 Apr 1944 - 30 Jun 1947
* 609th AAF Base Unit, 1 Jul 1947 - 1 Jul 1948United States Air Force
* 3201st Air Base Gp, 1 Jul 1948 - 31 Mar 1951
* 3201st Air Base Wg, 31 Mar 1951 - 8 Aug 1951
* 3201st Air Base Gp, 8 Aug 1951 - 1 Jul 1953
* 3201st Air Base Wg, 1 Jul 1953 - 16 Sep 1964
* 3201st Air Base Gp, 16 Sep 1964 - 1 Jun 1992
* 96th Air Base Wing, 1 Jun 1992 - Present

Operational History

In 1931, personnel of the Air Corps Tactical School (Maxwell Field, Alabama) while looking for a bombing and gunnery range, saw the potential of the sparsely populated forested areas surrounding Valparaiso and the vast expanse of the adjacent Gulf of Mexico.

Local businessman and airplane buff James E. Plew saw the potential of a military payroll to boost the local area’s depression-stricken economy. He leased from the City of Valparaiso the convert|137|acre|km2|1 on which an airport was established in 1933, and in 1934, Plew offered the U.S. government a donation of convert|1460|acre|km2|0 contiguous for the bombing and gunnery base. This leasehold became the headquarters for the Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base activated on June 14, 1935, under the command of Captain Arnold H. Rich.

With the outbreak of war in Europe, a proving ground for aircraft armament was established at Eglin. The U.S. Forestry ceded to the War Department the Choctawhatchee National Forest. In 1941, the Air Corps Proving Ground (later the Proving Ground Command) was activated, and Eglin became the site for gunnery training for Army Air Forces fighter pilots, as well as a major testing center for aircraft, equipment, and tactics. In March 1942, the base served as one of the sites for Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle to prepare his B-25 crews for their raid against Tokyo. A number of auxiliary fields were constructed on the Eglin reservation at this time, many of which are still in service in various roles, either in support of flight operations or special test activities.

After the war, Eglin became a pioneer in developing the techniques for missile launching and handling; and the development of drone or pilotless aircraft. In 1947, a successful drone flight from Eglin to Washington, D.C. was conducted.

In 1950, the Air Force Armament Center was established at Eglin. After the start of the Korean War, test teams moved to the combat theater for testing in actual combat. In 1957, the Air Force combined the Air Proving Ground Command and the Air Force Armament Center to form the Air Proving Ground Center. In 1968, the Air Proving Ground Center was redesignated the Armament Development and Test Center to centralize responsibility for research, development, test and evaluation, and initial acquisition of nonnuclear munitions for the Air Force.

In 1975, the installation served as one of four main U.S. Vietnamese Refugee Processing Centers, where base personnel housed and processed more than 10,000 Southeast Asian refugees. Eglin again became an Air Force refugee resettlement center processing over 10,000 Cubans who fled to the U.S. between April and May 1980.

During a 1992 reorganization, the Air Force disestablished Eglin's parent major command, Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) and merged its functions with the former Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC). The newly created major command from this merger, Air Force Material Command (AFMC), remains Eglin's parent command to this day.

In 1998, as part of the Air Forces' strategic plan to guide the service into the 21st century, the Air Force Development Test Center became the Air Force Materiel Command's Air Armament Center (AAC), responsible for development, acquisition, testing, and fielding all air-delivered weapons.

Eglin AFB Emblem Gallery


Eglin employs more than 8,500 military and approximately 4,500 civilians, with an additional 2,200 jobs due to move to Eglin under the 2005 BRAC.

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 8,082 people, 2,302 households, and 2,262 families residing on the base. The population density was 2,640.1 people per square mile (1,019.8/km²). There were 2,320 housing units at an average density of 757.9/sq mi (292.7/km²). The racial makeup of the base was 71.79% White, 14.82% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 2.96% Asian, 0.38% Pacific Islander, 4.23% from other races, and 5.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.19% of the population.

There were 2,302 households out of which 79.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 89.8% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 1.7% were non-families. 1.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 0.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.50 and the average family size was 3.51.

On the base the population was spread out with 43.5% under the age of 18, 15.2% from 18 to 24, 39.6% from 25 to 44, 1.6% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 100.6 males.

The median income for a household on the base was $31,951, and the median income for a family was $31,859. Males had a median income of $25,409 versus $19,176 for females. The per capita income for the base was $10,670. About 4.5% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under the age of 18 and none of those 65 and older.

National historic status

There are two U.S. National Historic Landmark Districts with connections to the base: Camp Pinchot and Eglin Field.

Notable Residents

* Infielder Jay Bell was born here.
* Author Hunter S Thompson served here in the 50s.


Warm, subtropical weather lasts almost nine months out of the year. The annual precipitation ranges from 25 to convert|60|in|mm. Year-round, the average temperatures run:

Jan - Mar: 60-69 High and 42-51 Low
Apr - Jun: 76-88 High and 58-72 Low
Jul - Sep: 86-89 High and 70-77 Low
Oct - Dec: 63-79 High and 44-69 Low

The area gets only 50 to 60 days of annual precipitation or more rainfall. There are few days without sunshine which allows year-round outdoor activities.

Civil rocketry

Eglin Air Force Base is also a launch site for civil rockets of NASA. There are three launch pads: one at 29.6700 N, 85.3700 W at Cape San Blas; and two on Santa Rosa Island at 30.3800 N, 86.7400 W and 30.3800 N, 86.8170 W. Rockets launched here have included Arcas, Nike Cajun, Nike Apaches, Nike Iroquois, etc. [] This site was formerly operated by the 4751st ADS with CIM-10 Bomarcs, inactivated in 1973. In the 1940s, captured V-1 and American copy Ford JB-2 Loon buzzbombs were launched out over the Gulf of Mexico from these sites.

ee also

* Air Force Materiel Command
* Air Force Armament Museum
* Rocket launch sites
* Tactical Air Command
* Air Combat Command
* Ninth Air Force
* Khobar Towers
* Duke Field (Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field #3)
* Hurlburt Field (former Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field #9)
* Northwest Florida Regional Airport (located with Eglin AFB)
* Florida World War II Army Airfields


* Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982 USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C., 1989
* Ravenstein, Charles A., "Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977", Office of Air Force History, 1984
* Endicott, Judy G., "USAF Active Flying, Space, and Missile Squadrons as of 1 October 1995". Office of Air Force History
* Martin, Patrick, "Tail Code: The Complete History Of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings", 1994
* [ USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present]

External links

* [ Eglin Air Force Base] official site
** [ Eglin history]
* [ Eglin Air Force Base] at
* [ Eglin information] at
* [ Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms, a National Park Service "Discover Our Shared Heritage" Travel Itinerary]

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