March Joint Air Reserve Base

March Joint Air Reserve Base
March Joint Air Reserve Base

US Air Force Reserve Command Insignia.svg

Part of Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC)
Located near: Riverside, California
A C-17 Globemaster III from the 452d Air Mobility Wing at near by Riverside Municipal Airport
Coordinates 33°53′56″N 117°16′35″W / 33.89889°N 117.27639°W / 33.89889; -117.27639 (33.898848, -117.276285).[1]
Built 1918
In use 1917-Present
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Garrison 452d Air Mobility Wing.png 452d Air Mobility Wing
Airfield information
Elevation AMSL 1,535 ft / 468 m
Direction Length Surface
ft m
14/32 13,300 4,054 Concrete
12/30 3,010 917 Asphalt
March ARB is located in California
March ARB
Location of March Air Reserve Base, California
The control tower at March

March Joint Air Reserve Base (IATA: RIVICAO: KRIVFAA LID: RIV) is located in Riverside County, California between the cities of Riverside and Moreno Valley. It is the home to the Air Force Reserve Command's 4th Air Force (4 AF) Headquarters and the 452d Air Mobility Wing (452 AMW), the largest air mobility wing of the 4th Air Force.[2] In addition to multiple units of the Air Force Reserve Command supporting Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces, March ARB is also home to units from the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and the California Air National Guard. For almost 50 years, March AFB was a Strategic Air Command base during the Cold War.

March is one of the oldest airfields operated by the United States military, being established as Alessandro Flying Training Field in February 1918. The airfield was renamed March Field the following month for 2nd Lt Peyton C. March, Jr., the recently deceased son of then-Army Chief of Staff Peyton C. March, who was killed in an air crash in Texas just fifteen days after being commissioned.[3]




The establishment of March Air Force Base began in the early 1900s at a time when the United States was rushing to build up its military forces in anticipation of an entry into World War I. In 1917, in response to news from the front lines, Congressional appropriations attempted to back the plans of General George O. Squier, the Army's chief signal officer, to "put the Yankee punch into the war by building an army in the air".[4]

At the same time, the War Department announced its intentions to build several new military installations. Efforts by Frank Miller, then owner of the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, Hiram Johnson and others, succeeded in gaining War Department approval to construct an airfield at Alessandro Field located near Riverside, an airstrip used by aviators from Rockwell Field on cross-country flights from San Diego.[4]

The Army quickly set about establishing the new air field. Sergeant Charles E. Garlick, who had landed at Alessandro Field in a Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" in November 1917, was selected to lead the advance contingent of four men to the new base from Rockwell Field. On February 26, 1918, Garlick and his crew and a group of muleskinners from nearby Colton, known to be experts in clearing land as well as for their colorful syntax, began the task of excavating the building foundations, and on March 1, 1918, Alessandro Flying Training Field was opened.[4]

United States Army Air Service use

USAAC Roundel 1926-1941.svg
A Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" on a training flight during World War I. This is the type of aircraft used at March Field during this era for basic pilot training of military pilots.

On March 20, 1918, Alessandro Flying Training Field became March Field, named in honor of Second Lieutenant Peyton C. March, Jr., son of the Army Chief of Staff, who had been killed when his Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" crashed in Fort Worth, Texas the previous month. His crash occurred two weeks after he had been commissioned in the regular United States Army Air Service.[3] By late April 1918, enough progress had been made in the construction of the new field to allow the arrival of the first troops. The commander of the 818th Aero Squadron detachment, Captain William Carruthers, took over as the field's first commander and for a time operated out of an office in the Mission Inn. Within a record 60 days, the grain stubble-covered plain of Moreno Valley had been partially transformed to include twelve hangars, six barracks equipped for 150 men each, mess halls, a machine shop, post exchange, hospital, a supply depot, an aero repair building, bachelor officer's quarters and a residence for the commanding officer.[4]

March Field's first primary mission was pilot training. The signing of the armistice in November 1918 did not halt training at March Field initially but by 1921, the decision had been made to phase down all activities at the new base in accordance with sharply reduced military budgets. In April 1923, March Field closed its doors with one sergeant left in charge.[4] Known training units at March Field during this era were:

  • 215th Aero Sq (Sq B) March - November 1918
  • 68th Aero Sq (Sq A) June - November 1918
  • 289th Aero Sq August - November 1918
  • 293rd Aero Sq (Sq D) June - November 1918
  • 311th Aero Sq (Sq E) June - November 1918
  • 311th Aero Sq (Sq C) June - November 1918
  • 9th Aero Sq 22 July - 2 August, 15 November - 11 December 1919
  • 19th Aero Sq 1 October - 29 June 1921
  • 23rd Aero Sq 1 October 1921 - 21 March 1922

United States Army Air Corps use

Us army air corps shield.svg
Oblique aerial photo of March Field, taken in March 1932 looking southeast to northwest.

March Field remained quiet for only a short time. In July 1926, Congress created the Army Air Corps and approved the Army's five-year plan which called for an expansion in pilot training and the activation of tactical units. Accordingly, funds were appropriated for the reopening of March Field in March 1927.[4]

Colonel William C. Gardenhire, assigned to direct the refurbishment of the base, had just directed his crews to replace underpinnings of many of the previous buildings when he received word the future construction would be in Spanish Mission architectural design. In time, March Field would receive permanent structures. The rehabilitation effort was nearly complete in August 1927, when Major Millard F. Harmon reported in to take over the job of base commander and commandant of the flying school. Classes began shortly after his arrival. The 13th School Group and its 47th and 53rd School Squadrons provided primary and basic flying training for future Air Force leaders such as Hoyt Vandenberg, Nathan Twining, Thomas Power and Curtis LeMay.[4]

As March Field began to take on the appearance of a permanent military installation, the base's basic mission changed. When Randolph Field began to function as a training site in 1931, March Field became an operational base. Before the end of the year, the 7th Bombardment Group, commanded by Major Carl A. Spaatz, brought its Curtiss B-2 Condor and Keystone B-3A bombers to the airfield. The activation of the 17th Pursuit Group and several subordinate units along with the arrival of the 1st Bombardment Wing initiated a period where March Field became associated with the Air Corps' heaviest aircraft as well as an assortment of fighters. Aircraft on March's flightline in the 1930s included Keystone B-4, Martin B-10/B-12 and Douglas B-18 Bolo bombers; Boeing P-12, P-26 Peashooter, and Curtiss P-36 Hawk pursuit aircraft; Northrop A-17A dive bombers and Douglas O-38 observation aircraft.[4]

In the decade before World War II, March Field took on much of its current appearance and also began to gain prominence. Lieutenant Colonel Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, base commander from 1931 to 1936, began a series of well-publicized maneuvers to gain public attention. This resulted in a visit by Governor James Rolph in March 1932, numerous visits by Hollywood celebrities including Bebe Daniels, Wallace Berry, Rochelle Hudson and others, and visits by famous aviators including Amelia Earhart. Articles in Los Angeles newspapers also kept March Field in the news and brought to it considerable public attention. The completion of the first phase of permanent buildings in 1934 added to the scenic quality of the base.[4]

Photos of USAAC Aircraft at March Field

World War II

Oblique aerial photo of March Field in May 1940, just before World War II, looking north to south.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 quickly brought March Field back into the business of training aircrews. Throughout World War II, many soon-to-be-famous bombardment groups performed their final training at March before embarking for duty in the Pacific. During this period, the base doubled in area and at the zenith of the war effort supported approximately 75,000 troops. At the same time, the government procured a similar-sized tract west of the San Diego highway that bordered the base and established Camp Haan as an anti-aircraft artillery training facility. It supported 85,000 troops at the height of its activity. In 1946, Camp Haan became a part of March's real estate holding when operations at the base returned to a more normal setting.[4]

On a lighter note, entertainer Bob Hope's first USO show was held at March on May 6, 1941. Hope had been asked to do this show on location by his radio producer Albert Capstaff, whose brother was stationed there. Jack Benny later originated his own radio program from March Field on January 11, 1942.[4]

Post War

Tactical Air Command

Tactical Air Command.JPG

After the war, March reverted to its operational role and was assigned to the new Tactical Air Command (TAC) as part of the postwar reorganization of the Army Air Force. March was allocated to TAC's Twelfth Air Force. The first TAC unit to be assigned was the 1st Fighter Group, under the command of Col. Frank S. Perego, being reactivated at March on 3 July 1946, replacing and absorbing the assets of the wartime 412th Fighter Group. At the time of its activation, the group's three squadrons (the 27th, 71st, and 94th Fighter Squadrons) flew Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, (After 11 June 1948 F-80), America's first operational jet fighter.

Few members of the 1st Fighter Group foresaw subsequent difficulties in the summer of 1946 as they trained with their new jet fighters. The 412th had reported in the summer of 1945 that the P-80 would be well suited for bomber escort, counterair, and ground support. The 1st Fighter Group trained for these and other possible strategic and tactical missions. Pilot inexperience and mechanical difficulties combined to give the P-80 a high accident rate, while parts shortages curtailed operational training. Even so, the 1st Fighter Group maintained a heavy schedule of demonstration flights that served to introduce the fighter to a curious public.[4]

Lockheed F-80s of the 1st Fighter Group, 1949. F-80C 49-493 undergoing maintenance, and F-80B 45-8704 behind it. 8704 is now on permanent display at the Aerospace Museum of California, located at the former McClellan AFB, near Sacramento.

On August 15, 1947, the 1st Fighter Wing was activated as part of AAF Regulation 20-15, "Reorganization of AAF Base Units and Installations," on 27 June 1947. This regulation, which laid out what became known as the "Wing" or "Wing-Base" plan, prescribed a standard organizational setup for all Army Air Force bases worldwide. The plan called for the creation of a wing headquarters that established policy and supervised four functional groups: an operational group, an air base group, a maintenance and supply group, and a medical group. The 1st Fighter Group became the operational group of the new Wing.[4]

In 1947, the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group (later Wing) was activated as part of a service-wide, wing-base test and assigned to March. When the wing was activated, only the 67th Reconnaissance Group was fully operational. The group was equipped with Douglas FA-26 Invaders (RB-26 after 1948) and Lockheed FP-80's (RF-80s after 1948) and was integrated with the 1st Fighter Wing, performing a wide array of day and night photographic missions in southern California. Budget constraints, though, resulted in the wing's inactivation in March 1949.[4]

Continental Air Command

Continental Air Command.png

In December 1948, Twelfth Air Force and March AFB were assigned from Tactical Air Command to Continental Air Command (ConAC), established on December 1, 1948. ConAC assumed jurisdiction over both TAC and the Air Defense Command (ADC). This move reflected an effort to concentrate all fighter forces deployed within the continental United States to strengthen the air defense of the North American continent.

The creation of ConAC was largely an administrative convenience: the units assigned to ConAC were dual-trained and expected to revert to their primary strategic or tactical roles after the air defense battle was won. The 1st Fighter Wing was subsequently transferred from Twelfth Air Force/TAC to Fourth Air Force/ ConAC on December 20, 1948. The first F-86As, assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron, arrived on February 15, 1949. By the end of June the wing had received seventy-nine of its eighty-three authorized F-86s.[4]

Strategic Air Command

Shield Strategic Air Command.png

On May 1, 1949, March became a part of the Strategic Air Command and the Fifteenth Air Force. The Fifteenth Air Force, along with the 33d Communications Squadron, moved to March from Colorado Springs. On May 10, the 22d Bombardment Wing was reassigned to March from Smoky Hill Air Force Base, Kansas. The 22d was equipped with the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. The 1st Fighter Wing was subsequently attached to the 22d BW on 1 July as the 22d Wing's headquarters was initially non-operational and its operational components were detached so it shared a commander with the 1st Fighter Wing. The 22nd Bomb Wing became operational on May 1, 1949 and the 1st Fighter Wing was attached to it with both wings sharing the same commanding officer.[4]

The new F-86A fighter developed numerous teething troubles during its first months of service, but 1st Fighter Group mechanics gradually overcame these difficulties. When the squadrons found themselves able to launch large formations on schedule, they competed to establish various formation records. The purpose of this exercise became clear in early January 1950, when the 1st Fighter Group deployed a sizable contingent of aircraft to participate in the filming of the RKO Pictures film Jet Pilot. The group claimed a final formation record on 4 January when it passed a twenty-four plane formation (consisting of eight aircraft from each squadron) "before the cameras." (Note: The film was not released to theaters until October 1957, by which time the F-86A was obsolete).[4]

The 1st Fighter Group formed its own aerial demonstration team in January 1950. The team, dubbed the "Sabre Dancers," was composed of five members of the 27th Fighter Squadron. The Sabre Dancers made what was probably their most widely viewed flight on 22 April 1950, when they performed before an Armed Forces Day audience at Eglin AFB, Florida, that included President Harry S. Truman, most of his Cabinet, and numerous other political leaders.[4]

On April 16, 1950, the 1st Fighter Wing was redesignated as the 1st Fighter-Interceptor Wing. On June 30, 1950, the 1st Fighter-Interceptor Group was assigned to the 1st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, which was itself assigned to Fifteenth Air Force and SAC. On July 1, the wing was relieved from assignment to Fifteenth Air Force and SAC and assigned to the Fourth Air Force and ConAC. Two days later the wing issued orders establishing advanced parties of its headquarters and component organizations at Victorville (later George) AFB, California. The wing made its permanent change of station move to Victorville on July 18.[4]

Korean War

Detached from the wing, the 22d Bombardment Group deployed its B-29s in early July 1950 to Kadena AB, Okinawa, where it came under control of FEAF Bomber Command (Provisional). On July 13, the group flew its first mission, against the marshalling yards and oil refinery at Wonsan, North Korea. By October 21, it had amassed fifty-seven missions against the enemy, attacking bridges, factories, industrial targets, troop concentrations, airfields, marshalling yards, communications centers, and port facilities. During four months of combat in the Korean War, the group flew 335 sorties with only fourteen aborts and dropped over 6,500 tons of bombs. It redeployed to the United States in late October and November 1950.[4]

On January 2, 1951, the 44th Bombardment Wing was activated and assigned to Fifteenth Air Force. It was equipped with refurbished B-29 and TB-29 bombers drawn from mothballed World War II storage at Pyote AFB in Texas and Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona. It was reassigned to the 12th Air Division of Fifteenth Air Force on February 10, 1951, and then the 21st Air Division within Fifteenth Air Force on August 4, 1951. The Wing moved to Lake Charles AFB, Louisiana, on August 1, 1951.[4]

On March 28, 1951, the California Air National Guard 106th Bombardment Group was activated to federal service at March and put on active duty. The group was initially equipped with refurbished B-29s and its mission was to train reservists to backfill rotating B-29 combat crews serving in Korea. While the reservists were undergoing training they were paid on the lesser reserve pay scale. The group was redesignated as the 320th Bombardment Wing replacing the 106th in December 1952. At March, the wing conducted global bombardment training and air refueling operations to meet SAC commitments. Trained B-47 cadre for 96th Bombardment Wing, Medium, December 1953-January 1955. Deployed as a wing to RAF Brize Norton, England, 5 June-4 September 1954, and Andersen AFB, Guam, 5 October 1956-11 January 1957. The 320th was inactivated on December 15, 1960. Also during the Korean War, the Air Force Reserve 330th Bombardment Group, was ordered to active duty on May 1, 1951 at March. The 330th flew borrowed B-29s from the 106th Bomb Group to train the reservists on the aircraft. The group was inactivated on June 16 and its personnel were sent to bases in Japan and Okinawa as replacements for active-duty personnel with B-29 groups.[4]

Cold War

Following the return of the 22d Bombardment Group from Korea, the wing trained for proficiency in global strategic bombardment, and in 1952, the wing took delivery of Boeing KC-97 tankers, adding aerial refueling to its mission. The following year, the wing retired its B-29 fleet and replaced them with the jet-powered Boeing B-47 "Stratojet". In 1954, 22d Wing aircrews flew the longest non-stop mass flight in history: 5,840 miles (9,400 km) from England to California. General Archie Old, the Fifteenth Air Force commander, led a flight of three B-52 Stratofortresses in a non-stop around-the-world flight termed "Power Flight" in just 45 hours, 19 minutes. The wing deployed to RAF Upper Heyford, England from December 1953 to March 1954.[5]

In 1960, the 452d Troop Carrier Wing was activated at March. This established the presence of the Air Force Reserve on the base with their Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars. The wing was not tactically operational 11 March - 15 September 1963, while the 2nd Bombardment Squadron converted to Boeing B-52B bombers and KC-135 jet tankers replaced the KC-97s. In 1966, the 2d Bomb Squadron converted to the B-52D and gained a commitment to forward deploy to the Pacific and engage in combat during the Vietnam War. In 1966, the wing absorbed the B-52Ds and added the 486th Bombardment Squadron from the 340 Bomb Wing at Bergstrom AFB, Texas when Bergstrom converted to a TAC Reconnaissance base. The addition of a second tanker and bomber squadron made the 22d a "Super" wing.[4]

Vietnam War

From March to October 1967 the 22d wing was reduced to a small "rear-echelon" non-tactical organization with all tactical resources and most support resources loaned to SAC organizations involved in combat operations in Southeast Asia from U-Tapao, Thailand and Andersen AFB, Guam. During U.S. aerial bombardment of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, the 22d Bombardment Wing deployed its planes several times and the base served as a logistical springboard for supplies and equipment en route to the Pacific. Near the end of the conflict, March operated as one of the reception centers for returning prisoners of war.[4]

The wing continued to support SAC operations in the Far East and Southeast Asia through 1975, and from April 1972 to October 1973 the wing again had all its bomber resources loaned to other organizations for combat and contingency operations. Its KC-135 resources were also on loan from April to September 1972; afterwards, a few tankers returned to wing control.[5]

Refueling mission

The 22d maintained a strategic bombardment alert posture from 1973–1982, but in 1978 it added conventional warfare missions, including mine-laying and sea reconnaissance/surveillance. After the retirement of the B-52D in 1982, the 22nd Bombardment Wing was renamed the 22d Air Refueling Wing and re-equipped with new KC-10A Extenders (based on the DC-10 airliner), making the 22nd the second Air Force unit to use the giant new tankers. Within months after the first KC-10 arrived at the base on August 11, 1982, crews quickly realized the ability of the new aircraft to carry cargo and passengers as well as impressive fuel loads over long distances. Two months later, the wing lost its bomber mission and became the 22nd Air Refueling Wing. The 163d Fighter Group of the California Air National Guard also arrived in 1982, bringing with them their F-4 Phantom IIs.[4][5]

The 22nd used the KC-10A's cargo, passenger, and fuel load capacity to provide support during the evacuation of U.S. nationals as part of the invasion of Grenada in 1983. In December 1989, the wing's 22nd Air Refueling Squadron inactivated and all its KC-135A Stratotankers were retired or transferred to other SAC bases. This left the KC-10-equipped 6th and 9th ARS's as the wing's only flying squadrons.[5] The base was listed on the National Priorities List as a Superfund site on November 21, 1989.[6]

Post-Cold War

In July 1990, the 163d Tactical Fighter Group changed missions and was re-designated the 163rd Tactical Reconnaissance Group, equipped with RF-4C Phantom II aircraft. The 22 ARW supported F-117 deployments to Saudi Arabia and contributed aircraft and personnel to logistics efforts in support of the liberation of Kuwait from 1990-1991. On June 1, 1992, a major Air Force reorganization resulted in the disestablishment of the Strategic Air Command. The 22d ARW was assigned to the new Air Mobility Command, and from the end of 1992 to 1994, the wing flew humanitarian airlift missions to Somalia. It also provided air refueling in support of deployments to Haiti in 1994.[5]

Photos of Strategic Air Command Aircraft


In March 1993, March Air Force Base was selected for realignment under the Base Closure and Realignment [BRAC] III with an effective date of March 31, 1996. In August 1993, the 445th Military Airlift Wing transferred to March from the closing Norton AFB in nearby San Bernardino. On January 3, 1994, the 22d Air Refueling Wing was reassigned without aircraft to McConnell AFB, Kansas, replacing the deactivating 384th Bomb Wing. The Air Force Reserve 722d Air Refueling Wing stood up at March and absorbed the assets of the reassigned 22d. March's KC-10A aircraft assets would later be transferred to the 60th Airlift Wing, redesignated as the 60th Air Mobility Wing, at Travis AFB, California.[5]

As part of the Air Force's realignment and transition, March's two Reserve units, the 445th Military Airlift Wing operating the C-141 Starlifter and the 452d Air Refueling Wing operating the KC-135 Stratotanker were deactivated and their personnel and equipment joined under the 452d Air Mobility Wing (452 AMW) on April 1, 1994. At approximately the same time, the 163d Tactical Reconnaissance Group also changed mission and became the 163rd Air Refueling Wing (163 ARW), operating the KC-135. On April 1, 1996, March officially became March Air Reserve Base under the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), ending a 78-year active duty military presence.[5]

Major commands

Major units

United States Army Air Service (1918–1923)

United States Army Air Corps (1927–1941)

United States Army Air Forces (1941–1947)

United States Air Force (1947–1996)

Present day

A KC-135 Refueling Tanker at March

The host unit at March is the Air Force Reserve's 452d Air Mobility Wing (452 AMW), which in addition to its operational flying mission, also provides host base support for numerous tenant units. March JARB is also the home to Headquarters, 4th Air Force (4 AF) of the Air Force Reserve Command and multiple units of the California Air National Guard.

In 2005, the 452nd retired the venerable C-141 Starlifter and commenced transition to the C-17 Globemaster III as the first AFRC unit to operate the aircraft as an independent wing not associated with an active duty C-17 wing.[5] March is currently home to nine C-17 Globemaster IIIs, which belong strictly to the Air Force Reserve Command, as well as twelve KC-135R Stratotankers. The tankers were the first in the Air Force Reserve to convert to the Block 40 Pacer CRAG modernization upgrade.

In 2007, the 163rd also saw a change in mission, transferring its KC-135R aircraft to other Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units, with the majority of its aircraft transferred to the 452 AMW at March. The unit was then redesignated as the 163d Reconnaissance Wing (163 RW), operating the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial system. With this change, the 163 RW also changed operational claiamncy from Air Mobility Command (AMC) to Air Combat Command (ACC).

Other activities at March ARB include F-16C/D alert site operations of the California Air National Guard's 144th Fighter Wing (144 FW), which is also operationally-gained by ACC.

Civilian agency flight activities include a permanently based U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air Unit, as well as a California Department of Forestry air unit that uses the base on an intermittent basis.

While the host unit is the 452 AMW, tenant organizations include the Fourth Air Force (4 AF) under Maj Gen Eric W.Crabtree, the 163d Reconnaissance Wing, the 701st Combat Operations Squadron (701 COS), the 4th Combat Camera Squadron (4 CTCS), the 144th Fighter Wing Detachment, the American Forces Network Broadcast Center, the 362nd Recruiting Squadron, U.S. Customs, the March Aero Club, the March Field Air Museum, the Air Force Audit Agency, a detachment from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations out of San Diego, CA; Selective Service System Detachment 3-3, several U.S. Army Reseve units from the 63rd Regional Support Command,Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA; the 358th Civil Affairs Brigade, part of USACAPOC, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and units from the California Army National Guard. In recent years both the California Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve have built new buildings at March ARB, with the Army Reserve dedicating their initial buuilding in 2009, called the U.S. Army Reserve Center, Moreno Valley, CA. Navy Operational Support Center Moreno Valley, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Base Exchange, and the March Commissary administered by the Defense Commissary Agency (DECA). In 2009, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve moved their units from March, leaving their Marine Corps Reserve Center to the custody of NOSC Moreno Valley and the Navy Reserve, although the Marine facility is presently empty in a caretaker status.

In 2010, the 912th Air Refueling Squadron (912 ARS) was reactivated and assigned to March. An active duty squadron of the Regular Air Force and the Air Mobility Command (AMC), the 912 ARS will be part of the 452 AMW under the "Active Associate" concept, working in tandem with the Air Force Reserve Command's 336th Air Refueling Squadron and 452nd Maintenance Group, while remaining under the administrative control of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing (92 ARW) at Fairchild AFB, Washington. [7][8]

In 2003, the Air Force Reserve Command changed the name of March Air Reserve Base to that of March Joint Air Reserve Base.

Possible redevelopment

The former March AFB land no longer needed as a result of the downsizing was given to the March Joint Powers Authority, a commission that represents the county and the base's adjoining cities. A prime example was the former SAC B-52 and KC-135 Alert Facility on the south end of the airfield. This land, now called March GlobalPort, has been developed as an air cargo center and in 2004 it was announced that air freight corporation DHL/ ABX Air was considering the base for its new Southern California hub. Competition from nearby San Bernardino International Airport (formerly Norton AFB) and Ontario International Airport, as well as opposition from residents of fast-growing Riverside and Moreno Valley, significantly reduced the viability of the March GlobalPort location. Yet despite this drawbacks, DHL / ABX Air announced on December 10, 2004 that it had chosen March as its preferred site. On December 15, 2004, DHL signed a 16-year joint-use agreement with the March Joint Powers Authority, with the company's operation expected to ultimately employ 250 to 300 workers and operate 16 cargo flights per day.[9]

By November 2008, severe competition and a weakening global economy forced DHL to announce that it would close its March GlobalPort facility by early 2009 due to low profitability. This was part of a greater DHL business model which entailed completely shutting down all domestic shipping within the US.[10] A new commercial tenant for the March GlobalPort facility has yet to be determined.

Additional proposals to convert March Air Reserve Base into a joint civil-military public use airport have also been a topic of discussion. However, multiple issues have continued to draw this proposal into question.[11][12] An original plan had the March Joint Powers Authority signing an agreement to convert March into a joint-use civil-military airport, sharing facilities between the military, DHL and the public. However, DHL's recent retrenchment from their facility at March significantly impacted the viability of such a proposal. Conversion of March into a joint civil-military facility for general aviation beyond the USAF-operated March Aero Club, as well as possible regional airline operations, has also been the subject of public protest and debate due to the potential increase in noise pollution, interference with military operations and the lack of a definitive funding stream for expanded civilian flight operations at March ARB, to include ground traffic/transportation infrastructure and requisite TSA security enhancements.[12]

A C-17 and USAF Heritage Flight at March Airfest 2010.

March Field Airfest

The March Field Airfest, also known as Thunder Over the Empire, is a biennial air show held at March. The air show is among the largest events in the Inland Empire and Riverside County. The show has featured such performers as the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, the F-22 Raptor and many other military and civilian demonstrations. 2010 saw the Patriots Jet Team as the highlight demonstration team of the show. Attendance for the 2010 show was estimated at over 150,000.[13]


March ARB is located at 33°53′56″N 117°16′35″W / 33.89889°N 117.27639°W / 33.89889; -117.27639 (33.898848, -117.276285).[1] According to the United States Census Bureau, the base has a total area of 12.0 square miles (31 km2), all of it land.

The United States Census Bureau has designated the base as its own census-designated place for statistical purposes. It had a population of 1,159 at the 2010 census, up from 370 as of the 2000 census. The ZIP code is 92518 and the area code 951.



The 2010 United States Census[14] reported that March ARB had a population of 1,159. The population density was 97.0 people per square mile (37.4/km²). The racial makeup of March ARB was 811 (70.0%) White, 171 (14.8%) African American, 10 (0.9%) Native American, 35 (3.0%) Asian, 2 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 93 (8.0%) from other races, and 37 (3.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 172 persons (14.8%).

The Census reported that 1,011 people (87.2% of the population) lived in households, 110 (9.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 38 (3.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 563 households, out of which 91 (16.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 196 (34.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 61 (10.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 11 (2.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 5 (0.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 2 (0.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 273 households (48.5%) were made up of individuals and 214 (38.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.80. There were 268 families (47.6% of all households); the average family size was 2.55.

The population was spread out with 156 people (13.5%) under the age of 18, 36 people (3.1%) aged 18 to 24, 155 people (13.4%) aged 25 to 44, 246 people (21.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 566 people (48.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 63.0 years. For every 100 females there were 106.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.4 males.

There were 716 housing units at an average density of 59.9 per square mile (23.1/km²), of which 81 (14.4%) were owner-occupied, and 482 (85.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 17.4%. 119 people (10.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 892 people (77.0%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 370 people, 115 households, and 93 families residing in the base. The population density was 59.4 people per square mile (22.9/km²). There were 152 housing units at an average density of 24.4 per square mile (9.4/km²). The racial makeup of the base was 64.6% White, 17.8% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 4.6% Asian, 1.9% Pacific Islander, 3.0% from other races, and 7.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.9% of the population.

There were 115 households out of which 50.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.1% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.3% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.2 and the average family size was 3.6.

In the base the population was spread out with 37.0% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 35.1% from 25 to 44, 14.9% from 45 to 64, and 4.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 111.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.8 males.

The median income for a household in the base was $31,364, and the median income for a family was $30,455. Males had a median income of $40,625 versus $17,321 for females. The per capita income for the base was $13,765. About 10.8% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.7% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.


In the state legislature March ARB is located in the 37th Senate District, represented by Republican Bill Emmerson, and in the 64th and 65th Assembly Districts, represented by Republicans Brian Nestande and Paul Cook respectively. Federally, March ARB is located in California's 44th and 45th congressional districts, which have Cook PVIs of R +6 and R +3 respectively[16] and are represented by Republicans Ken Calvert and Mary Bono Mack.

See also



  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ "US 4th Air Force". Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Armed Services Press, Welcome to March Air Force Base - 1971 Unofficial Guide and Directory, Riverside, California, 1971, page 3.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "History of March Air Force Base". Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "The 452nd Air Mobility Wing". March Air Reserve Base. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  6. ^ "March Air Force Base Superfund site progress profile". EPA. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  7. ^ Muckenfuss, Mark (December 3, 2010). "Newsletters | Share Riverside: March Air Reserve Base gets new squadron". The Press Enterprise. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Trone, Kinberly (December 11, 2004). "DHL Picks March". The Press-Enterprise. pp. A1. 
  10. ^ "DHL to unload U.S. operations, close West Coast hub in Riverside". The Press Enterprise. November 10, 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  11. ^ "March air base gets tentative OK for general aviation". The Press Enterprise. May 5, 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  12. ^ a b "Civilian aircraft rocket to top of March Joint Powers Commission's agenda". The Press Enterprise. May 7, 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  13. ^ Soifer, Jerry (May 1, 2010). "Crowds get an up-close look at F-22 Raptors at March Airfest in Moreno Valley". The Press Enterprise. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  14. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 

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