- Grand Forks Air Force Base
name = Grand Forks Air Force Base
nativename = nobold|Part of
Air Mobility Command(AMC)
image-width = 250
USGSaerial photo as of 17 September 1997
IATA = RDR
ICAO = KRDR
FAA = RDR
type = Military:
Air Force Base
U.S. Air Force
Grand Forks, North Dakota
built = 1956
used = 1957 - present
commander = Colonel John E. Michel
319th Air Refueling Wing
elevation-f = 913
elevation-m = 278
coordinates = coord|47|57|40|N|097|24|04|W|type:airport_region:US
website = [http://public.grandforks.amc.af.mil/ public.grandforks.amc.af.mil]
r1-number = 17/35
r1-length-f = 12,350
r1-length-m = 3,764
footnotes = Source: FAAFAA-airport|ID=RDR|use=PR|own=MA|site=17349.13*A, effective 2008-07-31] and official web site [http://public.grandforks.amc.af.mil/ Grand Forks Air Force Base] , official site]
Grand Forks Air Force Base airport codes|RDR|KRDR|RDR, also known as Grand Forks AFB or GFAFB, is a base of the
United States Air Forcelocated in Grand Forks County, North Dakota15 miles (24 km) west of the city of Grand Forks, North Dakotaon U.S. Highway 2. It is part of the "Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area" or " Greater Grand Forks". As of the 2000 census, the base CDP had a total population of 4,832.
It is the home of the
319th Air Refueling Wing(319 ARW), which consists of the KC-135 Stratotankeraircraft under the Air Mobility Command(AMC).
Due to the continuance of the
Cold Warbetween the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Grand Forks AFB was originally built as an Air Defense Command(ADC) fighter-interceptor air base. The site for the base was chosen in 1954 and the land was paid for by the citizens of Grand Forks, the site was located convert|15|mi|km west of the city. The beginning of the convert|5400|acre|km2|sing=on air base started in 1956 with the construction of a convert|12300|ft|m|sing=on runway. In 1957, the air base brought the 478th Fighter Group into service. Between 1957 and 1959, the Grand Forks Air Defense Sector of NORADand SAGE became operational, which was able to cover three U.S. states and one Canadian province.
In 1958, the 4133rd Strategic Wing (4133 SW) was activated, which would soon add both
KC-135 Stratotankerrefeuling aircraft and B-52 Stratofortressbombers to the unit. 1960 was an important year for GFAFB when the 905th Air Refueling Squadron (905 ARS), the 18th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (18 FIS), and the 478th Fighter Wing (478 FW, which replaced the 478th Fighter Group) were all activated.
In 1962, GFAFB accepted the 30th Bombardment Squadron with B-52Gs from
Homestead AFB, Floridaand incorporated it into the 4133d Strategic Wing. In 1963, the 319th Bombardment Wing (319 BW) activated, replacing the inactived 4133rd Strategic Wing. In the same year, the Grand Forks Air Defense Sector and the 478th Fighter Wing were also deactivated, as the base's host switched to the Strategic Air Command(SAC). The 321st Strategic Missile Wing (321 SMW) was also established in November 1963 as the first LGM-30 MinutemanII intercontinental ballistic missile wing in SAC. In 1971, the 18th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was inactivated and the 460th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron replaced the unit. The 804th Combat Support group was soon inactivated in 1972, and in 1973 the upgrade of the Minuteman IIImissiles to 321 SMW was completed. In 1974, although the 460th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron won first place at the William Tell Air-to-Air Competition at Tyndall AFB, Florida, it was inactivated due to the restructuring of the air defense system.
In 1986, the last B-52Gs permanently departed GFAFB, replaced by the
B-1B Lancerin 1987. A change in the host unit occurred again, when in 1988, the 42nd Air Division was assigned for base support in place of the 321st SMW.
The next decade would bring some of the biggest changes to GFAFB. In 1991, the 42nd Air Division was inactivated. SAC was officially inactivated on
June 1, 1992, and the base initially became part of the newly established Air Combat Command(ACC). The base was later transferred to the new Air Mobility Command(AMC) in 1994 following the departure of the last [B-1B] aircraft, redesignation of the 319 BW as the 319th AIr Refueling Wing(319 ARW) and associated transfer of KC-135aircraft assets to AMC, and transfer of strategic ICBM assets to Air Force Space Command(AFSPC). The 321 SMW was downgraded to a missile group in early 1995 and inactivated entirely in 1998. GFAFB's first ICBM silo was imploded in accordance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) in 1999 and the last silo imploded in 2001. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/321st_Air_Expeditionary_Wing]
Base realignment, 2005
In May 2005, DoD recommended to the BRAC commission that GFAFB should be realigned. This would prevent the base from being closed, but would result in a significant loss in personnel levels as well as a loss of the tanker mission. To make up for these losses, the Air Force has proposed that a new family of
unmanned aerial vehicle(UAV) missions be located at the base as well as "emerging missions" in homeland security. Also, there have been some signs that the tanker mission might be retained with a new fleet of planes replacing the older ones.
Grand Forks AFB is located at coord|47|56|50|N|97|21|32|W|city (47.947341, -97.358877).GR|1
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the base has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21.2 km²), all land.
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 4,832 people, 1,279 households, and 1,230 families residing on the base. The population densitywas 590.5 people per square mile (228.1/km²). There were 1,516 housing units at an average density of 185.2/sq mi (71.6/km²). The racial makeup of the base was 80.86% White, 8.40% Black or African American, 0.89% Native American, 2.42% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 2.67% from other races, and 4.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.98% of the population.
There were 1,279 households out of which 77.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 88.5% were married couples living together, 4.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 3.8% were non-families. 3.0% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.41 and the average family size was 3.48.
On the base the population was spread out with 38.4% under the age of 18, 20.4% from 18 to 24, 39.4% from 25 to 44, 1.7% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age Was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 115.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 123.9 males.
The median income for a household on the base was $36,414, and the median income for a family was $36,104. Males had a median income of $24,413 versus $17,750 for females. The
per capita incomefor the base was $11,503. About 4.0% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under the age of 18 and none of those 65 and older.
*1954 The Department of Defense chose Grand Forks as the site for a new installation.
5 February 1956Contractors begin construction of the base.
8 February 1957 Air Defense Command(ADC) activated the 478th Fighter Groupat Grand Forks AFB as the host unit for the base.
1 September 1958 Strategic Air Command(SAC) activated the 4133d Strategic Wing (Provisional) as a tenant unit at Grand Forks AFB.
15 December 1959The Grand Forks Air Defense Sector of the North American Air Defense Command became operational with the Semi Automatic Ground Environment(SAGE) System.
1 May 1960The 18th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (FIS) was stationed at Grand Forks AFB with its F-101B Voodoos.
6 May 1960The 905th Air Refueling Squadron(ARS) (Heavy), a unit assigned to the 4133d Strategic Wing, received its first KC-135A Stratotanker.
28 December 1960The 478th Fighter Wingwas activated under the ADC and became the host unit for the base.
29 April 1962The 30th Bombardment Squadron, a unit assigned to the 4133d Strategic Wing, received its first B-52H Stratofortress.
1 February 1963Strategic Air Command organized the 319th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) at Grand Forks AFB. The 319 BMW became the host wing as the 4133d Strategic Wing inactivated and command of the base transferred from the ADC to SAC.
19 August 1964Strategic Air Command activated the 804th Combat Support Group (CSG) as the host unit at Grand Forks AFB.
1 September 1964Strategic Air Command stationed the 4th Air Division, later named 4th Strategic Aerospace Division, at Grand Fork AFB.
1 November 1964The 321st Strategic Missile Wing(SMW) was organized at Grand Forks AFB and construction began on its Minuteman II missile complex.
*December 1966 The
321 SMWbecame operational with the Minuteman II missile.
15 April 1971Air Defense Command inactivated 18 FIS.
30 June 1971The 4th Strategic Air Divisiontransferred to Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.
1 July 1971The 321 SMWassumed host unit duties from the 804 CSG.
30 July 1971Air Defense Command stationed the 460th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, with F-106 Delta Darts, at Grand Forks AFB.
8 March 1973The 321st Strategic Missile Wingcompleted an upgrade to Minuteman III missiles.
*1974 The ADC inactivated the 460 FIS.
*1986-1987 The 319th Bombardment Wing converted from the B-52G Stratofortress and KC-135A Stratotanker to the B-1B Lancer and KC-135R Stratotanker.
16 June 1988Strategic Air Command transferred the 42d Air Division(AD) to Grand Forks as the host support unit for the base.
9 July 1991Strategic Air Command inactivated the 42 AD and appointed the 319th Bombardment Wing as the host unit for the base.
1 September 1991The 319th Bombardment Wing was redesignated as the 319th Wing. The 321st Strategic Missile Wingwas redesignated as the 321st Missile Wing(MW).
1 June 1992The Air Force inactivated Strategic Air Command and reassigned Grand Forks AFB to Air Combat Command. The 319th Wing was redesignated as the 319th Bomb Wing. The 905 ARS was functionally reassigned to Grissom AFB, Indiana, although it continued to operate from Grand Forks AFB.
1 July 1993The 321 MWwas reassigned to Air Force Space Command.
1 October 1993The Air Force redesignated the 319th Bomb Wing as the 319th Air Refueling Wing, reassigned it to Air Mobility Command, and reassigned the 905th Air Refueling Squadron to the wing.
*1994 As part of restructuring at Grand Forks the Air Force reassigned the 906th, 911th, and
912th Air Refueling Squadrons to Grand Forks AFB.
26 May 1994The last B-1B Lancer departed from Grand Forks AFB, marking the end of over 30 years of bombers at Grand Forks.
1 July 1994Air Force Space Command redesignated the 321 MWas the 321st Missile Group(MG).
1 October 1995The Clinton Administration approved the Base Realignment and Closure IV committee's recommendation to remove 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles from the Grand Forks Air Force Base missile complex and inactivate the 321st Missile Group.
*April 1997 After a harsh winter, the Grand Forks area suffered a devastating flood. Members of the Grand Forks Air Force Base were called into action, first to help protect the town from the rising waters and later to house the victims of the disaster.
2 July 1998The 321st Missile Groupinactivated after 34 years of service at Grand Forks AFB.
6 October 1999The first missile silo was imploded in accordance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
24 August 2001The last missile silo was imploded in accordance with the START Treaty.
Central Air Defense Force(Air Defense Command)
* [http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Grand_Forks_AFB.htm Grand Forks AFB history] from Strategic-Air-Command.com
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/facility/grand_forks.htm Grand Forks AFB] at
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