|Little Rock Air Force Base|
|Jacksonville, Arkansas in United States of America|
A C-130J Super Hercules taxis onto the flight line at Little Rock AFB after returning from supporting operations in Southwest Asia in September 2015.
|Type||US Air Force base|
|Owner||Department of Defense|
|Operator||US Air Force|
|Controlled by||Air Mobility Command (AMC)|
|In use||1955 - present|
|Colonel John M. Schutte|
|Identifiers||IATA: LRF, ICAO: KLRF, FAA LID: LRF, WMO: 723405|
|Elevation||94.4 metres (310 ft) AMSL|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Little Rock AFB is the primary C-130 Hercules training base for the Department of Defense, training C-130 pilots, navigators, flight engineers, and loadmasters from all branches of the US military in tactical airlift and aerial delivery. It is home to C-130H and C-130J aircraft, as well as the C-130 Center of Excellence (i.e., schools for C-130H and C-130J crews).
The host unit at Little Rock AFB is the 19th Airlift Wing (19 AW), assigned to the Air Mobility Command 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force. The wing provides the Department of Defense the largest C-130 Hercules transport fleet in the world, supplying humanitarian airlift relief to victims of disasters, as well as airdropping supplies and troops into the heart of contingency operations in hostile areas.
Other organizations at Little Rock AFB include the 189th Airlift Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard, and the C-130 division of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School. All of these organizations fly the C-130 Hercules.
Little Rock Air Force Base is the fourth largest employer in the state of Arkansas, with a local economic impact of $813.6 million.
Little Rock Air Force Base was authorized in 1953 and construction began on 6 November 1953.
The base opened on 24 January 1955 with 6,100 acres donated by landowners, valued at $1.2 million in 1952. Communications and several storage buildings, JATO facility, ordnance igloos, track and loading platform were completed by 30 June 1955, and the base was opened to limited air traffic on 9 September 1955. The base headquarters facility was accepted 31 January 1956, and all runways and other operational concrete areas were completed by January 1957.
The base was officially activated by Strategic Air Command (SAC) on 1 August 1955, hosting SAC's 384th Bombardment Wing (384 BW) flying the Boeing B-47E Stratojet, and the 70th Reconnaissance Wing (70 RW) flying the RB-47 Stratojet and KC-97 Stratofreighter.
In 1960, the Air Force announced that Little Rock Air Force Base would house 18 Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles located throughout the state of Arkansas. In 1961, the 70 RW was redesignated as the 70th Bombardment Wing (Medium) and converted to the B-47, but was inactivated the following year before being declared combat-ready.
In October 1962, the 384th Bomb Wing deployed 11 Boeing B-47 Stratojet aircraft to civilian municipal airports around the nation for dispersal alert purposes during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Also in 1962, SAC established the 308th Strategic Missile Wing (308 SMW) as the host organization for Little Rock AFB's Titan II missile operations, with the first of the Titan II missiles installed at a site in Searcy, Arkansas in February 1963.
In September 1964, the 384th Bomb Wing inactivated following the retirement of the B-47 from front-line service in SAC. That same year, SAC's 43d Bombardment Wing transferred from Carswell AFB, Texas with its B-58 Hustler supersonic aircraft. The 43d Bomb Wing would continue to operate at Little Rock until the B-58s were withdrawn from operational service in January 1970.
In June 1965, Little Rock's 189 TRG became the first Air National Guard unit to operate the RF-101 Voodoo and by December, had assumed the RF-101 Replacement Training Unit (RTU) mission for the entire Air Force. The same year, the base and associated flying units also participated in various relief efforts such as a tornado that ripped through Conway, Arkansas in April and Hurricane Betsy in Louisiana in September.
In the 1970s the base went through significant changes, with the first C-130 Hercules aircraft arriving in March 1970. On 31 March 1970, Little Rock Air Force Base officially transferred from SAC to Tactical Air Command (TAC), with TAC's 314th Tactical Airlift Wing (314 TAW) taking over host wing responsibilities. Although SAC's 308 SMW and its Titan II ICBMs continued to be a major tenant, the base's primary mission became C-130 tactical airlift operations and training, with two operational C-130 squadrons assigned and two C-130 training squadrons assigned. In 1974, following the divestiture of C-130 tactical airlift aircraft from TAC, both the 314 TAW and Little Rock AFB transferred from TAC control to that of the Military Airlift Command (MAC).
On 1 January 1976, the 189 TRG transferred being a TAC-gained unit to a SAC-gained unit when it converted to the KC-135 Stratotanker and was redesignated the 189th Air Refueling Group (189 ARG), becoming one of the first Air National Guard units to be assigned to Strategic Air Command with a concomitant requirement to maintain a 24-hour alert force at Little Rock as well as deployments to support worldwide tanker task forces.
On 18 September 1980, an airman conducting maintenance on a USAF Titan II missile at Little Rock Air Force Base's Launch Complex 374-7 in Southside (Van Buren County), just north of Damascus, Arkansas, dropped a socket which fell impacting the rocket's first stage fuel tank resulting in a leak. In response, evacuations were made in the area. The leaking fuel exploded on 19 September. The force of the blast resulted in the W53 nuclear warhead being hurled about 100 feet (30 m) from the launch complex's entry gate; its safety features operated correctly and prevented any loss of radioactive material. An Air Force airman was killed and the launch complex was destroyed.
On 1 October 1986, the 189 ARG saw yet another mission change when it was redesignated as the 189th Tactical Airlift Group (189 TAG) and converted to the C-130 aircraft, with transfer of operational claimancy to MAC.
During the 1991 Gulf War, the 314 TAW's two operational C-130 squadrons and the 189 TAG's C-130 squadron supported operations from both the middle east and European theaters. Later that year, the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing was redesignated as the 314th Airlift Wing (314 AW), and following the disestablishment of MAC in 1992, the base and the 314 AW were transferred to the new Air Mobility Command (AMC). The 189 TAG was also redesignated as the 189th Airlift Group (189 AG) the same year, followed by redesignation as the 189th Airlift Wing (189 AW) in 1995.
In 1993, the base and the 314 AW transferred to Air Combat Command (ACC), as part the U.S. Air Force's decision to transfer continental U.S.-based C-130s from AMC to ACC. In 1997, the U.S. Air Force reversed this decision, returning most C-130 airlift back to AMC claimancy. However, given the 314 AW's primary training mission as the Formal Training Unit (FTU) for C-130s, the base and the 314 AW were transferred to the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), and the base's two operational Regular Air Force C-130 squadrons were organized under the 463d Airlift Group, an AMC unit.
From the mid-1990s to the late 1990s, the 314 AW and the 463 AG supported the air war over Serbia and since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the 463 AG has supported both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom until the 463 AG was inactivated on 1 October 2008.
In its 50-year history, Little Rock Air Force Base has been operated by six Air Force Major Commands (MAJCOMs): SAC, TAC, MAC, AMC, ACC, and AETC. These represent every possible MAJCOM a continental U.S.-based operational flying base could have been assigned to except for the former Air Defense Command/Aerospace Defense Command (ADC), Air Force Systems Command (AFSC), and the current Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).
References for history introduction, major commands and major units
This article appears to contain a large number of buzzwords. (March 2015)
Little Rock Air Force Base is the home of the 19th Airlift Wing, the host unit. There are also two major associate units located here, the 314th Airlift Wing reports to Air Education and Training Command, and the C-130 division of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School reports to Air Combat Command. Additionally, the 189th Airlift Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard is located here. The 189th AW also reports to Air Education and Training Command.
Units marked GSU are Geographically Separate Units, which although based at Little Rock, are subordinate to a parent unit based at another location.
Air Mobility Command (AMC)
Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC)
Air National Guard (ANG)
Air Combat Command (ACC)