Air Force Bases

Eaker Air Force Base, Arkansas

Location: Located 2 miles northwest of Blytheville, AR, about 68 miles north of west Memphis, AR.

Origin of current name: Named after General Ira C. Eaker.

Date current name was assigned to base: May 26, 1988

Previous Names: Blytheville Army Airfield, June 10th 1942-November 15th 1946; Blytheville Air Force Base June 6th 1953.

Date Established: June 10, 1942

Date Occupied: June 10, 1942

Construction Began: May 10, 1942

Changes in Capability: Flying training commenced fall 1942; advanced flying training started spring 1943; facilities for instrument training completed September 1943; training of female transport pilots spring-fall 1944, mission changed to troop carrier combat crew training during 1945; rehabilitation followed reactivation of field, including lengthening of principal runway to 10,000 feet 1955-1956; TAC operated B-57s during 1955-1958, foll0wed by transition to SAC operation beginning in 1958; 360 additional family housing units and a hospital annex completed August 1970; security improvement of Alpha alert pad and weapons storage area July 1980.

Changes in Status: Inactivated, October 1945; disposed, August 15th 1946; custody assumed by Army Division Engineers, November 15th 1946; transferred to WAA, February 1947; returned to USAF in inactive status June 10th 1953; activated August 18th 1955.

Base was Decommissioned on March 6, 1992

History:

Eaker Air Force Base, which is the current site of the Arkansas Aeroplex and the Arkansas International Airport, has a long and rich military history. The base was originally established on June 10, 1945 as an Army airfield, and was later used as an advanced school of flying until the end of World War II. It was closed in October of 1945 and used to store military records. It was then reopened and reactivated on July 15, 1955 as the Blytheville Air Force Base.

The base was renamed on May 26, 1988, to Eaker Air Force Base in honor of the World War II General Ira C. Eaker. This newly renamed base was closed on March 6th, 1992. Military to civilian conversion began, and public aircraft began using the decomissioned base. The military still uses the renamed Arkansas International Airport for training maneuvers, and for retrieval and deployment of National Guard troops.

The Blytheville Army Airfield in the middle 1940's.
The Blytheville Army Airfield in the middle 1940's.

Blytheville Air Force Base in 1986
Blytheville Air Force Base in 1986

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