Air Force Bases

George Air Force Base, California

Location: Located 8 miles northwest of Victorville, CA, about 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles, CA.

Origin of current name: Named in honor of Brig Gen Harold Huston George (1892-1942). A World War I figher ace, General George directed air operations in defense of the fortified islands in Manila Bay at the beginning of World War II. He died on April 29th 1942 in an aircraft accident near Darwin, Australia.

Date current name was assigned to base: June 2, 1950

Previous Names: Air Corps Advanced Flying School, June 23rd 1941; Victorville Army Flying School, February 6th 1942; Victorville Army Air Field, April 23rd 1943; Victorville Air Force Base, January 13th 1948.

Date Established: June 26, 1941

Date Occupied: October 25, 1941

Construction Began: July 12, 1941

Changes in Capability: Subdepot established on field by Sacramento Air Depot November 21st 1941; advanced flying training, 1942-1945; field converted from a training facility to a storage depot for surplus B-29s, AT-7s, and AT-11s during October 1945-December 1948; became a training base for F-86s and F-51s, and 650 Wherry housing units completed mid-1951; installation became TAC's first supersonic base with arrival of F-100s mid-1954; new runways completed fall 1954; physiological training building opened September 24th 1969; UASF hospital activated May 24th 1971; initial occupation of new modular housing project September 15th 1971; major Wherry housing renovation project begun spring 1976, completed March 1980; electronic countermeasures facility completed March 14th 1979; renovated enlisted men's dormitories occupied February 1980.

Changes in Status: Placed on standby and temporarily inactive status, October 12th 1945; transferred to jurisdiction of Sacramento Air Materiel Area, May 15th 1947; designated a sub-installation of San Bernardino Air Depot, December 15th 1948; activated November 1st 1950.

Base was Decommissioned on December 15, 1992

History:

George Air Force Base (GAFB) covered 5,339 acres (21.6 km²) which included two runways (9,116 and 10,050 feet), 6.3 million square feet (580,000 m²) of ramp space and associated facilities; 1,641 units of housing; 14 dormitory buildings with 1,400 bed capacity; a hospital with a dental clinic; and various office and industrial structures.

George AFB, originally called the Victorville Army Flying School, was constructed between 1941 and 1943 as a flight training school. It was renamed Victorville Army Air Field on 23 April 1943, and after the creation of the United States Air Force, Victorville Air Force Base on 13 January 1948.

On 12 October 1945, all flying operations ceased, and the base was placed on standby status and used for surplus aircraft storage (mostly Boeing B-29s, Beechcraft AT-7s, and AT-11s) Its carekeeper host unit was renamed the 2756th Air Base Squadron in January 1948 after the establishment of the United States Air Force.

The base was reopened on 10 October 1950 and renamed George Air Force Base in honor of Brig Gen Harold Huston George (1892-1942). A World War I fighter ace, General George directed air operations in defense of the fortified islands in Manila Bay at the beginning of World War II. He died on 29 April 1942 in an aircraft accident near Darwin NT, Australia.

Flight training remained the primary mission of George AFB throughout the Cold War and a number of bomber, glider, single engine, twin engine, and jet fighter aircraft were flown by the various organizations assigned.

George AFB was assigned to Continental Air Command, 10 October 1950, reassigned to Air Defense Command, 1 January 1951 reassigned to Strategic Air Command on 23 July 1951, then assigned to Tactical Air Command in November 1951.

During Operation Desert Storm, which started Jan. 17, 1991, the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron flew 1,182 combat sorties for a total of 4,393.5 hours. The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) was credited with flying 3,072 combat missions for 10,318.5 hours. U.S. Central Command relied heavily on the wing's Wild Weasels to suppress enemy air defense systems. The F-4G aircrews were credited with firing 905 missiles at Iraqi targets, while the RF-4C aircrews shot more than 300,000 feet of vital reconnaissance film. During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) suffered no casualties. The wing's people began returning to George Air Force Base March 23, 1991, with its aircraft and pilots following three days later.

The 35th became the host unit for George Air Force Base when the 831st Air Division there inactivated March 31, 1991. As a result, the wing gained several support agencies, including the 35th Combat Support Group and associated squadrons. In support of the Air Force's force reduction programs, the 21st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron inactivated June 28, 1991. That October, as part of the Air Force's reorganization plan, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing was redesignated the 35th Fighter Wing. A month later, the wing's tactical fighter squadrons were redesignated fighter squadrons.

In 1992, the 35th began downsizing in preparation for the closure of George Air Force Base. On June 5, 1992, the 20th Fighter Squadron moved to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, and by the end of June, the 561st and 562d Fighter Squadrons were inactivated.

On December 15, 1992, the 35th Fighter Wing inactivated and George Air Force Base closed bringing an end to 21 years of continuous service and more than 34 years of total service for the 35th.

George Air Force Base was officially decommissioned in December 1992. In 1993, President Bill Clinton announced a "Five Part Plan" to speed economic recovery in communities where military bases were to be closed. One part of this plan called for improving public participation in the base's environmental cleanup program. George AFB was among a number of installations where environmental cleanup was placed on a "fast track" so base property could be quickly transferred to the community for reuse. Many of the old base housing homes and buildings are currently used by the Army and Marine Corps for urban warfare training.

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