Air Force Bases

Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado

On October 4, 1937 work was begun to convert the grounds of the former Agnes Memorial Sanatorium into a modern airfield. The new field was named in honor of Second Lieutenant Francis Lowry whose plane was shot down by German antiaircraft fire in World War I. Classes in aerial photography began at Lowry in 1938 and aircraft arrived in June of that year. The first aircraft to land on the new paved runway was a B-18 Bolo.

In January 1942, in the early course of World War II, the War Department tasked Lowry with annually training 57,000 men. Training continued at Lowry throughout the war, but the end of the war in Europe and V-J Day ended Lowry’s short history as a pilot training school. In 1948, Lowry Field became Lowry Air Force Base.

With the beginning of the Korean War, Lowry Air Force Base expanded its training program. Courses taught, in addition to photography and armament, included rocket propulsion, missile guidance, electronics, radar-operated fire-control systems, computer specialties, gun and rocket sights, and electronically operated turret systems. In 1954 Lowry was the interim home for the United States Air Force Academy until construction was completed in Colorado Springs.

In the 1960s Lowry’s flight operations were shifted to Buckley Field, now Buckley Air Force Base. All flying activities ceased completely in June 1966 when the last aircraft was flown out of Lowry. Lowry first faced the base closure issue in 1978. Ultimately, the Air Force recommended keeping Lowry open at that time. While Lowry added new training programs courses during the 1980s, the decision was still made to close the base. On 30 September, 1994, the base officially closed.

History of the Titan I at Lowry can be found here.