Air Force Bases

Dover Air Force Base, Delaware

Location: Located 3 miles South East of Dover, DE.

Origin of current name: Named after a city in Delaware.

Date current name was assigned to base: January 13, 1948

Previous Names: Municipal Airport, Dover Airdrome, December 17th 1941; Dover Army Air Base, April 8th 1943; Dover Subbase, June 6th 1943; Dover Army Airfield, February 2nd 1944.

Date Established: December 17, 1941

Date Occupied: December 20, 1941

Construction Began: January 1, 1942

Changes in Capability: Antisubmarine mission 1942-1943; closed to aircraft because of repair work February-August 1943; flying activity (training of P-47 pilots) resumed September 1943; runways lengthened to 7,000 feet, other concrete areas completed September 1943; ATSC's air-launched rockets accommodated September 1944-May 1945; after base reopened, military air transport functions began 1953; air freight terminal completed September 1954; hospital dedicated June 1958; 1,250-unit Capehart housing project completed June 1961; C-5 facilities completed late 1970; base supply and administration complex, air freight terminal, commissary, and base personnel complex among major facilities completed 1974; dental clinic completed June 30th 1976; building housing Reserve tenant unit completed early 1981.

Changes in Status: Subbase of Camp Springs AAField, MD, June 6th 1943-April 15th 1944; temporary inactive status, September 1st 1946 (during inactive status field remained under major command jurisdiction); returned to active status, August 1st 1950.


Dover Air Force Base is situated on approximately 3,900 acres located southeast of Dover, the capital of Delaware. Total value of resources equals $5.7 billion. This approximate figure includes aircraft, capital assets such as land and buildings, equipment, retail sales, base operations and maintenance outlays. The total economic impact is approximately $466 million, which includes salaries, retiree pay, local contracts and local area expenditures within a 50-mile radius of the base. Secondary jobs created are estimated at 2,275 as a result of the base.

The Dover Air Force Base workforce consists of 6,100 military personnel: 4,300 active duty, 1,900 reservists and 1,800 civilians. It also supports approximately 5,100 family members.

The 436th Airlift Wing traces its roots back to the 436th Troop Carrier Group of World War II fame that activated at Baer Field, Indiana on April 1, 1943. After months of training at Alliance Army Airfield, Neb., the group was assigned to the 9th Air Force, IX Troop Carrier Command, 53rd Troop Carrier Wing, in the European Theatre of Operations. Flying the C-47 Skytrain and based out of Bottesford, and later, Membury, England, the 436th TCG participated in four major airborne operations prior to the Allied victory in May 1945.

Operation OVERLORD, during the Normandy Invasion; Operation DRAGOON, during the invasion of Southern France; Operation MARKET GARDEN; and Operation VARSITY, a plan for a final push across the Rhine River and into Germany's heartland.

Between 1946 and 1958, the group was re-designed as the 436th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium in May 1949.

Dover, Delaware

December 27, 1965 was a significant date in the history of the 436th Airlift Wing, on that date, the 436th Troop Carrier Wing was redesignated as the 436th Military Airlift Wing and activated in conjunction with the creation of the Military Airlift Command. On 8 January 1966, the 436th MAW replaced the 1607th Air Transport Wing as the MAC host wing at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Shortly after its arrival at Dover, the newly created 436th MAW began a transition into the jet age, replacing its propeller-driven C-124 Globemaster II aircraft with the jet-powered C-141 Starlifter. During this transition, the 436th MAW received helped the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, during Operation EAGLE THRUST. Beginning on 28 December 1967, EAGLE THRUST called for the transport of more than 10,000 infantry troops and 5,000 tons of cargo from Fort Campbell, Kentucky directly to Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam.

On April 16, 1971, the wing received its first C-5 Galaxy aircraft and began the phase out of the propeller-driven C-133 Cargomaster aircraft which had been part of the wing's inventory since 1966. Two years later, on August 23, 1973, the wing traded the last of its C-141 aircraft to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., for C-5s. This move made the 436th MAW the only all C-5 equipped wing in the active Air Force, and allowed the wing to handle heavy, outsized cargo loads, which the C-141 could not.

Powerful Support

The 436 Military Airlift Wing quickly received a chance to test the worldwide airlift capability of their C-5s during Operation NICKLE GRASS. On October 13, 1973, the country of Israel called out for help when forces from neighboring Egypt and Syria attacked starting the Yom Kippur War. The 436th MAW responded with a 32-day airlift that delivered 22,305 tons of munitions and military equipment to Israel, which helped to quickly bring an end to the conflict. Aircrews successfully conducted the airlift without any in-flight refueling capability and the operation is considered by some to be the first operational test of the C-5 galaxy.

Equipped with one of the world's largest transport aircraft, the 436th MAW continued to provide critical airlift support throughout the world and set records for carrying heavy loads and out-sized cargo. Some of the flights included; the airdrop and test firing of a Minuteman I, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, the delivery of a 40-ton super conducting magnet to Moscow, for which the crew received the 1977 Mackay Trophy. The wing won its second consecutive Mackay Trophy in 1978, for conducting the first C-5 airlift mission into Africa in support of efforts against rebel forces in Zaire. On Dec. 9 1978, members of the 436th MAW assisted in the evacuation of 140 Americans from Iran to Dover AFB, Delaware. In March 1989, wing C-5s delivered special equipment used to clean up the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound Alaska. On June 7, 1989, while attending the Airlift Rodeo, a 436th MAW C-5 set a world record when it airdropped 190,346 pounds and 73 paratroopers.

In October 1983, the wing supported URGENT FURY, the Grenada rescue operation by flying 24 missions, and in August 1989, the wing flew 16 missions in support of Operation JUST CAUSE, the invasion of Panama. On Aug. 2, 1990, Iraqi forces, under the command of Saddam Hussein, invaded neighboring Kuwait in an attempt to seize the tiny country's vast oil reserves. Five days later, the United Nations responded and launched Operation DESERT SHIELD, a military build-up in the Persian Gulf Region to curtail further Iraqi aggression. Because of the 436th MAW's heavy airlift capability, the wing became a major player in this critical operation. During DESERT SHIELD, the wing flew approximately 17,000 flying hours and airlifted a total of 131,275 tons of cargo. Dover AFB became a major airlift hub and intermediate repair facility for C-5 aircraft participating in the operation.

On Jan. 17, 1991, Saddam Hussein failed to comply with the United Nations demand to withdraw from Kuwait and DESERT SHIELD transformed into Operation DESERT STORM. Again, the 436th MAW provided key airlift by flying over 13,650 hours in support of the war fighting effort, until the liberation of Kuwait on Feb. 28, 1991. Dover personnel processed and hauled over 139,000 tons of cargo to support Operations DESERT STORM, DESERT EXPRESS and PROVIDE COMFORT, which shortly followed the end of the Gulf War. Later, the 436th MAW airlifted 580 tons of fire-fighting equipment to help extinguish the numerous oil field fires set by Iraqi forces as they retreated back into Iraq. Following the Gulf War, the Air Force reorganized and the Air Mobility Command replaced MAC as the manager of America's airlift fleet. In conjunction with the reorganization, AMC leaders redesignated the 436th MAW as the 436th Airlift Wing on Dec. 1, 1991.

Since its inception, the 436th has consistently provided humanitarian airlift in times of disaster and military airlift when United States' forces were needed around the globe. Examples include: the airlifting of approximately 8,700 passengers and 7,800 tons of cargo, during 294 missions, to Somalia in 1992 for Operation RESTORE HOPE, and the airlift of humanitarian supplies to Rwanda for Operation SUPPORT HOPE in April 1994. In the support of world peace, the 436th AW participated in Operation RESTORE/UPHOLD Democracy, the invasion of Haiti, in September 1994 and supported Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords in war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina, in December 1995. On Nov. 9, 1997, the wing began airlifting patriot missile batteries and elements of the 347th Air Expeditionary Wing to Southwest Asia to force Iraqi compliance with applicable United Nations Security Council Resolutions during Operation PHOENIX SCORPION. Later, PHOENIX SCORPION II, III, IV, and PHOENIX BACK followed up PHOENIX SCORPION throughout 1998. Lastly, the 436th AW supported Operation ALLIED FORCE, the bombing campaign designed to end Serb aggression in Kosovo, which began on March 24, 1999.

The New Millennium

The 21st Century brought many new opportunities for members of the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings, along with civilians comprised the Dover Team to serve our Nation. After September 11, the men and women assigned to both the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings played and integral role in Operations ENDURING and IRAQI FREEDOM, on top of conducting normal day-to day operations.

From September 2001 through December 2003, Dover C-5s were tasked with more than 850 airlift missions in support of OEF and OIF and despite the increased workload, Dover's maintenance crews accomplished quite a feat in July 2002, when it surpassed the 75 percent mission capable goal for the first time in six years! Dover aircrews flew the first C-5 expeditionary airlift missions into Kandahar, Afghanistan as well as landed C-5s into Baghdad International Airport -- the first time since before the Gulf War. Personnel worked around-the-clock preparing, loading and transporting over 450,000 tons of equipment and more than 142,000 personnel in support of the Global War on Terrorism. In January 2002, Airmen from the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings departed Dover in support of detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba. On a somber note, Dover's Port Mortuary received and processed the remains of the victims of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon, those killed in support of OEF and OIF, as well as the seven astronauts who perished in the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy.

Although support of the war effort remained the largest component of Team Dover's mission focus, other important missions and milestones took place early in the 21st Century. Members of Team Dover continued to deploy to all areas of the globe in support of Air Expeditionary Force humanitarian and higher headquarters requirements to include assistance with security at the Winter Olympics; the transport of personnel and equipment from the Fairfax County, Va., Urban Search and Rescue Team to Bam, Iran, following an earthquake that killed 30,000; and airlift support for the victims of the tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; the earthquake in Pakistan.

The future holds many changes for the Dover Team to include the bed down of 13 C-17 Globemaster II aircraft and the loss of 16 C-5s. But as its rich heritage has shown, and with a reputation for tackling any challenge, the 436th Airlift Wing will be ready and able to lend powerful support to any situation that may lie ahead.


Col. Adriel Williams -- April 1, 1943 to Oct. 1, 1945
Capt. Harold Smith -- Oct. 1, 1945 to Nov. 15, 1945
Inactivated Nov. 15, 1945 and re-activated in the Reserve June 27, 1949
Brig. Gen. Albert Woody -- June 27, 1949 to April 16, 1951
Inactivated April 16, 1951 and re-activated in the Reserve May 18, 1955
Col. Peyton Gibson -- May 18, 1955 to Feb. 1, 1957
Col. Michael Yannell -- Feb. 1, 1957 to Nov. 14, 1957
Vacant Nov. 15, 1957 to May 15, 1958
Inactivated May 15, 1958 and re-activated at Dover Dec. 27, 1965
Brig. Gen. John Wallace -- Jan. 1, 1966 to Jan. 29, 1969
Brig. Gen. Fred Vetter Jr. -- Jan. 29, 1969 to Aug. 1, 1970
Brig. Gen. Kelton Farris -- Aug. 1, 1970 to Aug. 24, 1972
Col. Willum Spillers Jr. -- Aug. 24, 1972 to June 11, 1973
Brig. Gen. Charles Kuyk Jr. -- June 11, 1973 to April 13, 1975
Brig. Gen. Click Smith Jr., April 3, 1975 to May 15, 1978
Col. William Mall Jr. -- May 15, 1978 to Feb. 26, 1979
Col. Archer Durham -- Feb. 26, 1979 to Feb. 14, 1980
Col. Albert Guidotti -- Feb 14, 1980 to Jan. 26, 1982
Col. Paul Harvey -- Jan. 26, 1982 to Feb. 17, 1983
Col. William Sistrunk -- Feb. 17, 1983 to Jan. 14, 1985
Col. Walter Kross -- Jan. 14, 1985 to June 17, 1987
Col. Albert Estes -- June 17, 1987 to Feb. 26, 1988
Col. Floyd Tedrow -- Feb. 26, 1988 to Sept. 14, 1989
Col. William Begert -- Sept. 14, 1989 to June 1, 1990
Col. Michael Moffitt -- June 1, 1990 to Aug. 21, 1992
Col. William Welser III -- June 1, 1990 to July 29, 1994
Brig. Gen. Robert Boots -- July 29, 1994 to May 10, 1996
Col. Richard Bundy -- May 10, 1996 to July 21, 1997
Col. Felix Grieder -- July 21, 1997 to July 23, 1999
Col. S. Taco Gilbert III -- July 23, 1999 to July 23, 2001
Col. Scott Wuesthoff -- July 23, 2001 to May 13, 2003
Col. John Pray Jr. -- May 14, 2003 to May 5, 2005
Col. Samuel Cox -- May 6, 2005 to present

Aircraft flown

T-7 -- 1949 to 1951
T-11 -- 1955
T-28 -- 1949 to 1951
T-33 -- 1955

C-47 -- 1943 to 1951
C-45 -- 1949 to 1957
C-46 -- 1955 to 1957
C-119 -- 1957
C-124 -- 1966 to 1969
C-133 -- 1966 to 1971
C-141 -- 1966 to 1973
C-5 -- 1971 to present