Air Force Bases

Dobbins Air Force Base

Location: Located 2 miles southeast of Marietta, GA, about 15 miles NNW of Atlanta, GA.

Origin of current name: Named in honor of Capt Charles Michael Dobbins (1916-1943). A World War II transport pilot, Captain Dobbins died near Sicily on July 11th 1943 when US Navy gunners who had earlier suffered a Luftwaffe attach mistakenly downed his C-47. A native of Marietta, GA, he was flying his third mission of the day, dropping paratroopers.

Date current name was assigned to base: February 6, 1950

Previous Names: Cobb County Army Airfield, June 10th 1943; Marietta Army Airfield (aka Rickenbacker Field), June 15th 1943; Marietta Air Force Base, June 13th 1948.

Date Established: June 10, 1943

Date Occupied: June 10, 1943

Changes in Capability: A number of buildings and facilities were ceded to Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (later, Lockheed-Georgia Aircraft Company, Air Force Plant #6)) May 1951; new control tower completed and 21 1/2 acres of base area ceded to ADC May-June 1951; new buildings and facilities for newly arrived ACW Group, extension of runways and other facilities to accommodate B-47s constructed 1952-1953; new 10,000-foot east-west runway completed 1955; major runway rehabilitation completed July 1957; Naval Air Reserve Facilities and units arrived from Atlanta NAS, 1956-1957; supported C-124 and, later, C-130 airlift operations of the 445th MAW, 1957-1971, and the 94th TAW, 1972-1982; administration and maintenance buildings and ANG hangars rehabilitated and remodeled 1976.

Changes in Status: Activated as an exempted station, June 10th 1943; resident AAF Plant Representative and Bell Aircraft Corporation assumed jurisdiction and control over entire property, including airfield, May 19th 1944; standby status, March 25th 1944-May 30th 1946; activated May 31st 1946.

History:

Dobbins Air Reserve Base, located sixteen miles northwest of Atlanta in Marietta, is one of the busiest air reserve bases in the nation. The base's primary mission is reserve training, and it supports units of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Georgia Air and Army National Guard, U.S. Naval Reserves, and U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. More than 2,500 full-time employees (including civilians) and close to 10,000 traditional guardsmen and reservists are assigned to the base. Its annual payroll exceeds $66 million, and the installation's real property value is estimated at more than $45 million. The base's economic impact on the community is an estimated $162 million.

The U.S. government acquired the more than 2,800 acres that constitute Dobbins and the adjacent Naval Air Station Atlanta in 1943 for use by the Bell Aircraft Corporation as a B-29 "Super Fortress" assembly site and pilot-training base. Soon after, a temporary airfield, briefly known as Cobb County Army Air Field, then as Rickenbacker Field, and finally as Marietta Army Air Field, was established in June 1943 and made operational. In addition to Bell's presence at Rickenbacker, the Georgia Air National Guard's 54th Fighter Wing, the 116th Fighter Group, and the 128th Fighter Squadron were stationed at the facility by 1946. After Bell Corporation's operations ended in 1947, an Army Air Forces caretaker detachment maintained the field.

In 1948 the newly created U.S. Air Force assigned reservist training to the field and renamed it Marietta Air Force Base. On February 15, 1950, the base was renamed Dobbins Air Force Base in honor of Captain Charles M. Dobbins of Marietta, who was killed July 11, 1943, when his aircraft was mistakenly shot down by friendly fire as he returned from his third combat mission of the day off the coast of Italy. It was Dobbins's eighty-eighth combat mission of the war. On April 29, 1950, Dobbins's brother, Captain Patman Dobbins, his niece, Beverly, and his mother, Ethel Dobbins, formally dedicated the base.

In 1992 Dobbins Air Force Base was renamed Dobbins Air Reserve Base. Today the base is home to the 94th Air Wing, which maintains the base facilities by providing civil engineering, security, and air operations support for U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, Army, Army National Guard, Navy, Naval Reserve, and Marine Corps tenants. In addition, the host unit provides runway, control tower, weather, and rescue services. Dobbins is known as Air Force Plant Number 6 and is the home of the aeronautical division of Lockheed Martin, designer and manufacturer of the F-22 Raptor, a modern, all-purpose fighter.

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