Little Rock Air Force Base
The Little Rock Air Force Base was established on August 1, 1955, near Jacksonville, Arkansas, on six thousand acres of land formerly occupied by the Arkansas Ordnance Plant. Over 8000 people make up the population of the Little Rock Air Force, with over 6000 of those people being military personnel. The base home to the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, 463rd Airlift Group, 189th Airlift Wing, and is a training facility for Department of Defense C-130 Hercules flight crews. The base also houses the Air Force Mobility Weapons School. It serves as the Department of Defense's only C-130 training base, which focuses on the training of aerial delivery in all branches of the United States military.
The effort to bring the base to Jacksonville in the 1950s was spearheaded by Everett Tucker Jr. of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and Raymond Rebsamen of the Pulaski County Citizens Council. A half million dollar fundraising effort to purchase land for the air base was headed by Arthur Phillips, president of the M. M. Cohn Company.
Construction of the base began on November 6, 1953. The base was originally home to the 384th Bombardment Wing and 70th Reconnaissance Wing of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). The Little Rock Air Force Base began managing eighteen Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles in 1960. The missiles themselves were scattered around the state of Arkansas. In 1962 the Titan II missile program came under the administration of the 308th Strategic Missile Wing stationed at the base.
The air base moved from SAC to the Tactical Air Command (TAC), and with the change the base acquired the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing. The Military Airlift Command took over responsibility for the base in 1974. The 314th Tactical Airlift Wing was renamed the 314th Airlift Wing in 1991. The base was moved to the administration of the Air Mobility Command in 1992, and then the Air Combat Command in 1993. Four years later the base was returned to the administration of the Air Mobility Command. The 314th Airlift Wing was moved under the Air Education and Training Command. C-130 Hercules squadrons are organized under the 463rd Airlift Group.
Little Rock Air Force Base currently supports troops fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operational Iraqi Freedom.
The Little Rock Air Force Base usually hosts an Air Show each year as well, which is open to the public. It generally takes place on a weekend announced beforehand by the Air Force Base with times ranging from early morning to mid-afternoon. The show presents a wide variety of aircraft on display that are open to examine and explore, including the C-130 and many other craft. In addition, several displays of aerial skill are shown throughout the event, including such performances as the United States' Navy's Blue Angels and the United States' Army's Parachute Team, "The Golden Knights." A ground act known as Shockwave has also been displayed, which demonstrates a truck equipped with a jet engine that has a speed of as much as 376 miles per hour.
The Air Show is known for being the largest viewing event in Arkansas, with people from several states coming to attend and reaching audiences of more than 250,000. Food, drink, and souvenirs are sold at the show, and admission and parking are free. Information about the United States Air Force is available at the event, which includes efforts to recruit those who are interested. Also known to be available is the "Virtual Army Experience," a virtual mission which involves working with other participants and revealing the characteristics of military personnel.