Friday, August 28, 2009

Air Force Ball: A time to celebrate the AF, D-Ms history

by the 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office

8/27/2009 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- As the Air Force closes in on its 62nd birthday, Members from and around Davis-Monthan prepare to celebrate by holding the annual Air Force Ball at the University of Arizona Grand Ballroom Sept. 18 beginning with a social at 6 p.m.

During the annual celebration, many people from the Desert Lightning community will gather and not only celebrate the Air Force but also celebrate the men and women of Davis-Monthan. To fully appreciate our mission today it's important to reflect on our history.

In 1925, Tucson's City Council purchased 1,280 acres of land southeast of town to relocate the city's municipal airport. Unknown at that time this new site would become the nucleus of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. 15 years later, the War Department officially selected the airport to become a military base. Initially known as Army Air Base, Tucson, Arizona the airfield received its first aircraft, mostly obsolete Douglas B-18 Bolos, LB-30s, A-29s, and Stearman PT-17 trainers in May 1941. The new Base Commander, Brig. Gen. Frank D. Lackland, arrived May 30, 1941 and assumed command the next day, June 1. Exactly six months later on December 1 The base was formally named Davis-Monthan Field.

The outbreak of World War II and the Cold War brought major changes to D-M, but it wasn't until early 1975, that the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing prepared for conversation to the nameless Fairchild Republic A-10. It would be three more years before the name Thunderbolt II was officially selected for the A-10. In October 1975 the 355th Tactical Training Squadron activated to conduct A-10 academic training. Four months later, on March 2, 1976 the wing received the first A-10, the aircraft still flown out of D-M today.

Another major change occurred April 26, 2007. With only A-10 fighter aircraft assigned, the 355th Wing was redesignated once again as the 355th Fighter Wing. Today, the 355th Fighter Wing is composed of four groups: the 355th Operations Group, the 355th Maintenance Group, the 355th Mission Support Group and the 355th Medical Group. Together, along with their tenant organizations, they make up the 6,500 Airmen and 2,000 civilian personnel at Davis-Monthan.

Davis-Monthan's Air Force Ball will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. and a gourmet dinner will follow at 7 p.m. Special presentations will be made throughout the night, and the Air Force band will provide a musical performance. For more information call your first sergeant.


Related info:
355th Fighter Wing history

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