When it was established in 1925, this base was the nation’s first municipal airport. Charles Lindbergh, who had just completed his trans-Atlantic crossing, landed the ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ in Tucson to dedicate it as the then largest municipal airport in the country.
The main unit on base, the 355 FW provides A-10 close air support for ground units, and supports search and rescue missions. Davis-Monthan is the site of an annual search and rescue exercise, Angel Thunder, the largest interagency/international exercise of its kind.
In 1877, Captain Samuel Whitside established a camp in the Huachuca Mountains for his two companies of the 6th cavalry who were on campaign against a band of Apaches led by the famed war chief Geronimo.
After Geronimo’s surrender in 1886, Camp Huachuca, which had become Ft. Huachuca in 1882, was maintained as a border outpost and was a forward supply base for General Pershing’s 1913 expedition against the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.
Commissioned and constructed in 1940 as a training field for reserve fighter pilots, Luke Field quickly grew in importance as the onslaught of World War II continued.
After the war, Luke AFB was maintained as a fighter training facility and even saw the creation of the USAF Thunderbirds demonstration squadron in May of 1953. The base saw training for such memorable aircraft like the F-100 Sabre, the F-4 Phantom II, the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
This installation started with the name, Fly Field. Approximately 600 acres was purchased in the 1920s and contained airstrips for both civilian and military use.
WWII transformed this place into a fully operational Army base. Renamed Yuma Army Airfield, it trained soldiers for flight warfare.
Shortly after the war, the base was closed and become a federally protected land. In the late 1950s the Air Force reclaimed this area and renamed it at Vincent Air Force Base. Soldiers continued to train for flight warfare including rocket launches.
Yuma and the Army have a long history together. Since the 1800s, the Army was stationed here to protect travelers in the West. It was also a supply post, to outfit other posts in the Southwest.
Yuma continued its history in providing warfare testing in both World War I and II. Even today, visitors can see abandoned trails and campsites of this part of American history. It was closed shortly after WWII and in the late 1960s was revitalized as a training and test area for the military.
A military member assigned to TDY (Temporary Duty) or that has PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders to Luke Air Force Base, located near Glendale, Arizona, will reside at one of the largest Pilot Training Centers in the U.S.
Here the 56th Fighter Wing, which is organized under Air Education and Training Command, train pilots of the F-16 Fighting Falcons and those of the F-35A Lightning II aircraft.
Many of graduated pilots after training are sent to fight in various missions around the world to support on-going operations, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The service members assigned here will find available housing on base and in the community. Dormitories are available as well for enlisted single Airmen, E-4 and below. Accommodations are also at the Fighter Country Inn (in Building 660) where there are six pet-friendly units. Tip: By contacting in advance, within 30 days prior to arrival, the Housing Management and Referral Office one can ensure to have their name placed on the list for privatized government housing at Luke AFB. This is the place also to stop by for off-base housing information. For off-base rental property, personnel can also find housing through the Automated Housing Referral Network (AHRN.com).
Adult educational services are found on base in building 1150. There are five on-base colleges and universities open to service members, civilians and military family members. Those that have children will need to attend school in the Phoenix school district off base, which is about 15 miles or 24 km away as there are no DoDDS (Department of Defense Dependents Schools) on base.
Military dependents and/or spouses who accompany the service member to Luke AFB will find employment assistance at the Airman & Family Readiness Center (in building 1113). Tip: Be sure to find out about the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program as well as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) career portal for employment opportunities. The job unemployment rate in Arizona is at 7.9 percent. (BLS, 2012)
Those that are single parents on PCS orders to Luke AFB are entitled to a Family Child Care provider. This is available within the first 60 days of arrival or 30 days of departure when it is authorized to have up to 20 hours of free child care. For family entertainment, there is the Arizona Museum for Youth (in Mesa) and the Arizona Science Center (in Phoenix).