The air base in Wichita started out in 1929 as the Wichita Municipal Airport.
It was called Wichita Air Force Base when it became a military installation in 1953.
In 1954, it received its current name, McConnell AFB.
Because of its location in the center of the US, it is the ideal base for the resident tanker wing which conducts refueling and airlift operations around the world.
The host unit at McConnell is the 22nd Air Refueling Wing. Its mission is to provide air refueling support for military missions as well as military and humanitarian airlifts around the globe. The 931st Air Refueling Group is an associate unit located on McConnell. Support units for the 22nd Air Refueling Wing include the 22nd Maintenance Group, the 22nd Medical Group, the 22nd Mission Support Group and the 22nd Operations Group. Also located on McConnell is the 184th Intelligence Group, a unit of the Kansas Air National Guard.
Wichita is an active community with plenty of amusements to occupy off hours. The Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita and the Hartman Arena in nearby Park City are both large venues for sports and entertainment events. Wichita’s Cotillion Ballroom hosts events from music and comedy acts to roller derby. Wichita sports include Wichita Thunder Hockey, Wichita Wingnuts Baseball the Wichita Wild Arena Football teams.
The Wichita Grand Opera, the Orpheum Theater and the Cabaret Oldtown offer cultural events including opera, musical theater and dance performances. Recreation opportunities include bowling, movie theaters and golf. The Kansas Star Casino in nearby Mulvane, Kansas is a favorite spot for nightlife. Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Kansas City are each within 200 miles of Wichita.
McConnell AFB is included in the Derby Unified School District. Derby’s Wineteer Elementary is just next to base housing and the older grades through high school go to school in Derby proper. Military families living off base may be in other school districts such as those in Wichita, Andover, Haysville, Maize and Rose Hill. Wichita State University is the major state college in the region.
Several colleges provide on base classes, including Southwestern and Butler Community Colleges and Embry Riddle Aeronitical and Webster University. Hospitals in Wichita include the Wesley Medical Center, the Via Cristi Hospital, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Galichia Heart Hospital and the Kansas Surgery and Recovery Center.
Housing on and off base in the Wichita area is both plentiful and affordable. Off base housing opportunities include apartments, house rentals and home ownership. In 2012, the median house price for the Wichita was about $120,000. Temporary quarters for military members and families are available at the Air Capital Inn. Air Force members can make reservations for temporary housing as soon as they know their report date.