Kirtland AFB is the product of three private airfields. In 1928, two runways formed Albuquerque Airport. Another airport by the same name was later created, so the original Albuquerque Airport was named Oxnard Field.
In 1939, the Army and Navy started using Oxnard Field for military flights. The Army acquired some land near Albuquerque Airport and eventually acquired Oxnard Field. In 1941, Albuquerque Army Air Base was constructed. The attack on Pearl Harbor generated a huge boost in activity on the base, and the base trained many crews for World War II.
The base was renamed Kirtland Army Air Field in 1942. In 1946, the base was placed under Air Material Command, and the primary responsibilities of the base became tied to the activities of the Manhattan Engineering District. In 1947, Kirtland Army Air Field became Kirtland Air Force Base. The base focused primarily on the testing of special weapons and the delivery aircraft. The Special Weapons Command became headquartered at Kirtland AFB in 1949. In 1971, Kirtland AFB, Sandia Base, and Manzano Base were brought under one command, creating modern Kirtland AFB.
One of the primary responsibilities for the base is nuclear expertise and security. The base also provides support to the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Air Force Special Operations Command, and other organizations. The 377th Air Base Wing is the host organization for Kirtland AFB.
Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city. The city is home to many cultural attractions, including museums and art galleries. Many areas of the city are populated by locally-owned restaurants and boutiques. Music venues are also popular spots in Albuquerque. Rock climbing and hiking areas are available just outside of the city.
Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, is over an hour’s drive from Kirtland AFB. The city possesses a rich and multicultural history, and historic sites are a popular tourist destination. Santa Fe has outdoor attractions for every season, ranging from skiing in the winter to hiking in the summer.
Albuquerque Public Schools is the school system that provides services to Kirtland AFB. Some private school options are available in Albuquerque. The 377th Medical Group provides medical care to Kirtland AFB. The clinic is located off base.
Housing is available on base. The Air Force Housing website contains relevant information about availability, wait times, and options. Rental and purchase properties are available off base. Generally speaking, housing costs in the surrounding areas are slightly lower than the national average.
Kirtland Inn provides temporary housing on base. When space is not available, temporary lodging can be arranged elsewhere.