Eglin Air Force Base
Definition/Scope: Eglin Air Force Base was initially founded in 1933 as a bombing and gunnery range from a donation of 1460 acres. On 14 June 1935 that base became the Headquarters for the Valpariso Bombing and Gunnery Base. On 04 August 1937 it was renamed to Eglin Field after LTC Frederick I. Eglin who was killed in an aircraft crash. In 1941 the Army used it for gunnery testing and for Army Air Force fighter pilots. in early 1946, the First Experimental Guided Missiles Group was activated to develop the techniques for missile launching and handling; establish training programs; and monitor the development of a drone or pilotless aircraft capability to support the Atomic Energy Commission tests, Operation CROSSROADS, at Eniwetok. On 13 January 1947, the Guided Missiles Group received nationwide publicity by conducting a successful drone flight from Eglin to Washington, D.C., in a simulated bombing mission. On 1 December 1957, the Air Force combined the Air Proving Ground Command and the Air Force Armament Center to form the Air Proving Ground Center. The Center built the highly-instrumented Eglin Gulf Test Range and for the next few years, served as a major missile test center for weapons such as the BOMARC, Matador, GAM-72 "Quail," and GAM-77 "Hound Dog." The Armament Division, redesignated Munitions Systems Division on 15 March 1989, placed into production the precision-guided munitions for the laser, television, and infrared guided bombs; two anti-armor weapon systems; and an improved hard target weapon used in Operation DESERT STORM during the Persian Gulf War. The Division was also responsible for developing the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), an Air Force-led joint project with the U.S. Navy. In addition to its development and testing mission, Eglin also served as the training site for the Son Tay Raiders in 1970, the group that made the daring attempt to rescue American POWs from a North Vietnamese prison camp. In 1975, the installation served as one of four main U.S. Vietnamese Refugee Processing Centers, where base personnel housed and processed more than 10,000 Southeast Asian refugees at the Auxiliary Field Two "Tent City." Eglin again became an Air Force refugee resettlement center processing over 10,000 Cubans who fled to the U.S. between April and May of 1980.
Broader Terms:US Air Force
Narrower Terms:7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)