Altus Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma, is located within the corporate city
limits of its namesake, Altus. The base is 1,376 feet above sea level;
approximately 3,500 acres in size; and has approximately 3,500 military members
and 550 civilians assigned. On average, about 300-400 students are in training
at any one time.
The base was established on June 17, 1942 and designated
Altus Army Air
Field on April 8, 1943. It served as an advanced flying school during World War
II. It was inactivated on May 15,1945. The Tactical Air Command reactivated the
base on January 8, 1953.
Strategic Air Command Base
In the summer of 1954, Altus AFB was assigned to
the Strategic Air Command . The 96th Bombardment Wing
moved to the base. It flew B-47s and KC-97s.
It transferred to Dyess AFB, Texas on
on September 8, 1957. December 13, 1957, the 11th
Bombardment Wing moved to Altus and began receiving B-52Es. SAC constructed twelve underground Atlas
missile silos around Altus. They were operational from June 1, 1961 to
March 25, 1965. Altus operated as a B-52 base from 1957-to 1968.
location of Altus AFB led to the expansion of the wing's refueling
capability. On June 25, 1965, the 11h Air Refueling Squadron was
assigned to the wing. In 1968, the wing began phasing out it's
B-52s. This was completed by mid year. On July 2, 1968, the wing
was redesignated the 11th Air Refueling Wing. It
inactivated on March 25, 1969.
Military Airlift Command
In May 1967, the Air Force announced that Altus had been selected as the site
for the Military Airlift Command's (MAC) Airlift Training Center, and MAC
assumed operational control of the base in July 1968. Shortly afterward, the
443d Military Airlift Wing, Training, moved to Altus from Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.
The wing's mission was to train C-141 and C-5 aircrew members for the Air Force.
The first class of C-141 pilots entered ground school training at Altus on 24
March 1969. Flying started on 5 May 1969, and the first group of C-141 student
pilots graduated on 24 May 1969.
During this period, the Air Force expanded the base's facilities to
accommodate Lockheed's new C-5 Galaxy. The first C-5A was delivered to Altus AFB
on 17 December 1969, and the first C-5B arrived on 8 January 1986. Throughout
the 1970s and 1980s, Altus served as the schoolhouse for MAC's strategic airlift
crews, offering courses that included aircraft commander qualification, pilot
air refueling qualification, navigator airdrop qualification, and loadmaster
airdrop qualification. On 27 August 1991, the 443d Military Airlift Wing was redesignated as an
airlift wing. Less than a year later, on 1 June 1992, HQ USAF directed the
inactivation of the 443d Airlift Wing and the 340th Air Refueling Wing. Placed
at Altus as the host unit was the 97th Air Mobility Wing which Air Mobility
Command (AMC) activated on 1 October 1992. At the same time, the 97th picked up
the KC-135 aircrew training mission at Castle AFB, California.
Less than one year later, on 1 July 1993, HQ USAF transferred the 97th Air
Mobility Wing from Air Mobility Command to Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and its Nineteenth Air Force. As a result of the change, the operational
KC-135 assets at Altus were reassigned to Air Mobility Command's 19th Air
Refueling Wing at Robins AFB, Georgia. On 20 January 1994, HQ AETC inactivated
the wing's 330th Flying Training Squadron at Castle AFB and activated the 97th
Training Squadron at Altus. This was the first move in the overall transfer of
the KC-135 training from Castle to Altus. On 28 October 1994, HQ AETC
inactivated the 93d Air Refueling Squadron at Castle and activated the 55th Air
Refueling Squadron at Altus. The 55th assumed responsibility for training active
duty, guard, and reserve KC-135 aircrew members.
Altus was host to the (tenant) 11th Air Refueling
Squadron after the deactivation of the 11th BW / 11 the Strategic Aerospace Wing
/ & 11th Air Refueling Wing after several years as a Free Standing unit the
340th Air Refueling Group / 340th CAMS was activated.
Following is provided by Terry Horstead.
15 Oct 53 - 18 Nov 53
4037th ABG Activated with
Supporting Units at Altus
Istl S MVS FMS
USAFI / USAFH*
*4037th USAFH Deactivated 1 March 1959)
Nov 53-15 Dec 57.
96th Bomb Wing Activated at Altus. 96th ABG Relieves
96th ABG APS FSS stl S MVS/TRS
96th BW AEMS FMS PMS* SuppS
BS 338th BS 339th
BS 96th AREFS***
96th PMS Inactivated 7 Sept 57
** 96th Tac Hospital
Inactivated 8 Sept 57
*** 96rh AREFS Inactivated
25 Jun 65
Jan 57 - 2 July 68 18th
13 Dec 57-2 July 68
11th Bomb / Strategic Aerospace/ Air
Refueling Wing Relieves 96th BW/CSG
AEMS* FMS *
26th BS 42nd
BS*** (96th AREFS) (4037th USAFH****)
11th ABG/CSG CDS/SPS FSS/SvS Inst
* OM/FM/AEM Squadrons
Inactivated 25 Mar 69)
** Ops Sq Inactivated 1 Jan 62
***42nd BS transferred to 4043rd SW Wright-Pat on 1 Jun 60
**** redesignated 816th Medical Group
1 July 58 - 1 July 65
816th Air/ Strategic Aerospace Division
1 March 59 - 1 Oct 61
11th Aircraft Support Sq
1 Oct 60 - 15 Dec 60
918th AREFS 921st AREFS
(Both Tanker Squadrons - Inactivated)
1 Jun 61 - 25 March 65 577th
1 Nov 62 - 25 March 65 11th
25 Jun 65 96th AREFS Redesignated as 11th AREFS
Assigned 19th AD at Carswell AFB, Texas
1 Aug 73 - 1 Dec 78 11th CAMS
1 July 77 - 340th AREFG
Assumes responsibilty for the 11th
Unknown) 306th AREFS Assigned
to 340th AREFG and Activated