From Illinois Business Journal news services
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE – Scott Air Force Base will celebrate its centennial anniversary in June of 2017.
To commemorate the historic milestone, the base will host an open house and airshow featuring the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds, set for June 10 and 11 next year.
The land today known as Scott AFB was initially leased in June of 1917, and by September of that year, it was officially established as Scott Field. Scott AFB is the fourth oldest continuously active base in the U.S. Air Force, and the only Air Force base named in honor of an enlisted member, Cpl. Frank S. Scott.
Scott Field originally served as a pilot training field during World War I and hosted a modified Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” aircraft used as an air ambulance. By 1921, the mission at the field changed and Scott became a lighter-than-air station hosting balloons and dirigibles.
By 1937, the lighter-than-air era ended for the entire Army Air Corps and the War Department intended to move the General Headquarters Air Force from Langley Field, Va., to Scott Field. America’s entry into World War II changed that plan.
The Army Chief of Staff changed Scott’s primary mission in 1939 making it a communications training location. Even after the birth of the U.S. Air Force in 1947, Scott AFB would continue as a communications training installation graduating more than 150,000 communications operators and maintenance personnel by 1959.
By 1964, Scott became responsible for all aeromedical transportation within the U.S, and by 1975, the base was responsible for worldwide patient movement.
Throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, the Scott AFB’s mission continued to evolve and change with the addition of new aircraft and units. Scott’s present flying mission showcases the integration of the Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard components of the U.S. Air Force.
The 375th Air Mobility Wing (Active Duty) and the 932d Airlift Wing (Reserve) fly operational support airlift for priority passengers in the C-21 and C-40 aircraft respectively, while the 126th Air Refueling Wing (Illinois Air National Guard) conducts worldwide KC-135 air refueling missions.
Scott AFB is also host to U.S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, 18th Air Force, 618th Air Operations Center, Air Force Network Integration Center, Defense Information Systems Agency, the Army’s Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing, and a number of other mission partners.