Yesterday, September 18th, the United States Air Force turned 69 years old! The United State Air Force became its own independent military service organization in 1947 soon after the end of World War II. Here in Arizona, we are lucky to have two nationally renowned Air Force bases, Luke Air Force Base and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base – both of which were established before the actual Air Force itself.
Luke Air Force Base was originally called Luke Field, and opened on June 6, 1941. Named after 2d Lt Frank Luke, Jr. a Medal of Honor awarded aviator from World War I, fighter pilots now come from all over the world to train here in Arizona at Luke Air Force Base.
Davis – Monthan Air Force Base was originally the first municipal owned airport in the nation. The city of Tucson wanted the United States to establish a military aviation branch and with much negotiation with the War Department they got their wish. On September 23, 1927 Charles Lindbergh formally dedicated the site, named in honor of two deceased Arizona aviators, Lt. Samuel H. Davis and Lt. Oscar Monthan. Today Davis-Monthan continues to provide air support to our nation’s military.
“Photograph of fighter planes landing at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale (Ariz.),” 1950, Arizona Archives Historic Photographs, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, History and Archives Division.
“Governor Sidney P. Osborn at the Luke Field Air Force Base Dedication Ceremony,” June 9, 1941, Arizona Archives Historic Photographs, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, History and Archives Division.
Coffelt St. Clair, Carol J. and Charles S. St. Clair, Glendale, Arcadia Publishing, 2006.