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Lawson Army Airfield

Lawson Army Airfield is Fort Benning's primary Force Projection Platform. Lawson Army Airfield, the airport for Fort Benning, is located on the Fort Benning Military Reservation, GA. The Local Flying Areas (LFA) for aircraft operating from Lawson AAF and Fort Benning including R3002, is that area whose airspace is controlled by Lawson Tower, "SKYWATCH" (Range Control), Columbus Tower and Columbus Approach Control. Lawson Army Airfield is contained in Class D Surface Area airspace, defined in Department of Defense (DOD) Flight Information Publication (FLIP).

Lawson Army Airfield, the Aviation Facility of the U.S. Army Infantry Center, serves as the air terminal for major Forces Command units, the U.S. Army Infantry School and the aviation units at Fort Benning. In addition, it performs a service as the operating base for Military Airlift Command flights which support the Infantry School and the many other airlift missions for Fort Benning based Army units. These missions include use of C5, C17, C141, C130, civilian contract or chartered jet aircraft.

The airfield, its facilities and Air Traffic Control Services and Navigational Aids, are under the control of the Aviation Division, Directorate of Operations and Training, U.S. Army Infantry School with the Chief of Aviation Division also serving as Airfield Commander.

The airfield was constructed before 1930 as a balloon landing field for the Infantry School under the name of the Fort Benning Airstrip. In August 1931, it was renamed after the highly decorated World War I veteran, Captain Walter Lawson, a native of Georgia who had been killed in an air accident. The airfield began large scale modernizing in 1941 when the landing strips were paved. Today, the airfield complex includes two runways, one of which is an 8,200 foot runway with instrument landing system and ground controlled approach radar.

During Operation Just Cause, 2d Battalion (-) and 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment (TF RED ROMEO) departed Lawson Army Air Field, FT Benning, GA at 19 1800 Dec. Its mission was to seize Rio Hato and neutralize the 6th and 7th PDF Infantry Cos. At 20 0100 Dec, the battalion jumped from C-130s onto the airfield at Rio Hato. Both PDF companies had been alerted and fired on the C-130s with small arms. Despite PDF resistance, the battalion assembled, attacked the barracks and established an airhead. By morning, the Rangers accomplished all missions, captured 250 prisoners and cleared the airfield for future operations.

The first of approximately 4,200 Army Reservists and National Guard soldiers called to active duty in December 1995 for Operation Joint Endeavor came home in July 1996. Flights carrying almost 500 reservists arrived in the United States July 28 at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. and Fort Benning, Ga.'s Lawson Army Airfield to begin demobilization, and a return to civilian life. These reservists were the first to be mobilized under the Presidential Selective Reserve Call Up ordered by President Bill Clinton Dec. 8, 1995.

Nearly 200 rangers returned to Fort Benning from Afghanistan just after dawn 07 December 2001. After a number of delays due to mechanical problems and weather conditions, elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment, deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, arrived to an early morning welcome. An airplane hanger at Lawson Army Airfield was the site of the welcome home ceremony.

Lawson Army Airfield was named after Ted Lawson of Doolittle Raid fame. 2nd Lt. Ted W. Lawson wrote a best-selling memoir of the raid and its aftermath. In 1944, this book, "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo", served as the basis for a Hollywood motion picture of the same name. The 1944 movie centers on Lawson, pilot of the "Ruptured Duck" B-25 bomber.

Lawson Army Airfield was built on site of Kashita [Cusseta] Town, which was the capital of the Lower Creek Nation before its removal. Much of what remained of the village was destroyed by the construction of Lawson Army Air Field before the site could be examined with modern archeological techniques.

A momentous gathering occurred at Creek villages on Fort Benning land in the summer of 1739, an event that influenced the political future of the fledgling colony of Georgia. The central figure in the episode was James Edward Oglethorpe. Oglethorpe and the Indian leaders undertook negotiations at the Creek peace town, Kasita (Cusetta), located on Fort Benning at the site of Lawson Army Air Field.

The Creek practice of labeling some villages peace towns was rooted in their distant past and shrouded in mystery. The designation did not mean that villagers avoided war when consensus favored conflict. Yet, peace towns were apparently different from other settlements. The Creeks associated peace towns with culture, wisdom, and knowledge, as well as the color white, which the Indians related to purity and that which was old, traditional, venerable, and holy, according to author William Wynn. They may have also thought of a peace town as a place for mediating disputes, suggests anthropologist Charles Hudson. There were supposed to be no executions in a peace town, a tradition Creeks sometimes abandoned in the anger of war. Still, colonial traders knew to flee to peace towns during hostilities and sometimes found sanctuary. Kasita was even more special than most peace towns, apparently serving as a "head peace town" where leaders from many villages gathered to deliberate peace proposals.

Oglethorpe met with the Indian leaders at Kasita for nine days. The resulting peace treaty, signed on August 21, 1739, guaranteed that a wide section of land along the Atlantic coast belonged to the colonists.



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