Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Biggs AFB, TX

In 1947, the United States Air Force Base came into existence. Assigned to the strategic Air Command, Biggs would serve as home base for heavy bombers such as the B-36 Peacemaker, the B-47 Stratojet and the B-52 Stratofortress for the next 19 years. In the mid-1950s Biggs Air Force Base, Texas was home to the 810th Air Division and the 95th Bombardment Wing, which flew the B-36 bomber. By 1963 the 95th Bombardment Wing Biggs AFB was flying the B-52 Stratofortress. In 1966, the Air Force moved off of Biggs and released the base for Army use. In 1973, Biggs was reactivated as a permanent US Army Airfield, making it the largest active Army Airfield in the world.

Air Force aircraft such as the B-52 return to Biggs Field periodically for joint forces training exercises such as Roving Sands and Border Star.

Military aviation began at Fort Bliss in 1916 when the First Aero Squadron was attached to General Pershing's Punitive Expedition in pursuit of Pancho Villa. They were equipped with Curtiss JN-2 "Jenny's", and their mission included scouting, observation and courier service for the cavalry and infantry units on the ground. The first air field was located in the middle of the present day post. In June of 1919, two squadrons of Dehaviland DH-4 Bombers, known affectionately as "Flying Coffins" replaced the frail Jennys and the Border Air Patrol was born.

On January 25th 1925 the War Department officially named the field for LT. James Berthes "Buster" Biggs. Biggs was a native El Paso aviator who had been killed in 1918 when his plane crashed at Belrain, France. With World War II imminent, a massive construction effort was begun at Biggs Army Airfield between 1942-1945. The field itself was moved to its present location. Huge hangars and longer concrete runways were built to accommodate Army Air Corps bombers and other aircraft as Biggs was assigned to Second Air Force in 1942. Biggs field functioned as a training and transient base though out the war.

In 1990-91, Biggs Army Airfield supported the large-scale airlift of forces and equipment deployed for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Biggs Airfield continues to host C-5A Galaxies and other Air Force airlift aircraft which transport personnel and equipment on rotation to Southwest Asia and other theaters of operation. Because of its heavy-duty and extra-long runway, Biggs occasionally accommodates a specially equipped Boeing 747 as it carries a space shuttle to Kennedy space Center in Florida from Edwards Air Force Base in California.

When the United States entered World War II in late 1941, Fort Bliss was home to the largest horse cavalry force in the nation. The First Cavalry continued to patrol the border during the early years of the war. However, the need for maintaining an outdated horse cavalry along the border all but vanished in 1942 when Mexico declared war on the Axis powers. In 1943 the War Department dismounted the First Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss.




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