In the late 1950s through the mid-1960s B-52 bombers of the the 4138th Strategic Wing were stationed at Turner Air Force Base, in Albany, Georgia. A B-52D from the 484th Bomb Wing at Turner AFB crashed near Cumberland, MD with two nuclear weapons on 13 January 1964. Strategic Air Command (SAC) also played a prominent role in Laughlin's history. The Air Force transferred the base to the jurisdiction of SAC on 1 April 1957. At that time, the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Light, moved to Laughlin from Turner AFB, Georgia.
In the summer of 1940, Major Peacock of the United States Army Air Corps approached the Albany Chamber of Commerce about the possibility of locating a new Army Air Corps training facility in Albany. Construction under the supervision of the Army Engineers began on 25 March 1941. After the end of hostilities, Turner Air Base was deactivated from 15 August 1946 until 1 September 1947. With reactivation, Turner Air Base was transferred to the Tactical Air Command's Ninth Air Force. On 20 November 1947, the 31st Fighter Group, a veteran unit that had served in Europe and the Mediterranean theaters in World War II, was stationed at Turner and became its principal operational component.
Aerial refueling capability for the Wing was increased in 1957 as the KB-50 refueling aircraft replaced the KB-29. The adoption of the new refueling aircraft immediately caused the wing to become non-combat ready. It began a long struggle to regain and maintain its high degree of readiness in the new and complex equipment.
Many other Air Force units were from time to time assigned to Turner, some temporarily and others for their life span. Foremost of these units was SAC's 40th Air Force Division which was activated in March 1951 and inactivated on 1 April 1957. The 508th Strategic Fighter Wing lived its life span at Turner from July 1952 until May 1956. The 408th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, formed of personnel of the 508th and the 4025th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, which moved to Turner from a base in Ohio in May 1956 stayed until 1 April 1957. Upon the transfer of the 31st to the Ninth Air Force on that date, the 408th was transferred to Laughlin Air Force Base, Del Rio Texas.
On July 1, 1967, the Base was commissioned by the Navy as the Naval Air Station, Albany. (see Naval Air Station). The base, then known as the Naval Air Station in Albany, closed for good in 1974. For Albany, it meant a loss of at least 3,000 jobs and sent the unemployment rate of the city soaring to 11 percent
Community leaders accepted the major challenge for redevelopment of Turner Field, and by 1976, the first new industry (Kroger/Tara Foods) was acquired for one of the buildings, with major reconstruction and 80+ new jobs. This was very important, as Albany went to school on how to deal with "Uncle Sam" in such a major redevelopment effort. This was critical to further dealings concerning Miller Brewing and eight or ten other transactions that led to a textbook redevelopment effort, referred to by officials of the General Services Administration as a classic. Many former military installations, once closed by the Federal government have been fallow for years, and in some cases decades. But for Albany, Miller was a major segment of the three year period 1978-1980 that saw a virtual $3/4 billion capital expenditure for Albany, including Miller, Delco-Remy, Procter & Gamble expansion and several service and complimentary industries. Miller Brewing purchased 1707 acres at Turner Field from the U.S. Government for $3,300,000. Miller built a $247 million brewery, utilizing financing available through the Albany Dougherty Payroll Development Authority. The brewery occupied 1.2 million square feet. Limited production began in 1980 with the addition then of 1400 jobs, creating a total economic impact by 1980 of $10 million per year Miller Brewing is among the largest employers in the Albany area. Its work force, ranging from brewery works and managers to administrators and support staff, represents a diverse group of local citizens who also make their own contributions to the community. As parents, homeowners, taxpayers, volunteers and role models, our employees help make Albany and southwest Georgia a thriving community.
Defense Distribution Depot Albany [DDAG], located on one of two Marine Corps logistics bases in the world, is an important element of the logistical efforts of the Marine Corps. The depot is the Marine Corps' primary source of storage and distribution of combat vehicles, repair parts and expendables. In addition, it also provides a full range of services to the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, Defense Support Center Philadelphia, and other DLA customers. Support is also provided to Foreign Military Sales customers and various agencies worldwide. The depot provides wholesale distribution support for the Prepositioning Ships Program for both the Marine Corps and the Army. The depot is responsible for transportation management, receipt and inventory control. Additionally, it performs the packaging, packing and preservation function for set assembly, supports the Care of Stock in Storage Program, and provides support to depot maintenance programs. Resources managed include a multimillion dollar operating budget, two million square feet of storage space, special storage for radiological material, dehumidified storage for subsistence, and storage for textiles and clothing for all DOD services worldwide.
Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany divested a family housing area near the former Turner Air Field. But base officials worked to minimize the impact of the divestiture of Boyett Village. The public-private venture project was initiated in 1996. Initially, the plan was for the contractor to use the resources generated from Boyett Village to build additional housing units adjacent to the mobile home park on base. But the proposed agreement changed to meet the more critical Marine Corps' housing needs at Camp Lejuene.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|