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496th Air Base Squadron [496th ABS]

The 496th Air Base Squadron is responsible for the operation and maintenance of Morón Air BAse, Spain, a pivotal power projection base.

The 496th maintains a high state of readiness to receive forces in support of UN, NATO, and US contingency and exercise operations. The 496th Air Base Squadron tasks include receipt of forces, and full activation as a Transoceanic Abort Landing Site for space shuttle launches.

The 496th Air Base Squadron also supports a Space Surveillance Unit, Detachment 4, 18th SPSS of Edwards AFB, California.

Morón Air Base is located in southern Spain approximately 35 miles southeast of the city of Sevilla and 75 miles northeast of Rota Naval Station. Negotiations for bases in Spain were conducted between June 1951 and September 1953 under the direction of a Joint United States Military Group, commanded by Major General A. W. Kissner. The negotiations were concluded with the establishment of the Spanish-American air bases, including Morón Air Base, via a 10 year agreement between the US and Spanish Governments. The negotiations were formalized with the signature of Ambassador Dunn of the United States on 26 September 1953. Construction of Morón Air Base, under the field direction of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, continued for three years. On 1 June 1957, the 3973rd Air Base Group at Morón Air Base was formally activated as part of Sixteenth Air Force assigned to the Strategic Air Command (SAC). The 496th ABS traces its origins to Detachment 2, 401st TFW, which was established on 1 August 1976.

On 1 November 1989, Det. 2, 401st TFW, became the 7120th Air Base Flight under 16th Air Force.

On 1 June 1993, the 7120th Air Base Flight was re-designated as the 712th Air Base Flight.

The 1994 military reductions in Europe resulted in Morón Air Base picking up a regional responsibility for providing support to designated USAF units in Spain, Italy, and Greece with the draw-down of USAFE units at Torrejon AB, Spain, San Vito AS, Italy and Iraklion AS, Greece. Along with the increased responsibility came a new unit designation. The 712th Air Base Flight became the 496th Air Base Squadron on 1 July 1994, under the newly formed 616th Regional Support Group located at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Since January 2000, Morón's mission has matured to make the base a critical link in supporting the rotation of Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEF) -- deployed in EUCOM and CENTCOM Areas of Responsibilities. Tanker Task Forces (KC-135 and KC-10), Fighter Units from the Air Force and Marine Corps, and airlifters (C-141, C-17 and C-5s) use Morón as a staging base for AEF operations. The base also frequently welcomes rotating US Army personnel. Morón staffing swells during these operations with temporary duty personnel (known as Expeditionary Combat Support) supplementing the contract, civilian and active-duty personnel.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:13:45 ZULU