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Lincoln Air Guard Base
Lincoln Municipal Airport

Air National Guard aircraft land on the same runways, but their crews & passengers are never de-planed into the Lincoln Airport Terminal. These aircraft taxi directly to Air Guard facilities.

The Lincoln Air Park West Industrial Park contains over 1,000 acres and was originally the site of the Lincoln Air Force Base, which closed in 1966. Today, Lincoln Air Park West is owned and operated by the Lincoln Airport Authority with Industrial Park revenue either returning to improve and/or expand the Park or to help in support of the operation of the airfield.

In 1952 the Strategic Air Command activated the airfield as Lincoln Air force Base under a joint-use lease agreement between the US Air Force and the City of Lincoln. Bomber wings, air refueling Squadrons, and an Atlas ICBM squadron were assigned to the base. The longest runway is 12,900 ft. long and 200 ft wide. Any aircraft in the world can land on this runway, even one of the space shuttles. The B-47 bomber arrived at Lincoln Air Force Base, Lincoln, Nebraska in 1956. The 98th Bombardment Wing operated B-47s at Lincoln from 1958 to 1965. The 307th Bomb Wing was stationed at Lincoln Air Force Base, Nebraska, as of 1963. The 344th Bomber Squadron deployed there from 1960 through 1965. The Atlas F intercontinental ballistic missile system was deployed at Lincoln Air Force Base, Neb. Lincoln AFB closed in 1966.

Wide-open skies and flat lands made Lincoln's location synonymous with flying. Charles Lindbergh was one of many who learned to fly at the Lincoln flight school in 1922. After his rise to fame, Lincoln's small municipal airport was dedicated as "Lindbergh Field" in 1930.

Lincoln Army Air field was constructed in 1942 on the former lincoln Municipal Airport, and became a key element of the city's involvement in World War II. The 2,750-acre property was leased to the army by the City of Lincoln, and the massive project was completed in 17 weeks with a construction cost of $35 million dollars. The base provided technical training for aircraft mechanics, basic training for army aviation cadets, and served as an overseas deployment staging area for bombardment groups and fighter squadrons. It was one of eleven U.S. Army Air forces graining centers built in Nebraska during world War II. Over 25,000 aviation mechanics received training in Lincoln and an additional 40,000 troopers were processed for combat through the facility. At war's end the airfield served as a military separation center for aircrews returning from overseas. It closed in December 1945 and was returned to the City of Lincoln for a municipal airport.

The Army Air Field, which closed at the end of the war, was reactivated as Lincoln Air Force Base in 1952 during the Korean War. It operated through 1966, then resumed its role as a municipal airport, When the base closed, the property was transferred to the City of Lincoln for use as a municipal airport, industrial park, and a public housing community. This prompted Lincoln's annexation of "West Lincoln," a small community that incorporated in 1887 on the west bank of Salt Creek. Housing built for military personnel is currently named Air Park in honor of the Air Force Base.

Lincoln Municipal Airport is an alternate landing site for the Space Shuttle, and home base for the Nebraska Air National Guard's 155th Air Refueling Wing.

As a SAC base, Lincoln was selected to host Atlas ICBMs. Operational sites at both Lincoln and Schilling AFB, Kansas, were originally slated to receive horizontal launchers. Site selection for three complexes of three missiles each (3 x 3) was completed in the fall of 1958. In early 1959, a decision to deploy missiles to nine separate sites required additional site surveys. As these surveys proceeded, Bechtel and Convair contractors achieved design advances on vertical launchers.

On November 27, 1959, Headquarters, United States Air Force determined that Lincoln and Schilling would receive the silo-lift configuration. During the subsequent bidding process, the number of silos to be built was increased to 12. These launchers were sited at Elmwood, Avoca, Eagle, Nebraska City, Palmyra, Tecumseh, Courtland, Beatrice, Wilber, York, Seward, and David City. On April 12, 1960, Western Contracting Corporation earned the contract with a bid of $17.4 million for nine sites. A month later the contract price increased another $6.6 million to cover construction costs of three additional sites. Construction began on April 29, 1960.

Difficulties were encountered almost immediately. On June 13, at a site near Beatrice, builders had to combat sandy soils, which kept caving in. Two weeks later, miners briefly walked off four sites over the issue of work conditions. High water tables challenged engineers to battle a constant flooding problem. However, using the "cut and cover" method, progress was achieved on installing the 12 separate silos.

With the project one-third complete in October 1960, the Omaha District turned responsibility for construction over to the Corps of Engineers Ballistic Missile Construction Office (CEBMCO). Construction reached a peak later that month as some 1,900 workers worked "around the clock" on a 7-day schedule at 12 separate sites. In February 1961, the President of Western Contracting testified before Congress to express his frustration with all of the change orders, yet continued expectations of meeting scheduled deadlines. He stated he expected to lose $12 million on the project. As a result of the hearings, finger-pointing began to affix blame for cost overruns at the several ongoing construction projects.

Construction at Lincoln proved costly in more ways than money. Seven men died during the building process in separate incidents, usually due to falls or being struck by objects. The final death occurred during the late summer of 1961, when a guard was hit by a tornado that lashed through the Palmyra site.

Besides developing a reputation for high fatalities, the Lincoln project also gained notoriety for labor unrest. By late April 1961, the Defense Department reported that Lincoln had suffered 33 strikes causing 1,743 man-days lost. During the following month politicians expressed rage against the work stoppages. As a result of such pressure, on May 26, the administration developed a plan that incorporated a no-strike/no lockout pledge and implemented an ll-man Missile Sites Labor Commission to settle all disputes.

In June 1962, the Strategic Air Command accepted the first silos at Lincoln for operational deployment of the Atlas F missile. On May 16, 1964, Secretary of Defense McNamara directed the accelerated phaseout of Atlas and Titan I ICBMs. Later that year, the 551st Strategic Missile Squadron received the last Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) for such a unit. The Lincoln Atlas F missiles were deactivated on April 12, 1965, completing the phaseout of this weapon system.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:52:09 ZULU