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Minneapolis-St. Paul Joint Air Reserve Station

The 934th Airlift Wing is the Department of Defense host unit at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Air Reserve Station.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is located near downtown Minneapolis, downtown St. Paul and the Mall of America. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is one of the most modern and efficient airports in the United States. Located just south of both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, MSP is convenient for business and leisure travelers alike. The airport is in the midst of the $2.8 billion MSP 2010 plan, an expansion program encompassing improvements involving the airfield, the Lindbergh and Humphrey Terminals and parking facilities.

In 1915, the Twin Cities Motor Club built a 2.5 mile auto speedway in the area of what is now the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). But the racetrack was unsuccessful and soon closed. In 1920, the Minneapolis Aero Club leased the land. The dirt area in the center of the track became a landing strip, and the field's first hangar was established to accommodate the U.S. airmail service.

The field was named Twin Cities Airport - Wold Chamberlain Field in 1923 in honor of two Minnesota aviators, Ernest Wold and Cyrus Chamberlain, who were killed in action in France in World War I. In 1926, Northwest Airways (now Northwest Airlines) won the government's airmail contract and acquired the only hangar on the field. Within two years, when the Minneapolis Park Board took over operations, the field had grown to 325 acres and eight hangars. The Park Board gave the field a new title: Minneapolis Municipal Airport. Its main terminal, a former park board warming house, was staffed by two employees and a small Northwest staff. Since there was no control tower, an official sat on top of a 50-foot platform and signaled aircraft with a light gun. By this time, the airfield was handling more than 9,000 operations a year.

Northwest began passenger service at MSP in 1929 with new 12-passenger Ford Trimotor aircraft. The runways were sod, but a concrete taxiway area had been installed in front of the hangars and terminal building. A procedure of rolling and compacting the snow in winter to mark the landing strips became so successful that requests for details of the procedure came from all over the United States and as far away as the Alaska territory.

By 1938, a U.S. Weather Bureau station and a control tower were operating, and aircraft took off and landed on three 3,000-foot paved runways, which replaced the grass strips of earlier days.

In 1948, the airport acquired its present name - Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport-Wold Chamberlain Field. Massive reconstruction of airport facilities in the early 1960s included the construction of a new main terminal, a maintenance base and headquarters for Northwest Airlines. An upgraded and enlarged runway system and modern equipment have further enhanced airport safety and efficiency. Highway access to and from the airport has been improved and parking facilities at MSP can now accommodate more than 12,000 cars. Today the airport covers 3,400 acres.

During the summer of 2003 nine Air Force Reserve Command installations were re-designated joint bases or stations to reflect the multiservice use of the facilities. The locations and their new designations are: Dobbins Joint Air Reserve Base, Ga.; Grissom JARB, Ind.; Homestead JARB, Fla.; March JARB, Calif.; Minneapolis-St. Paul Joint Air Reserve Station, Minn.; Niagara Falls JARS, N.Y.; Pittsburgh JARS, Pa.; Westover JARB, Mass.; and Youngstown JARS, Ohio.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:52:55 ZULU