Reese Air Force Base
For many years Air Force pilots were trained at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, TX. With a round of base closures, that era has now come to an end. The 64th Flying Training Wing inactivated and its assigned aircraft were redistributed or retired. All activities and facilities at the base including family housing and the hospital closed.
24 Janueary 1997 marked the end of 55 years of pilot training at Reese Air Force Base-Lubbock Army Air Field. The 18 members of Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 97-04 graduated as Reese's final flying training class.
The first class to complete pilot training at what was then referred to as Lubbock Army Flying School was Class 42-D. The class entered training as aviation cadets Feb. 25, 1942, and 73 graduated as new second lieutenants and Army Air Corps pilots April 29, 1942. The class members trained in the single engine AT-6 "Texan" during their time at the school. Personnel assigned to Lubbock Army Air Field (the most popular name used to identify the base during the World War II era) and Reese have trained 436 classes of student pilots, graduating 25,349 men and women, including 614 from 40 allied nations.
Reese Air Force Base is named in honor of 1st Lt Augustus F. Reese, Jr., of Shallowater, Texas, who lived about ten miles north of the base. He was killed in action at Cagliari, Sardinia, May 14, 1943, while flying a P-38 on a voluntary mission to destroy a railroad supply train. Lieutenant Reese was honored when his name was selected for the base at the suggestion of a committee of Lubbock residents.
The land for Reese AFB, just west of Lubbock and 20 miles east of Levelland, was provided by the City of Lubbock. Construction began in July, 1941, and the Lubbock Army Air Field, as it was then called, was in operation by the end of that year, with cadets starting training in early 1942. The field was closed December 31, 1945, after 7008 bomber, fighter, and transport pilots had been trained as cadets.
For the next four years the field was used as a housing area for veterans and their families, and as a meeting place for National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and Naval units. The field was reactivated on August 1, 1949, and transfer of the 3500th Pilot Tng Wing from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, was completed October 5, 1949. The field was named Reese Air Force Base on November 5, 1949. Announcement was made on Armed Forces Day, 1950, by U.S. Representative George H. Mahon of Texas that Reese had been designated a permanent installation.