Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base (Rickenbacker ANGB) is located in Franklin and Pickaway counties in a rural/residential area, twelve miles southeast of downtown Columbus and just east of the Village of Lockbourne. A majority of the property is in Franklin County. The 121st Air Refueling Wing, with the KC-135 aircraft, is stationed at Rickenbacker.
Over the life of the base it has been known by several names. Construction of the base began in January 1942 and the original name of the base was Northeastern Training Center of the Army Air Corps. For a long period of time, the Base was named Lockbourne Air Force Base. The Tuskegee Airmen were based at Lockbourne Air Force Base after World War II and leading up to integration of the military in 1948. In 1974, the base was renamed in honor of Eddie Rickenbacker.
The former Lockbourne AFB (now Rickenbacker International Airport) is located adjacent to the town of Lockbourne, Ohio in Franklin and Pickaway Counties and is in the southern portion of the Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area. Lockbourne AFB originally consisted of 4,371 acres [and was subsequently designated Rickenbacker Air Force Base]. Rickenbacker is comprised of a 5,000 acre (2,023 hectare) airport, and an adjacent industrial park and on-site Foreign-Trade Zone. The airport features parallel, 12,000-foot-long (3,700 meter) runways.
The Army Air Forces (AAF) activated Lockbourne in June 1942. Although excessing of the site began in 1981, there is still a National Guard refueling mission. Missions included glider pilot training, B-17 bomber crew training, fighter aircraft, air defense, strategic reconnaissance, aerial refueling, bomber aircraft, and combat crew training. Jurisdiction of the base has included TAC, SAC, and the Ohio National Guard. Units stationed at the base included the 26th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, flying reconnaissance and electronic countermeasures missions, and the 301st Bombardment Wing.
Rickenbacker ANGB realigned on September 30, 1994, pursuant to the Defense Authorization Amendments and Base Closure and Realignment Act (DBCRA), of 1990 (10 United States Code 2687) and recommendations of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. Rickenbacker ANGB was recommended for closure by the 1991 Commission, but as a result of a proposal by the State of Ohio, the 1993 Commission recommended that Rickenbacker ANGB be realigned rather than closed. The Commission decided to retain the 121st Air Refueling Wing and the 160th Air Refueling Group in a cantonment area at Rickenbacker ANGB instead of realigning to Wright-Patterson AFB and operate as tenants of the Rickenbacker Port Authority (RPA) on the RPAs airport.
The Air Force issued a Record of Decision (ROD) on May 19, 1995, which documented a series of decisions in regard to parcel disposal, the organizations or agencies to receive certain parcels; the means for parcel disposal (Federal transfer, public benefit conveyance, negotiated sale, or public sale); and the mitigation measures to be adopted. The Air Force issued a Supplemental Record of Decision (SROD) on April 23, 1996, which clarified that the base electrical system would be disposed of by negotiated sale. The SROD also, made modifications to the ROD concerning the size of various parcels of land to be transferred to the Army and the Rickenbacker Port Authority (RPA).
1,643 acres were conveyed to the Rickenbacker Port Authority in 1984. The base housing area and the base golf course (approximately 400 acres) were conveyed to private individuals. The remainder of the site is still owned by DOD and is under the control of the Air Force Base Conversion Agency (AFBCA). Plans are underway for most the active DOD portion of the site to be transferred to the Port Authority.
Operations at Rickenbacker ANGB that have used and disposed of hazardous materials/wastes on-site include: aircraft maintenance, aerospace ground equipment maintenance, liquid fuels maintenance, transportation maintenance, transportation paint shop operations, power production, machine shop operations and flight simulation. Operations involved: corrosion control, nondestructive inspection, fuel cell maintenance, engine maintenance and pneudraulics. The above activities generated waste oils, recovered fuels, spent cleaners, strippers, solvents and other hazardous wastes.
In August 2001 a Groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the start of construction for a new, consolidated Navy and Marine Corps Air Reserve Center at Rickenbacker International Airport. The $10 million center, scheduled for completion in early 2003, will be located at the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Club Street adjacent to the Air National Guard facility at Rickenbacker. Being developed by the Naval Reserve, the project will consolidate the Naval Air Reserve Center at Rickenbacker with the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center currently located on Yearling Road in Columbus. When completed, the nearly 1,000 Navy and Marine Reservists currently located at the two existing Reserve Centers will shift their activities to this new facility. Once the new center opens, the site of the existing Naval Air Reserve Center at Rickenbacker will be redeveloped by the Rickenbacker Port Authority, which operates the 5,000-acre Airport.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport AGS, OH. It would relocate the 178th Fighter Wing's the wing's firefighter positions to Rickenbacker AGS, OH.
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