Killeen Base (Site Baker)
Robert Gray Army Airfield
During the beginning of the cold war, Killeen Base was one of the Air Force's storage-and-assembly bases for nuclear weapons. Gray Air Force Base near the AEC's Killeen Base (Site Baker), one of three National Stockpile Sites where nuclear weapons were stored at the time. Routine maintenance and assembly of nuclear weapons produced small quantities of contaminated wastes. These wastes were placed in lead-lined cylinders and stored in underground tubes. The low-level burial sites at West Fort Hood are considered "low risk" by the regulators and do not warrant remediation. Fort Hood monitors regularly and periodically takes shallow well water samples.
The airfield, which is approximately the size of an average Air Force installation, actually belonged to the Air Force from 1947 to 1952. From 1952 to 1969, the airfield and facilities were run by the Army under the Defense Atomic Support Agency. It became an actual part of Ft Hood in 1969.
Killeen Base was redesignated West Fort Hood in the late 1960s. Gray AFB was transferred to the Army in 1963 and redesignated Robert Gray Army Airfield [RGAAF]. Robert Gray Army Airfield has a 10,000 foot runway that is approved for the space shuttle to land on. Robert Gray Airfield is an extremely busy airfield with air traffic ranging from the Space Shuttle to AH-64 Apaches, UH-60 Blackhawks, C-5, and F-16's. The runway sits between two hills (Sevenmile Mountain and Beacon Hill). Gray AAF has no cross wind runway or room to put one in, and has very little room for expansion to the southeast. Gray has restricted area R-6302 A to the North, and its top is 30,000 feet (time of use-Continuous).
Fort Hood's Robert Gray Army Airfield was selected for a joint use airport project that would include an intermodal transportation project involving both highway and air transportation elements. On 17 June 2000 a formal agreement between the Department of the Army and the City of Killeen was signed, officially opening the way for joint use of the post's Robert Gray Army Airfield. In August 2000 M. W. Builders Inc., of Temple, Texas, was awarded a $27,969,000 firm-fixed-price contract to upgrade and expand the existing deployment apron and extend taxiways at Robert Gray Army Airfield. The project includes construction of a new air passenger terminal, air traffic control tower, a crash fire rescue station, a runway approach lighting vault, warehouse, pallet shed, scale house, upgrade hydrant fuel system on the apron, and upgrade the runway approach lighting system. Work was expected to be completed by May 2002.
In August 1990, the 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for deployment to Southwest Asia as part of the joint forces participating in Operation Desert Shield. Soldiers flew from Robert Gray Army Airfield to Dhahran International Airport in Saudi Arabia. There, they settled into warehouses and tents to await the arrival of their equipment. As soon as their equipment had arrived they moved to an assembly area in the desert 160 miles west of the port.
In 1996, within hours of the 1st Cav Division receiving the movement order to Kuwait, the initial flights departed Robert Gray Army Airfield. Within six short days of being alerted, the deployed 3,000 trained and ready soldiers to man fully loaded MlAl tanks, M2A2 infantry fighting vehicles, 155mm self-propelled Paladin howitzers, multiple-launch rocket systems and Bradley Stinger air defense systems, along with the requisite supply, maintenance and medical support structure into Kuwait. Iraqi forces quickly retreated, redeployed back to their garrisons and the Hussein government complied with restrictions imposed at the Persian Gulf War's end.
A 340 square mile installation (217,337 acres), Fort Hood is the only post in the United States capable of stationing and training two Armored Divisions. The rolling, semiarid terrain is ideal for multifaceted training and testing of military units and individuals. Located adjacent to the town of Killeen in central Texas, Fort Hood is approximately 70 miles north of Austin, 70 miles south of Waco, and 130 miles south of Dallas. Fort Hood's primary mission is the training, housing, and support of III Corps units. It is the Army's premier installation for training and deploying heavy forces, and it plays a key role in army modernization and testing of new equipment and systems.
The surrounding area is mostly rural, with several industrial complexes. The first train steamed into town in May 1882, giving birth to the city of Killeen, established by the Santa Fe Railroad and named for one of its officials, Frank P. Killeen. The railroad positioned Killeen as the central shipping point for the surrounding agricultural area. Throughout the late 1800s up to 1942, Killeen remained a small but bustling rural community of less than 2,000 residents. In 1950, Killeen's future was secured when Congress designated Camp Hood as Fort Hood, a permanent installation.
Fort Hood's primary mission is the training, housing, and support of III Corps units. It is the Army's premier installation for training and deploying heavy forces, and it plays a key role in army modernization and testing of new equipment and systems. Fort Hood also supports other assigned and tenant organizations, the U.S. Army Reserve, the National Guard, the Reserve Officer Training Corps, and reservists from other military services. Fort Hood is home to III Corps, 1st Cavalry Division, 4th Infantry Division, 13th Corps Support Command, and eight other brigade-sized units. There are 53 battalions stationed at the installation. This represents one-fifth of the deployable forces of the U.S. Army.
There are over 41,400 military and 3,500 Department of the Army civilians assigned to Fort Hood. The total daytime population exceeds 71,000. This population includes the military, civilians, contractors, and family members living on post. The Fort Hood-supported population, which includes retirees, survivors, and their family members, is approximately 182,600.
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