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History of Columbus AFB


     Columbus AFB's rich history dates back to WWII, when steady efforts from the citizens of Columbus to the U.S. War Department finally payed off. On 12 August 1941, the citizens of Columbus leased the land to the U.S. government for just $1 a day to install a new pilot training base. Columbus AFB's first class began on 9 February 1942 and consisted of 25 cadets who had already completely most of their training at Barksdale Field who graduated 6 March 1942. During WWII, 7,766 students came to Columbus for pilot training, 7,412 of which graduated and received their wings and commissions. At some points, Columbus AFB was graduating 195 pilots a month. However, Columbus AFB hadn't reached its peak until 1945 where the force was comprised of 2,300 enlisted members, 300 officers, and graduating about 250 pilots a month.


     At the end of WWII Columbus AFB was closed down for four years until the demand for pilots arose for the Korean War. On 20 December 1950, Air Training Command (ATC) decided to reactivate Columbus AFB as a contract flying school. In 1957 HQ of Strategic Air Command (SAC) decided to turn Columbus into a SAC base that would be home to the Air Force's B-52 Stratotankers and KC-135 refuelers. Though the first B-52's didn't land in Columbus until 1959, Columbus AFB remained a SAC installation for 13 years. It was in 1969 that the decision had been made to turn Columbus AFB back into a pilot training base. A little over a year later, Columbus began its first Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) class, 71-01. Three years later on 1 June 1972, the 14th Flying Training Wing was activated which continues to this day.



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