- In 1951, the Air Force wanted to build a base in central US. Local citizens wanted that base in Little Rock, but congress said there wasn’t any money for it. Local leaders convinced congress they would buy land and donate it for the base.
- By the end of Sept 1952, the Pulaski County Citizens Council, (Currently LRAFB Community Council), had collected almost one million dollars, allowing the Air Base Committee to begin buying property from more than 150 private landowners near Jacksonville.
- That same month, the USAF announced it would build a $31 million jet bomber base on the site. Fundraising and land purchase took nearly 18 months, with construction beginning Nov. 6, 1953.
- First Units:
- Base assigned to Strategic Air Command, and by Aug. 1954 SAC had identified the 70th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, flying RB-47 Stratojet reconnaissance aircraft and KC-97 aerial refueling aircraft, as the first organization assigned to the base. SAC also assigned the new 384th Bombardment Wing (BW) to the new base, flying B-47 Stratojet bombers.
- First Airmen arrived in 1954 to no base housing, and had to live in the community.
- In January 1955, 70th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing officially activated at the not-yet-completed base, followed by the 384th Bombardment Wing in August.
- First base commander Col Joseph A. Thomas arrived February 1955 only to tragically die in the crash of the base's only aircraft, a C-45, after seeing base’s basic infrastructure finished.
- Base opened to air traffic Sept. 10, 1955, and was dedicated at open house celebration Oct. 9, 1955.
- First Mission
- During these early years, the 70th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (SRW) performed operational reconnaissance missions flying b-47 Stratojets over the Soviet border, then added training to their mission, before leaving LRAFB in 1962.
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