Nebraska Historical Marker: Lincoln Army Air Field, Lincoln Air Force Base
5301-5777 NW 44th St, Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska
View this marker's location 40.864014, -96.78288
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Lincoln Army Air field was constructed in 1942 on the former Lincoln Municipal Airport. The 2,750-acre property was leased to the army by the City of Lincoln. The base provided technical training for aircraft mechanics, basic training for army aviation cadets, and served as an overseas deployment staging area for bombardment groups and fighter squadrons. It was one of eleven U.S. Army Air Forces training centers built in Nebraska during World War II. At war's end the airfield served as a military separation center for aircrews returning from overseas. It closed in December 1945 and was returned to the City of Lincoln for a municipal airport. In 1952 the Strategic Air Command activated the airfield as Lincoln Air Force Base under a joint-use lease agreement between the U.S. Air Force and the City of Lincoln. Bomber wings, air refueling squadrons, and an Atlas ICBM squadron were assigned to the base. In 1966 the base closed and the property was transferred to the City of Lincoln for use as a municipal Airport, industrial park, and a public housing community.
The 3,000-acre Lincoln Army Airfield, located about five miles northwest of Lincoln, was constructed in 1942 as one of twelve Army Airfields located in Nebraska during World War II. The airfield was a combined airfield and mechanic training school. Over 25,000 aircraft mechanics trained at the site, and about 30,000 combat personnel were processed there. Completed only 151 days after its construction was announced on March 21, 1942, the field included barracks, hangars, shops, streets and the mechanics’ school. Mechanics trained in Lincoln specialized in fighters and pursuit-type aircraft.
After World War II, the airfield was officially decommissioned on December 15, 1945, but continued to be used in some military capacity for a few years, first as a Navy Reserve Training Station and later a Nebraska Air National Guard base before finally becoming the Lincoln Municipal Airport. In 1952, as the Cold War heated up, the base was reactivated. Now called the Lincoln Air Force Base, two bomb wings, an Atlas missile detachment and a refueling squadron were stationed there. In 1963, the City of Lincoln and the Strategic Air Command agreed to share the base’s facilities. In 1966, the Lincoln Air Force Base was permanently deactivated. The land is now used partly for general, commercial and military aviation and partly as an industrial park and housing. Of the 1,016 buildings on the site, only 3 now remain. Three fatal air crashes occurred at the Lincoln AAF during World War II, resulting in 15 deaths.
Goeres, Vince. Wings Over Nebraska: Historic Aviation Photographs. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society Books. 2010.
Kooiman, Barbara M. Aviation Development in Nebraska. Nebraska State Historical Society State Preservation Office and Nebraska Department of Aeronautics. Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. 2000.
Penry, Jerry. Nebraska’s Fatal Air Crashes of WWII. Milford: Blue Mound Press. 2009.
See Nebraska Historical Marker Program for more information.