Altus Army Air Field began training pilots to fly twin-engine aircraft in 1943. At the end of World War II, the Army stopped using the field and it was closed in 1945.
The Air Force activated Altus Air Force Base in 1953. A Tactical Air Command troop carrier wing operated from Altus for 10 months before the Strategic Air Command assumed control of the base. It flew bomber and tanker aircraft and maintained 12 Atlas F Intercontinental Ballistic Missile sites around Southwestern Oklahoma and Northern Texas.
Since 1992, The 97th Air Mobility Wing is new to the airlift mission, but has a long bomber/tanker history. The wing dates back to 1947 when it was activated by the Air Force at Mile 26 Air Field - later renamed Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
The 97th has operated several B-29 and B-48 variants, but flew B-52s for more than 30 years. It also pioneered the use of boom-equipped tanker aircraft for the air refueling mission.
The 97th Air Mobility Wing's mission is to operate the Air Education and Training Command's strategic airlift and aerial refueling flying training schools. The wing provides airlift and air refueling support for the nation's wartime response plans for conventional contingencies. As part of this mission, the wing provides instruction to the Air Force Reserve, National Guard, U.S. Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and to the air forces of friendly foreign nations.
Tours of various base facilities can be planned based upon size and age of participants. See the C-5 Galaxy, C-141 Starlifter, C-17 Globemaster III,KC-135 Stratotanker, 97th Air Mobility Wing, and simulator museum.
The C-5 Galaxy, the military's largest plane, stretches almost the length of a football field and stands as high as a six-story building. The cargo compartment is about the equivalent of an eight-lane bowling alley. With its unique front and rear cargo openings, the C-5's compartment becomes a 121-foot tunnel. The Galaxy was designed to transport outsized military equipment such as tanks and missiles that would require extra time, manpower and dollars to transport by ship, rail, truck, or by smaller aircraft. The Easter sunrise service is held in the C-5 each year.
Tour Group Services
Tour Guide Available (Free)
Address: E, off US 283/US 62
Come visit us in Altus, Oklahoma