Strategic Air Command
SAC Bases:  Sheppard AFB, Texas
Location: Near the city of Wichita Falls, Texas.
Home of: 494th Bomb Wing 4245th Strategic Wing
Status:  Active.  Largest base in Training Command
Links:  Sheppard AFB

    Sheppard AFB Texas has been providing top-notch instruction in a diverse array of Air Force specialties for more than half a century. Though the mission has changed several times, Sheppard has always been in the training business since it was officially opened as an active Army Air Corps base in October 1941, located near the city of Wichita Falls, Texas.
    Official dedication of the field was October 17, 1941, following the arrival of the first military members June 14. The field was named for the late Senator Morris E. Sheppard, former chairman of the Senate Military affairs Committee. Facilities were completed sufficiently to allow the first class of 22 aviation mechanics to enter training that October; the class graduated February 23, 1942. During World War II, Sheppard conducted basic training, and it also trained glider mechanics, technical and flying training instructors and B-29 engineers. In addition to the basic flying training, the base also provided advanced pilot training for ground officers, and helicopter pilot training.
     The Field reached its peak strength of 46,340 people while serving as a separation center for troops being discharged following World War II from September through November 1945. Sheppard Field was deactivated August 31, 1946 and declared surplus to the War Department's needs; it was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers April 30, 1947. Control and accountability for Sheppard Field was transferred to the Department of the Air Force August 1, 1948. It was reactivated August 15, 1948, to supplement Lackland AFB, Texas, as a basic-training center and was renamed Sheppard AFB.
     Comptroller, transportation, and intelligence training moved to Sheppard from Lowry AFB, Colorado, in the fall of 1954. Communications, refrigeration, air conditioning, and power production operator and repairman training were transferred here from F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, in 1959. Intelligence training returned to Lowry in February 1962. Training in certain missile systems began at Sheppard in 1957 and was conducted here through September 1985.
     The 494th Bomb Wing -- a Strategic Air Command operational Wing of B-52 bombers and KC-135 tanker aircraft also designated as the 4245th Strategic Wing -- was located at Sheppard from 1960 to 1965. In July 1969 Detachment 1, 2nd Bombardment Wing, with four B-52 aircraft, became a tenant organization and remained until 1975. These aircraft rotated as part of SACís dispersal concept.
     Today, Sheppard is the largest training base and most diversified in Air Education and Training Command. Two organizations (82d Training Wing and 80th Flying Training Wing) conduct resident training that qualifies students in a broad range of career fields - from pilot, aircraft maintenance, civil engineering, communications, comptroller and transportation to a wide scope of medical specialties. The 82d TRW, the host unit, conducts all technical training here, while the 80th FTW conducts pilot training.