HomeNewsArticle Display

William Smith High School students learn about Buckley AFB history

Christopher McCune, 460th Space Wing historian, talks to students from William Smith High School at the Leadership Development Center Jan. 27, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The group of students visited Buckley AFB to learn about the base’s impact during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal Watson/Released)

Christopher McCune, 460th Space Wing historian, talks to students from William Smith High School at the Leadership Development Center Jan. 27, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The group of students visited Buckley AFB to learn about the base’s impact during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal Watson/Released)

Christopher McCune, 460th Space Wing historian, talks to students from William Smith High School at the Leadership Development Center Jan. 27, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The group of students visited Buckley AFB to learn about the base’s impact during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal Watson/Released)

Christopher McCune, 460th Space Wing historian, talks to students from William Smith High School at the Leadership Development Center Jan. 27, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The group of students visited Buckley AFB to learn about the base’s impact during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal Watson/Released)

Christopher McCune, 460th Space Wing historian, shows a historical base map to students from William Smith High School at the Leadership Development Center Jan. 27, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The group of students visited Buckley AFB to learn about the base’s impact during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal Watson/Released)

Christopher McCune, 460th Space Wing historian, shows a historical base map to students from William Smith High School at the Leadership Development Center Jan. 27, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The group of students visited Buckley AFB to learn about the base’s impact during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal Watson/Released)

A historical newspaper sits on display at the Leadership Development Center Jan. 27, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Students from William Smith High School visited the base to learn about its impact during World War II from the base historian. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal Watson/Released)

A historical newspaper sits on display at the Leadership Development Center Jan. 27, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Students from William Smith High School visited the base to learn about its impact during World War II from the base historian. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal Watson/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Students from William Smith high school in Aurora, Colorado, visited Buckley Air Force Base Jan. 27 to learn a little bit about the base's history during World War II.

Christopher McCune, 460th Space Wing historian, talked to 25 students about Buckley AFB's role throughout history. McCune has been the wing historian for a little over one year and said it was the first time he has had the pleasure of leading a tour himself.

"The teacher actually called me about three or four weeks ago, asking about the possibility of bringing the kids onto the base," McCune said. 

Ryan Clapp, William Smith High School teacher, says the base was an obvious choice to visit based on what the students are studying.

"We've been looking at local Word War II history, bringing the war to a more personal level," said Clapp. "Naturally, our next door neighbors at Buckley AFB seemed like perfect candidates."

The students traveled to Buckley AFB as part of a day-long field trip, which also included a trip to the Wings Over the Rockies Museum in Denver. McCune taught the group about the wing's current space-based missile warning mission and gave them an idea of what Buckley AFB was like more than 60 years ago using a presentation, historical photos and artifacts.

"There was a lot going on here during the second World War," said McCune. "It wasn't just an armament training school. We had basic training going on here. They went through all the same drills that any basic training curriculum did at that time period, including combat skills training, bayonets, marching, field skills and everything else."

McCune also revealed that there was once a women's Army Auxiliary Corps and a segregated African-American unit on Buckley AFB. The history of the base mirrored significant moments and changes in history that were taking place all over the nation.

Clapp said the group enjoyed the visit and was very thankful for McCune's time and expertise.
"Few of our students have ever been on base, and it was a fantastic opportunity to connect the sometimes abstract Word War II on a local level," said Clapp. "Christopher McCune was incredibly generous with his time in relating the history he's unearthed."

McCune hopes this visit won't be the last. He would like to reach out to local schools as the historian, give presentations or host visits just like this one.

"I've already had teachers asking me if I can put them in touch for a visit," said Clapp.

"It goes back to a roll as diplomats to the local community," McCune said. "What we do here still affects the local community in a lot of ways. There's also the impact of the importance of providing these kids with an idea of what things were like during this time period in history, which is extremely significant in the development of where this country is today."
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.