BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- (Editor's Note: This feature is part of the Buckley Air Force Base History series. These stories focus on highlighting the base's rich history.)
How exactly did a National Guard base develop into the Buckley Air Force Base we know today?
While an ANG base, the space mission and the active duty population grew considerably, making supporting the operation increasingly difficult.
By 2000, the mission was too large to be supported by ANG alone. This prompted the governor of Colorado to ask the Secretary of the Air Force for assistance. Because relocating to Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, was impractical, the SECAF converted Buckley ANGB to Buckley AFB on October 1, 2000.
Just a few years later, the 460th Mission Support Group, 460th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 460th Contracting Squadron, and the 460th Comptroller Squadron were activated.
One final organizational change brought Buckley AFB to where it is today, when the 460th ABW re-designated to become the 460th SW in 2004.
The 460th SW assumed the 821 SW's missile warning satellites that detected land, air and sea launched missiles. With this incorporation, the wing became responsible for the Mission Control Station, the Defense Support Program constellation and the new Space Based Infrared System program.
Buckley Air Force Base Today
To support the growth of the mission on Buckley AFB, numerous construction projects seeked to improve work centers while a gymnasium, a commissary, an exchange, dormitories, privatized base housing, and other improved facilities have already increased the quality of life for Team Buckley members.
Buckley AFB is the only military runway equipped with a forward arresting system and the only airfield licensed to operate tactical aircraft loaded with munitions within a 410-mile radius of Denver. Its most prominent feature, the large radomes, shelter multi-million dollar communication equipment.
Today, Buckley AFB is home to the "Big Five" mission partners-The 140th Wing, Colorado ANG, the Navy Operational Support Center, the Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado, the Army Aviation Support Facility, and the Air Reserve Personnel Center. The base is also home to 83 other base partners. These partners represent every branch of the DOD as well as Guard and Reserve components. Buckley AFB is also the primary support base for the numerous military units and retired military personnel in the Denver area.
Although Buckley AFB is the newest active-duty base, it supports a 45-year old mission--Maximizing missile warning through Overhead Persistent Infrared operations and deliver outstanding installation support.
(Information from www.buckley.af.mil was used in this article)