Bases: Pinecastle / McCoy Air Force Base
(The information on
this page is taken from Marvin T. Broyhill's website
Home of: 306th Bomb Wing, 321st Bomb Wing,
4047th Strategic Wing
Status: Closed 1974. Part of base is now
operating as the Orlando International Airport
Pinecastle Army Airfield was used
as a training base for B-17 bomber crews. Acquisition of the
first 2,116 acres began in 1942. Records indicate that planes
from the base performed test bombing of chemical munitions
at Pinecastle bombing and gunnery range. It is uncertain whether
the chemical warfare materials used in these tests were stored
at the air field or transported from the Orlando toxic gas
and decontamination yard a few hours before a bombing run.
Bell Aircraft Corp. manufactured three
first-generation X-1 supersonic aircraft, originally designated
the XS-1s. Ship No. 1 flew the first unpowered glide tests
at Pinecastle Army Airfield, near Orlando, Fla., In March
1946; the program was relocated to Muroc, later renamed Edwards
Air Force Base. The move to the remote California desert ensured
the project team could maintain secrecy, an important issue
considering the project was classified at the time. The site
was transferred to the City of Orlando in 1947.
In 1951, the government reacquired
Pinecastle Army Airfield and expanded it to 4,426.40 acres.
In June, $30.5 million construction project in support of
base reactivation begins In April 1952, Pinecastle Air Force
Base Reactivated. It was initially assigned to the under the
Air Training Command. It conducts training program to qualify
personnel in the use of fighter interceptor and bomber aircraft
as combat weapons
On Nov. 6, 1952 the first B-47 arrives at Pinecastle Air Force
Base on November 6, 1952. The first B-47 crew training program
starts a few weeks later. On December 15, 1953, the 321st
Bombardment Wing (Medium) is activated at Pinecastle. Two
weeks later, on January 1, 1954, the base is assigned to SAC.
Colonel Michael N.W. McCoy is appointed
commander of the 321st Bombardment Wing on May 24, 1954. He
will come to enjoy the distinction of being the dean of Strategic
Air Command’s B-47 "Stratojet" commanders.
When the United States Air Force made its decision to equip
SAC with the B-47, it was Colonel McCoy who took delivery
of the first "combat type" B-47. He was commander
of the first B-47 wing, the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill
Air Force Base, near Tampa, Florida. Within two years he had
formed, trained to combat-readiness, and led his original
B-47 wing, the 306th, on the first successful rotation of
a SAC jet bomber force to Fairford, England from MacDill.
They broke all existing speed records on the trip over and
when they returned, broke them again. On their initial rotation
Colonel McCoy solidified SAC's position as a Global Force
utilizing jet aircraft. To assure that the B-47 would assume
a truly intercontinental stature, he was instrumental in pioneering
and developing the present system of aerial refueling now
in use throughout the Air Force. His list of personal decorations
included Legion of Merit. Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze
Star and Air Medal.
In July 1954, the 19th Bomb Wing joins
321st Bomb, making Pinecastle a two wing base. They come under
the control of the come under control of the 813th Air Division.
In November the 307th Air Refueling Squadron is assigned to
support the 321st Bomb Wing. It flies the KC-97.
After Colonel McCoy's death, the base
was in his honor in 1958.
In December 1961 the wing converted to B-52 transition training.
In the early 1960s the 966th Airborne Early Warning and Control
Squadron was stationed at McCoy AFB, as was the 306th Air
Refueling Squadron. By 1971 the 42d Air Division, Strategic
Air Command, was headquartered at McCoy Air Force Base. In
September 1973 the 42nd Air Division moved to Blytheville
Air Force Base, Arkansas. The 306th Bombardment Wing was at
McCoy in 1972, with the B-52D aircraft of the 367th Bomber
Squadron were based at McCoy. Inactivation of the 306th Bombardment
Wing began in 1973 and was completed in July 1974.
From 1971 through 1976 other training
activities at McCoy included KC-135Q instruction by the 306th
Air Refueling Squadron and KC-135A instruction by the 32nd
Air Refueling Squadron.
A major portion of the site is currently
owned by the city of Orlando and used for the Orlando
International Airport. 4 airlines began providing
scheduled flights out of it 1970. McCoy Air Force Base officially
closed in 1974. Most of it is now part of the Orlando International
Airport. Part of the former base transferred to private individuals
and companies and is being used for aviation related activities
in support of the airport. The US Navy controls a part of
the site for an administrative and housing area. The majority
of the former Pinecastle Airfield has been subjected to extensive
modification due to the addition of new structures, taxiways,
or runways. In addition, the remaining lands have been subjected
to extensive evacuation, landfill and improvement activities.