Clinton-Sherman Air Force
Base (1954-1969) is a former United States Air Force Strategic Air Command base located
near the town of Burns Flat in Washita County, Oklahoma, 15 miles
(24 km) southwest of the city of Clinton, Oklahoma.
is the site of the Clinton-Sherman
In 1942, at the beginning of World War
, the United States Navy
established a naval air station
5,000 acres (20 km²) of farmland in the area known as Burns
Flat. The site was named Naval Air Station Clinton
and was acquired by condemnation. Four runways and numerous
installation support facilities were built. The mission of NAS
Clinton was to train naval
After the war ended, NAS Clinton was closed in June 1946, but for a
period of time was used as a "graveyard" for thousands of naval
aircraft from the war. Some of these planes were sold to
individuals or companies, but most were dismantled and melted and
sold as scrap. A portion of the airfield was leased by
Sherman Iron Works
for use in salvaging surplus
combat aircraft and parts.
January 1949, the United States of America (acting by and through
the War Assets
Administration) conveyed the installation to the City of
Oklahoma by quitclaim
The deed contained a recapture clause for national
emergency purposes. After the transfer the installation was used
for a time as a civilian airport.
On 29 June 1954, the Eighth Naval
District Public Works and Dock Office in New Orleans, Louisiana was
designated as the engineering agency for the United States Air Force
purpose of rehabilitating buildings on the former NAS Clinton
facility, and transition of the facility into an active Air Force base
supporting the Strategic Air Command
On 15 September 1954, the United States of America leased the site
from the City of Clinton to be used as an United States Air Force
site consisted of of land in fee and of easements.
On 15 March 1955 the formal transfer of the base was made to the
USAF. The facility was renamed Clinton-Sherman Air Force
, with the name being derived from the nearby city of
Clinton, Oklahoma and the Sherman Iron Works. The Air Force
modernized the old World War II naval air station with many new
buildings, as well as constructing a main runway to support
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
The first tennant occupied the new base on 10 December 1957 when
the Strategic Air Command
activated the 4123rd Strategic Wing
(4123 SW) to
perform B-52 pilot training and development of aircraft equipment.
It continued this mission until 15 November 1962 when the wing was
inactivated. The 98th Bombardment Squadron
(1959-63) operated B-52E Stratofortress aircraft on
operationally-ready status while assigned to the 4123 SW.
The 4123 SW was replaced by the 70th Bombardment Wing, Heavy
which absorbed the personnel and equipment of the training wing.
The 70 BW was placed on operational status upon activation with the
61st and 98th Bombardment Squadrons being its operational flying
squadrons. On 1 February 1963, the 98 BS was inactivated with its
personnel and equipment being transferred to the newly established
6th Bombardment Squadron
Initially equipped with B-52E models, the 70 BW was upgraded to the
B-52D in 1968 along with some older B-52Cs which had limited use.
It conducted strategic bombardment training and air refueling
missions from Feb 1963 to Dec 1969.
For several months in both 1968 and 1969, all of the 70 BW
aircraft, most of the aircrew and maintenance personnel and some of
its support people were loaned to other SAC units engaged in combat
operations in the Far East and Southeast
. It was one of eleven SAC bomb wings that rotated such
combat duty under the program known as Arc
In 1969, military operations were de-emphasized and Clinton-Sherman
AFB was designated for closure. Due to budgetary restrictions, the
70th Bombardment Wing was inactivated on 31 December 1969 and the
USAF closed Clinton-Sherman AFB.
Post USAF Closure Use
On 1 June
1971, the City of Clinton conveyed
by Quitclaim deed to the General Services
(GSA). On 3 June 1971, the United States of
America and the City of Clinton, Oklahoma, by mutual agreement,
terminated the lease dated 15 September 1954.
On 1 July
1971, the City of Clinton,
Oklahoma, granted Midwestern Oklahoma Development Authority (MODA)
a leasehold interest for a portion of the site, with said lease
containing provisions for sub-leasing property. On 16 August 1972,
MODA leased to the United States of America a portion of the former
Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base.
On 28 February 1975, the lease between MODA and the United States
of America was terminated, with the United States retaining the
right to reenter and use part of the land and improvements in the
event of a national emergency. On 6 October 1989, the leasehold
interest between MODA and the City of Clinton was terminated
site continues as the Clinton-Sherman
Industrial Airpark and the runway is one of the longest in
The runway is considered as an alternate landing
site to the Space Shuttle
and is used
daily for private non-commercial aircraft.
In addition, the runway at Clinton-Sherman is routinely used for
training purposes by USAF and USN aircraft at nearby bases.
includes Lockheed C-5A/B Galaxy, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, and
Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers from Altus AFB; Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS and U.S. Navy E-6 Mercury TACAMO
aircraft from Tinker
AFB; Lockheed C-130 Hercules
aircraft from Oklahoma City Air
National Guard Base; Lockheed
Martin F-16 Fighting
Falcons from Tulsa Air National
Guard Base; and Raytheon T-1 Jayhawks and Northrup
T-38 Talons from Vance
The U.S. Air Force has also used the
Clinton-Sherman site for training exercises such as "Mighty Force"
and other exercises with personnel from Altus AFB or Tinker
The location of the former naval air station World War II runways
to the north and west of the main runway are still visiable on
aerial photographs of the airport; however they are not viable
USAF Postcard Gallery
Photos derived from USAF postcards of Clinton-Sherman AFB
taken about 1958/1959Image:cs-1.jpg|Entrance
- Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings: Lineage and
Honors Histories, 1947-1977 (Washington: USGPO, 1984)