Sheppard Air Force Base is a
United States Air Force base
located five miles (8 km) north of the central business district of
Falls, in Wichita County, Texas, United States.
It is the largest training base and most
diversified in Air
Education and Training Command
. The base is named in honor of
Texas Senator John Morris
, a supporter of military preparations before WWII
Host unit at Sheppard is the 82d
(82 TRW), which provides specialized technical
training, medical, and field training for officers, Airmen, and
civilians of all branches of the military, other DoD agencies, and
80th Flying Training Wing
(80 FTW), also at Sheppard, conducts the Euro-NATO Joint Jet
Pilot Training (ENJJPT) program, the world's only multi-nationally
manned and managed flying training program chartered to produce
combat pilots for both USAF and NATO.
As of July 2008, Brigadier General
Otis G. Mannon
is the commander of the 82d Training Wing, and
he concurrently serves as the installation commander of Sheppard
AFB. Colonel Kevin B. Schneider
is the commander of the 80th Flying
Sheppard AFB shares one runway with Wichita Falls Municipal
under a joint civil-military arrangement.
82d Training Wing
The 82 TRW is a non-flying wing that conducts all technical
training at Sheppard. The 982d Training Group, under the 82d TRW,
provides instruction in a wide range of specialties at Sheppard and
also at more than 60 Air Force installations worldwide. The 82d
Support Group, 82d Logistics Group, and 82d Medical Group support
80th Flying Training Wing
The 80th FTW mission is to provide combat airpower by producing top
quality fighter pilots for the NATO alliance. It is home of the
Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT)
. It is a uniquely manned multinational organization
with a USAF wing commander and a German
operations group commander in the top two leadership
positions. Command and operations officers' positions in the flying
training squadrons rotate among the participating nations, while
the commander of the 80th Operations Support Squadron is always
from the USAF.
Additionally, officers from all 13 participating nations fill
subordinate leadership positions throughout the wing. Nine nations--Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, The
Netherlands, Norway, Turkey,Spain and
States--provide instructor pilots based on their number of
student pilots. Canada, Greece, Portugal, and the United Kingdom do not have student pilots in training, but do
provide one instructor pilot.
As an example of this totally
integrated structure, an American student pilot may have a Belgian
instructor pilot, a Dutch flight commander, a Turkish section
commander, an Italian operations officer, and a German squadron
Operational training squadrons are:
- 88th FTS "Lucky
- 89th FTS
"Banshees" (T-37 and T-6A)
- 90th FTS "Boxing
- 97th FTS "Madcats"...AFRC Associate Instructor Pilot
program (T-6A, T-37, and T-38C)
Sheppard Air Force Base is named in honor of the late Senator
John Morris Sheppard
(1875-1941) who had been the chairman of the Senate Military
Affairs Committee from 1933 until his death on 9 Apr 1941. Senator
Sheppard helped lead the fight for military preparedness before
Base Operating Units
- 62d Base HQ and Air Base Sq, 4 August 1941 - 1 May 1944
- 3706th AAF Base Unit, 1 May 1944 - 30 September 1946
- 3706th AAF Base Unit, 15 August 1948 - 28 August 1948
- 3750th Air Base Gp, 28 August 1948 - 1 January 1973
- 80th Flying Training Wing, - 1 January 1973 - Present
Major Commands Assigned
- AAF Technical Training Comd, 13 March 1942 - 31 July 1943
- AAF Training Comd, 31 July 1943 - 1 July 1946
- Air Training Command, 1 July 1946 - 31 August 1946, 1 August
1948 - 1 July 1993
- Air Education and Training Command 1 July 1993 - Present
World War II
Sheppard AFB has been providing top-notch instruction in a diverse
array of Air Force specialties for more than half a century. It was
established as Sheppard Field on 300 acres (1.2 km²) just south of
. The land was sold to the
military for one dollar by a Texas cattleman.
It was officially opened as an Army Air Corps
on 17 October 1941, following the arrival of the first military
members on 14 June. As the Army Air Corps became the Army Air Forces
, facilities were completed
sufficiently to allow the first class of 22 aviation mechanics to
enter training that October; the class graduated February 23,
During World War II, then-Sheppard Field conducted basic training,
and it also trained glider mechanics, technical and flying training
instructors and B-29
flight engineers. In addition to the basic flying
training, the base also provided advanced pilot training.
Sheppard 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. Over the
next two years the National
used the base.
USAF Training Center
and accountability for Sheppard Field was transferred to the
Department of the Air Force August 1, 1948 and was reactivated
August 15, 1948 to supplement Lackland AFB, Texas, as a basic training center renamed as
Oblique photo of Sheppard AFB, June
1951, looking north
Basic training was discontinued in June 1949,
but was resumed from July 1950 to May 1952.
Over the next three decades three training schools were stationed
at the base training students in aircraft maintenance, transportation
, civil engineering
, Aircrew Life Support
and field training.
aircraft mechanics school was transferred to Sheppard from Keesler AFB, Mississippi in April 1949 to make room for
expansion of electronic training at that base.
was renamed the Department of Aircraft Maintenance Training within
the 3750th Technical School. During the Korean War (1950-1953)
several airmen from such places as Greece and Turkey were trained
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 there
through September 1985 when Titan
training operations were terminated following that weapon
The 3950th Technical Training Wing was designated the Sheppard
Technical Training Center January 1, 1959. It has had two
subsequent name changes and is now the 82d Training Wing.
pilot training was transferred from Stead AFB, Nevada in October 1965, with H-19, H-43,
CH-3C and HH-3E
helicopters used for training.
Additional training in
airborne firefighting was also conducted, given the role of the
aircraft as a local rescue
and aircraft firefighting asset at selected air force bases in the
United States and at air bases overseas.
The 3630th Flying Training Wing was activated in 1965, and it
assumed the helicopter training program. It began providing
undergraduate pilot training in the T-37
for the then-West German Air Force
) in August 1966. Helicopter training was
discontinued in 1971 when the U.S.
Army assumed responsibility for training Air Force
helicopter pilots at Fort
The 3630th Flying Training Wing also provided undergraduate pilot
training for pilots of the Republic of Vietnam Air Force
from 1971 to 1975. The Wing designation was changed to the 80th
Flying Training Wing in 1973.
The 80th Flying Training Wing began conducting the Euro-NATO Joint
Jet Pilot Training Program in 1981. This one-of-a-kind program
includes 13-NATO countries.They are: Belgium, Canada, Denmark,
Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain,
Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Approval to
conduct the program was recently extended through the year
The Air Force School of Health Care Sciences offered training in
include flight nurse
health-services administration. The population of the base had
declined to 3,825 in 1990.
In February 1992, restructuring and downsizing of the Air Force
caused a realignment and renumbering of units at Sheppard. Some of
the training wings were redesignated as groups, and the technical
training groups became squadrons.
Strategic Air Command
Between 1960 and 1966 the Strategic Air Command
training units stationed at the base that conducted aerospace
rescue schools and weather instruction.
In addition, The 494th
, a Strategic Air Command operational wing of
previously designated as the 4245th Strategic Wing, was based at
Sheppard from 1963 to 1966.
In July 1969, Detachment 1, 2nd Bombardment
, with four B-52 aircraft, became a tenant organization at
Sheppard and remained until 1975. These aircraft rotated as part of
SAC’s dispersal concept and utilized the SAC Alert Facility on the
northwest end of the airfield.
Department of Defense has proposed a major realignment of the base, as
part of the Base
Realignment and Closure program announced on May 13, 2005. In its 2005 BRAC
Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Sheppard AFB by
relocating to Eglin
AFB, Florida a sufficient number of front-line and
instructor-qualified maintenance technicians and logistics support
personnel to stand up the Air Force’s portion of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter
Initial Joint Training Site to be established at Eglin AFB,
This recommendation would establish Eglin Air Force Base
as the Initial Joint Training Site that would teach entry-level
aviators and maintenance technicians how to safely operate and
maintain the new F-35 Lightning
, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.
Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in
a maximum potential reduction of 487 jobs (295 direct jobs and 192
indirect jobs) over 2006-2011 in the Wichita Falls, TX,
Metropolitan Statistical Area (0.5 percent).
Much of this text in an early version of this article was taken
from pages on the Sheppard Air Force Base
website, which as a work of
the U.S. Government is presumed to be a public domain resource
information was supplemented by:
- Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on
17 September 1982 USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force
History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C., 1989