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Langley Air Force Base

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Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia is home of Air Combat Command. The base is named for aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley. The host unit at Langley is the 1st Fighter Wing.

History

Langley Air Force Base is among the oldest continuously active air bases in the United States. In 1916, the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics (NACA), predecessor to NASA, established the need for a joint airfield and proving ground for Army, Navy and NACA aircraft. NACA determined that the site must be near water for over-water flying, be flat and relatively clear for expansion and the landing and take-off of aircraft and near an Army post. Fifteen locations were scouted before the site near Hampton was selected. In 1917, the new proving ground was designated Langley Field.

Several buildings had been constructed on the field by late 1918. Aircraft at the base at that time included the JN-4 Curtis Jenny, used by Langley's School of Aerial Photography, and the DeHavilland DH-4 bomber, both used during World War I. Although short-lived, hydrogen-filled dirigibles played an important role in Langley's early history and a portion of the base is still referred to as the LTA (lighter-than-air) area.

Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell led bombing runs from Langley over captured German warships anchored off the coast of Virginia. These first successful tests set the precedent for the airplane's new role of strategic bombardment.

At the outbreak of World War II Langley began to develop special detector equipment used in antisubmarine warfare.

On 25 May, 1946 the headquarters of the newly formed Tactical Air Command were established at Langley. The arrival of Tactical Air Command and jet aircraft marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the field, and in January 1948 Langley Field officially became Langley Air Force Base.

On 1 June, 1992, Langley became the headquarters of the newly formed Air Combat Command.

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