Scott Air Force Base is one of the oldest, continuous-service Air Force installations. Its history spans the major evolutionary states of the Air Force: Aviation Section; Signal Corps; Army Air Service; Army Air Corps; Army Air Forces; and Air Force. It was named Scott Field on July 20, 1917, after Corporal Frank S. Scott, the first enlisted person to be killed in an airplane crash.
The original Scott Field consisted of just under one square mile, according to the lease negotiated and signed by the War Department and the Belleville Board of Trade on July 14, 1917. Scott Field had a primary mission of training pilots and ground crews for the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.
The War Department purchased Scott Field on March 31, 1919 for $119,285.84, but had yet to decide its future role. In October 1921, the War Department established Scott Field as a "Lighter than Air" station for air ships and balloons. In 1937, "Lighter than Air" operations came to an abrupt end when a change in Air Corps policy called for the replacement of airships and balloons by airplanes. Scott Field assumed the important wartime mission of training radio operators and mechanics, and becaome known as the "Communications University of the Army Air Forces".
By the end of World War II, Scott Field had graduated 77,370 students. Those graduates were crew members aboard thousands of Army Air Firce aircrafts, including the B-17s and B-29s.
On October 17, 1949, the headquarters for Air Training Command (ATC) relocated to Scott Field. The headquarters of both the Air Force Technical Training Command and the Air Force Flying Command were consolidated at HQ ATC. On October 1, 1957, Scott Field was transferred from the jurisdiction of ATC to HQ Military Air Transport Service, the predecessor of today's Air Mobility Command.
Today, Scott Field is home to the 375th Airlift Wing, 932 Airlift Wing (Air Force Reserve), and the 126th Air Refueling Wing (Air National Guard). It also hosts two major commands, Air Mobility Command and the United States Transportation Command. The U.S. Transportation Command's mission is to provide air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense, both in time of peace and time of war.
Through decades of growth Scott Air Force Base has grown to four times its original size since 1917 to 3,278 acres.
|Courtesy of Scott Field Heritage Air Park Foundation|