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From Aviation History to Present: Scott AFB’s Legacy Lives On


Scott Air Force Base, located in St. Clair County, Illinois, has been an integral part of aviation history in the United States since its establishment in 1917. Initially known as Scott Field, it was primarily used as a training base for pilots during World War I. Over the years, it has evolved into a prominent Air Mobility Command base, playing a critical role in supporting global operations.

Scott AFB’s legacy stems from its rich history in the field of aviation. During World War I, it became the primary training center for military aviators, helping to meet the growing demand for pilots. The base underwent significant expansion during this time, with various facilities including hangars, barracks, and airstrips being constructed. It also served as a technology testing ground for developing new aviation techniques and equipment.

In the years following the war, Scott Field became a center for air mail services. It played a vital role in the United States Postal Service’s pioneering efforts to deliver mail by air, revolutionizing the way communication and transportation were perceived. The base facilitated the establishment of a nation-wide air mail network, contributing to the growth and development of the aviation industry.

During World War II, Scott Field transitioned into a base for training glider pilots. Gliders were crucial in conducting experimental operations and transporting troops and supplies. Scott AFB’s glider training program not only helped prepare pilots for combat but also played a key role in the development of air assault and airborne operations.

In the decades that followed, Scott AFB witnessed numerous transformations in its mission. It became an Air Mobility Command base, supporting airlift and aerial refueling operations worldwide. The base serves as a hub for the C-21, C-40, C-130, and KC-135 aircraft, facilitating the movement of personnel and cargo for military operations, humanitarian efforts, and diplomatic missions.

Scott AFB’s legacy is not just limited to its historical significance but extends to its crucial role in the present day. It remains a vital component of the United States Air Force’s ability to project power globally. The base serves as a center for innovation, research, and technology evaluation, ensuring that the military remains at the forefront of aviation advancements.

The base has established strong ties with the local community, fostering a symbiotic relationship. The base contributes significantly to the local economy by providing employment opportunities and contracting with local businesses. Additionally, it actively engages in community outreach programs, promoting educational initiatives and supporting charitable causes.

Scott Air Force Base’s legacy is one of historical significance, technological advancement, and ongoing operational importance. From its role in aviation history to its current position as a crucial hub for global mobility operations, Scott AFB continues to shape the landscape of aviation and military operations. With its steadfast commitment to innovation and community engagement, the base ensures that its legacy lives on for generations to come.

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Tina Alexander

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