Geiger Air Force Base
Geiger Air Force Base (1941-1963) - A United States Air Force Base first established in 1941 as Geiger Field at Spokane, Spokane County, Washington. Named for Major Harold Geiger (Cullum 4664), an Army pilot who died in the crash of an Airco DH.4 aircraft in 1927. Renamed Geiger Air Force Base circa 1949. Closed in 1963.
Pre-World War II
The City of Spokane built Sunset Field in 1939 with an agreement to lease the land to the military for a dollar a year. In return, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Army jointly constructed the runways on Sunset Field. In 1941 the Army assumed control of the airstrip renaming the field as Geiger Field in June 1941 and construction of the airbase began prior to the declaration of war.
Geiger Field became a major training base used by Second Air Force as a group training airfield for B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment units. New aircraft built by Boeing were ferried here and formed into combat units. The base was also used by Air Technical Service Command as an aircraft maintenance and supply depot.
Geiger was closed in late 1945 and turned over to War Assets Administration (WAA) for disposal and then transferred to Spokane County and developed into the Spokane International Airport.
Geiger was reactivated in the early 1950s as Geiger Air Force Base under the Air Defense Command (ADC) but the Geiger Field name continued to be commonly used until it closed.
By 1954, the air defense mission included a headquarters element, 9th Air Division (1954-1958), that operated the Geiger Manual Direction Center SM-172 along with one on-base radar site and several off base radar sites. Fighter-Interceptor aircraft were part of the mission as the 498th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (FIS).
The 498th FIS was activated in August 1955 at Geiger Field with F-86D aircraft. In February 1957 it transitioned into F-102As and in May 1959 into F-l06As. It was ADC's first operational F-106A squadron. The F-102 was the USAF's first operational supersonic interceptor and delta-wing fighter. The F-102 was replaced with the Mach-2 F-106 Delta Dart, which was an extensive redesign of the F-102. The F-106 was equipped with the Hughes MA-1 integrated fire-control system, which could be data linked to ground control radar systems such as the GPA-37 analog computer and later the FSQ-7 SAGE System digital computer allowing the F-106 to be vectored toward targets by ground controllers.
In July 1963 the 498th FIS squadron moved to McChord AFB and the Geiger Air Force Base closed.
Geiger Field was renamed Spokane International Airport on 5 May 1960.
Now the Spokane International Airport. Very few of the airbase facilities remain.
Visited: 23 Jul 2015