Peterson Space Force Base
Peterson Space Force Base (1942-Active) - A U.S. Space Force Base first established in 1942 as Colorado Springs Army Air Base, in Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado. Renamed Peterson Field later in 1942 after 1st Lt Edward J. Peterson who was killed in a P-38 Lightning aircraft crash at the field on 8 Aug 1942. In 1945, shortly after the end of World War II, the Army inactivated the base returning the property to the city of Colorado Springs. In 1947, after the U.S. Air Force, was created, the base was reactivated from 29 Sep 1947 to 15 Jan 1948, and again from 22 Sep 1948, into 1949. The Air Force reactivated Peterson Field once more following the Jan. 1951 establishment of Air Defense Command at Ent AFB in Colorado Springs – now where the USA Olympic Training Center is located. On March 1, 1976, Peterson Field was renamed Peterson AFB. Peterson AFB was renamed Peterson Space Force Base in July 2021.
World War II
A site adjacent to the existing Colorado Springs Municipal Airport was selected for a new Army airfield known as Colorado Springs Army Air Base, established on 28 Apr 1942. Temporary facilities were established and the runway was made ready by August 1942. The base was renamed Peterson Army Air Base on 13 Dec 1942. Also known as Peterson Field. By the end of the summer of 1943, the base had tar paper barracks, an officer's club, and a theater in a Quonset hut. The base transferred to Second Air Force on 1 Oct 1943, and in June 1944 Peterson Field began fighter pilot training with P-40N Warhawks. Bomber units began training in 1943 and continued until the base was inactivated on 31 Dec 1945.
Post World War II
The base was declared surplus on 29 Jul 1946 and many of the buildings were torn down. It was reactivated on 29 Sep 1947 with new construction but remained surplus until after November 1950.
The base was renamed Peterson Air Force Base on 1 Mar 1975, when Ent Air Force Base was shut down.
As the Air Defense command structure formed at nearby Ent Air Force Base in the 1950s, Peterson Field played a supporting role, first with Ent AFB and the formation of NORAD. On 12 Mar 1981 Gen James V. Hartinger, then NORAD Commander, selected Peterson AFB as the site for the Backup Facility to the NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex.
On 16 Nov 1982, the NORAD COC Backup Facility at Peterson AFB achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC). It was then able to assume command and control functions from Cheyenne Mountain if that facility experienced a major failure. USSPACECOMM, Air Force Space Command personnel moved from the Chidlaw Building to Building 1 at Peterson AFB in November-December 1987, that building was renamed the Hartinger Building in April 2003. NORAD moved to building no. 2 on Peterson AFB in January 1988, that building was renamed the Eberhart-Findley Building in 2012.
The 9/11 terror attack revealed serious deficiencies in the air defense system and readiness that required years to correct and reidentification of threats to the homeland. The Cheyenne Mountain Realignment moved NORAD/USNORTHCOM operations to Peterson AFB in 2006 and the 76th Space Control Facility was constructed at Peterson (the squadron activated on 22 January 2008.)
Peterson AFB hosts the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) headquarters, the Air Force Space Command headquarters, and the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) headquarters. The primary NORAD/NORTHCOM operations command center has been located on Peterson AFB since the 2006 Cheyenne Mountain Realignment swapped locations of the primary and alternate command centers with nearby Cheyenne Mountain Complex.
Peterson Space Force Base
On 20 Dec 2019, the U.S. Space Force was created to consolidate all the military space programs and facilities. Peterson Air Force Base was one of the six Air Force Bases brought into the new service. Peterson SFB shares runways with the Colorado Springs Airport. On 22 Jul 2020, the 21st Space Wing was reorganized as part of Space Base Delta 1. Peterson AFB was then renamed Peterson Space Force Base in July 2021.
Peterson Air and Space Museum
Visited: 15 Jul 2015