Beale Air Force Base

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Beale Air Force Base (1948-Active) - A United States Air Force base first established in 1942 by the U.S. Army as Camp Beale at Marysville, Yuba County, California. Transferred to the newly created United States Air Force in 1948. Renamed Beale Air Force Base in 1951 after Edward F. Beale, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served in the California Militia, known as an explorer and for conducting the southwest camel experiments. Active Air Force Base.

SR-71A Tail Number 64-17963 on Static Display at Beale AFB


"The 9th Reconnaissance Wing is located at Beale Air Force Base and has a mission to train, deploy and employ our Airmen and assets to deliver globally integrated Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance in support of National Objectives." (23 Jun 2015)

Cold War Operations

The newly constituted U.S. Air Force took over the Camp Beale reservation in 1948 and began conducting bombardier and navigator training. In 1951 the Beale Bombing and Gunnery Range was opened for aviation engineer training.

In 1959 the San Francisco Air Defense Sector was activated at Beale AFB and in December 1960 it became operational in the Beale SAGE Direction Center DC-18. The direction center remained operational until 1 Aug 1963 when it was discontinued in the first round of SAGE System consolidations. See the Beale SAGE Direction Center DC-18 page.

Former Beale SAGE Direction Center DC-18.

In 1959 KC-135 tankers and in 1960 B-52 bombers were stationed at Beale. Both the tanker aircraft and the B-52 aircraft were subsequently removed from Beale.

From 1959 until 1965, Beale was the support base for three Titan I missile sites located near Lincoln, Chico, and the Sutter Buttes in California.

851st Strategic Missile Squadron Titan I Launch Complexes
Base Site Silos Near County State GPS Notes
Beale 851-A 3 Lincoln Placer CA 38.88192, -121.26573
Beale 851-B 3 Live Oak Sutter CA 39.27610, -121.82954
Beale 851-C 3 Chico Butte CA 39.81826, -121.8528

On 1 Jul 1979, the Phased Array Radar Missile Warning System (PAVE PAWS) was activated at Beale. See the Beale AFB Pave Paws Radar Site page.

The first reconnaissance SR-71 aircraft arrived at Beale AFB in January 1966 and the first U-2 reconnaissance aircraft arrived in July 1976. The SR-71 aircraft operated from Beale until budget cuts forced their retirement in January 1990.

Post Cold War Operations

In 2001, the Air Force's high-altitude RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance platform was activated at Beale AFB.

Current Status

Active Air Force Base. As of 2015, Beale AFB is home for the 9th Reconnaissance Wing and the U-2 Dragon Lady, T-38 Talon, RQ-4 Global Hawk and the MC-12 Liberty aircraft. The PAVE PAWS radar site remains in operation but the SAGE Direction center has been repurposed. The base, covering nearly 23,000 acres, has a population of more than 4,500 military personnel.

A U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle prepares to land as an MC-12 Liberty aircraft waits for takeoff at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Jan. 25, 2013. Pave Paws Radar Site in the background.

Location: Near Marysville, Yuba County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 39.13611 Long: -121.43639

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 113'

GPS Locations:

See Also:



Visited: 11 Oct 2015

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