Peterson Air Force Base

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Peterson Air Force Base (1942-Active) - A United States Air Force Base first established in 1942 as Army Air Base, Colorado Springs in Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado. Renamed Peterson Field on 13 Dec 1942 after 1st Lt Edward J. Peterson who was killed in a P-38 Lightning aircraft crash at the field on 8 Aug 1942. Renamed Peterson Air Force Base on 1 Mar 1975. On July 22 Jul 2020, the 21st Space Wing was reorganized as part of Space Base Delta 1. Peterson AFB was renamed Peterson Space Force Base in July 2021.

NORAD/USNORTHCOM Headquarters Peterson Air Force Base 2006.
Peterson Air Force Base Museum.
Restored Hanger Now a Part of Peterson Air Force Base Museum.

World War II

On 6 May 1942, a site adjacent to the existing Colorado Springs Municipal Airport was selected for a new Army airfield. Temporary facilities were established and the runway was made ready by August 1942. Lt Peterson was killed on 8 Aug 1942 at the airfield and it was named for him on 13 Dec 1942. By the end of the summer in 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 base buildings were torn down. It was reactivated on 29 Sep 1947 with new construction but remained surplus until after November 1950.

Cold War

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 2 on Peterson AFB in January 1988, that building was renamed the Eberhart-Findley Building in 2012.

Post 9/11

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 22 January 2008.)

Current Status

FPS-35 Radar Model at Peterson AFB Museum.
EC-121 Radar Aircraft at Peterson AFB Museum.
EC-121 Radar Supervisors Position.
Texas Tower Radar Platform Model at Peterson AFB Museum.
F-15 (foreground) and F-106 (Background) Interceptors at Peterson AFB Museum.

Peterson AFB now 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 Air and Space Museum is located on the base. This museum celebrates all aspects of the air defense mission including radar sites, the SAGE System, Texas Towers, Cheyenne Mountain, missile, and space defense systems. The outside aircraft displays include an EC-121 early-warning radar aircraft, an F-106 Interceptor, an F-15 Interceptor as well as BOMARC and NIKE anti-aircraft missile systems. The EC-121 aircraft display is especially revealing because the plane is fully equipped with radar gear and can be walked through. Very knowledgeable docents and guides.

Location: Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado.

Maps & Images

Lat: 38.82092 Long: -104.70753

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 6,178'

See Also:



Visited: 15 Jul 2015

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