Previous names of the faculty were Grandview Airport (the military portion of the airport) (March 1944) and Grandview Air Force Base (1 October 1952). In 1980 the facility was assigned ot the Air Force Reserve, and the airfield was opened to civilian use and was named Richards-Gebaur Airport. The military facilities were known as Richards-Gebaur Air Force Station.
The first major use for the base was Air Defense Command, which used the base as a command and control headquarters. HQ, Central Air Defense Force was established on 24 Feburary 1954, along with HQ 20th Air Division (Defense) on 8 October 1955. The first flying unit was the 328th Fighter Group, with its 326th Fighter Squadron being equipped with F-86 Sabres.
In 1957, the 4620th Air Defense Group was activated at Richards-Gebaur. The 4620th was a SAGE unit, which operated the Semi Automatic Ground Environment RADAR system for ADC. SAGE was an automated control system used by ADC and later NORAD for collecting, tracking and intercepting enemy bomber aircraft. It could also automatically direct aircraft to an interception by sending commands directly to the aircraft's autopilot.
As the threat of Soviet air attack diminished during the 1960s, the Air Defense presence at Richards-Gebaur was reduced. The F-106 equipped 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron departed in 1968, ending the ADC interceptor presence on the base. On 1 July 1970, the base was turned over to the Air Force Communications Service, with HQ AFCS establishing its headquarters on the base. HQ AFCS moved to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois in 1980.
Along with the Air Defense and Communications mission, the Military Air Transport Service (later Military Airlift Command) begin using the base in 1955 as a reserve troop carrier unit facility under the 2472nd Air Force Reserve Training Wing. C-119 Flying Boxcars and later C-123 Provider cargo and transport aircraft were flown by the 442d Troop Carrier Wing under various designations until finally being reassigned in 1982 to Whiteman AFB, although the unit did use Richards-Gebaur again from 1984 until 1994. MAC assumed control of the base in 1977 and also assigned the Air Force Reserve 935th and 936th Troop Carrier groups to the base for training flying C-130 Hercules aircraft.
On 1 October 1980, the USAF turned over Richards-Gebaur to the Air Force Reserve, ending it's use as a front-line base. Its flightline was was opened to civilian use and was named Richards-Gebaur Airport, with the Air Force Reserve being a tenant on the facility. The last military aircraft departed the facility on 12 June 1994, ending USAF use of Richards-Gebaur.
After a Federal Aviation Agency memo in the early 1960s declared that the city's Kansas City Downtown Airport was the most unsafe major airport in the country, the city considered relocating its main airport to the airport. However, they ended up relocating north of the city at Kansas City International Airport.
The airport runway 18/36 had a runway with a over run on each end.
Between 1983 and 1997 the city of Kansas City lost $18 million on the airport. In 1998, the FAA approved a plan to close the airport. In 2001 the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision to close the airport in a suit brought by Friends of Richards-Gebaur Airport of Grandview, Missouri.
Richards-Gebaur AFB was a very nice well kept facility with modern updates including new Base Exchange prior to 1976. The golf course had been expanded and was top grade. The base even had a saddle club that included the best arena in the southern KC area. The RG Saddle Club was host to many horse shows and events including the Golden Circle Horse Show circuit. With a youth center and even a airman's club the base had a lot to offer to the active duty personnel their families and the retired that lived in the area. Today the facility is essentially abandoned, with the buildings and flightline in a deteriorating state.
The main user of the base is the United States Army Reserve 308th Tactical Psychological Operations Company. The Army has upgraded the builidngs it uses and uses some of the old USAF hangars for storage. Most of the ADC facilities still exist, the alert hangars and pads remain, although the runway and taxiways are deteriorating.