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Patrick Air Force Base

Patrick Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base located between Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach, in Brevard County, Florida, United States. An Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) base, it is home to the 45th Space Wing. Additional tenant activities include the 920th Rescue Wing, the Air Force Technical Applications Center and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.

History

Patrick Air Force Base started as Naval Air Station Banana River, which was commissioned on 1 October 1940. NAS Banana River supported seaplane patrol operations during World War II and it continued to operate as a Navy support base for two years after the war, but the installation was finally deactivated on 1 August 1947.

The Navy transferred NAS Banana River to the Air Force on 1 September 1948. The station was renamed the Joint Long Range Proving Ground (JLRPG) Base on 10 June 1949. On 1 October 1949, the Joint Long Range Proving Ground Base was transferred from Air Materiel Command to the Air Force Division of the Joint Long Range Proving Ground.

On 17 May 1950, the base was renamed the "Long Range Proving Ground Base", but three months later was renamed "Patrick Air Force Base", in honor of Major General Mason Patrick.

On 14 May 1951, the Long Range Proving Ground Division was assigned to the newly created Air Research and Development Command (ARDC). The next month the Division was redesignated the Air Force Missile Test Center (AFMTC).

Cost comparison studies done in the early 1950s pointed out the desirability of letting contractors operate the station. The first range contract was signed with Pan American World Services on 31 December 1953. The Air Force Missile Test Center began transferring property and equipment to Pan American World Services at end the of that year. Pan American operated under contract to the Air Force for the next 34 years (until early October 1988). In 1988, the old Range Contract was divided into the Range Technical Services (RTS) and the Launch Base Services (LBS) contracts. The RTS Contract was awarded to Computer Sciences Raytheon (CSR) in June 1988, and the LBS Contract was awarded to Pan American World Services (later known as Johnson Controls) in August 1988.

The Eastern Range supported a variety of missile and manned and unmanned space programs in the 1960s, making it a regular focus of media attention. In the 1960s, a test range office at Patrick AFB with a missile backdrop was even used to film Air Force scenes for the sitcom, "I Dream of Jeannie," which was supposedly set in nearby Cocoa Beach (no cast was present).. But by the mid-1970s, the demise of the Apollo manned space program and the end of land-based ballistic missile development at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station signaled a downturn in fortunes, and on 1977-02-01 the "Air Force Eastern Test Range" organization was inactivated and its functions transferred to Detachment 1 of the Space and Missile Test Center (SAMTEC) until the activation of the Eastern Space and Missile Center in 1979 on 1 October 1979. In 1990, ESMC was transferred from the deactivating Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) to the newly established Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). On 12 November 1991 ESMC was inactivated and the 45th Space Wing (45 SW) assumed its remaining functions.

Current operations

Patrick AFB is home to the 45th Space Wing, whose Officers and Airmen manage all launches of unmanned rockets at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). These rockets include satellites for the US Military, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Security Agency, as well as scientific payload launches in support of NASA, weather satellite launches in support of NOAA, payloads in support of international customers such as the European Space Agency, and commercial payloads for various corporate communications entities. Units and individuals from the 45 SW have also deployed abroad during wartime, most notably during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom

Also headquartered at Patrick Air Force Base is the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC). AFTAC is the sole Department of Defense agency operating and maintaining a global network of nuclear event detection sensors.

The 920th Rescue Wing (920 RQW), part of Air Force Reserve Command, is also headquartered at Patrick AFB. An Air Combat Command (ACC)-gained combat search and rescue organization, the 920 RQW is the only rescue wing in the Air Force Reserve, operating HC-130 Hercules and HH-60G Pave Hawk aircraft ready for world-wide deployment. The wing is also a major player in civilian rescue operations, most notablly is its role in manned spaceflight support to NASA, providing Eastern Range monitoring and search and rescue support for Space Shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Additional operations have also included searching the Caribbean for downed aircraft, as well as retrieving critically ill sailors and passengers from ships hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic, often at night and/or in bad weather. Because the USAF HH-60G can refuel in flight from the USAF HC-130 and/or MC-130, it possesses a much greater range and mission radius versus similar military helicopters.

The 920 RQW is also a full participant in the Air Force's current Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force (AETF) operating concept. Under this concept, the bulk of the wing deployed to Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Subsequent AETF deployments have included Djbouti in 2004 and 2006 and Afghanistan in 2007 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Adjacent to the 920 RQW's facilities is the NASA Flight Operations Facility, which provides support for NASA's permanently based UH-1N helicopters supporting Kennedy Space Center and transient NASA fixed-wing aircraft such as the T-38 Talon.

The U.S. State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Air Wing helps foreign countries combat drugs and narcotics criminals. The Bureau operates a fleet of aircraft, primarily former military OV-10 and C-27 aircraft at Patrick AFB to help detect and interdict the drug trade in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) is another tenant activity at Patrick AFB, offering classes in equal opportunity for 1,500 students a year from the US military, as well as foreign countries such as South Africa and Russia.

Buildings

The base has the Space Coast Inn for visiting personnel, dormitories for permanent party single enlisted personnel, quarters for families in three separate housing areas, recreational housing on the beach, beach access, combined officers and enlisted clubs, commissary, a large base exchange (BX), library and numerous morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities.

There are several chapels including Chapel One, Chapel Two, South Chapel at the South Housing area, and Seaside Chapel (Building 440). There is also a "45th Space Wing Chapel" which travels with the Wing when it is deployed. The Catholic Group is called "St. George Parish" and meets in Chapel One or Two. While the buildings are owned by the Air Force, the Catholic Parish is under the spiritual direction of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.

Media

  • The Missileer - published weekly.

Surrounding areas

See also

References

External links

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