Biggs Army Airfield
, also known as Biggs AAF
, is a military airport
located at Fort Bliss
in El Paso, Texas
. The airfield was previously Biggs Air Force Base
, a Strategic Air Command
installation, between 1947 and 1966. The U.S. Army
began operations supporting Ft. Bliss and its mission in 1973.
The original Ft. Bliss airfield was located a mile to the southwest and was created in 1916 for the 1st Aero Squadron
. On January 25
, the field was named for Lt. James Berthes "Buster" Biggs, an Air Service
officer from El Paso killed in World War I
. In 1920 Camp Owen Bierne opened on the site of the current airbase as a base for airship
operations but the units were soon disbanded and on July 1
, Biggs Field was moved to the former Camp Bierne location and the older field closed.
Biggs Field served primarily as a refueling site until World War II, when it became a primary heavy bomber Operational Training Unit location for the U.S. Army Air Forces. The field itself was moved north and east of the old balloon hangar to its present location. Huge hangars and longer concrete runways were built to accommodate Army Air Corps bombers and other aircraft.
During the war, the following fighter and bombardment groups trained at Biggs Field:
- 20th Fighter
- 94th Bombardment (Heavy)
- 303rd Bombardment (Heavy)
- 330th Bombardment (Very Heavy)
- 351st Bombardment (Heavy)
- 380th Bombardment (Heavy)
- 389th Bombardment (Heavy)
- 392nd Bombardment (Heavy)
Biggs Air Force Base
After World War II the OTU was inactivated and the base housed fighter operations for two years. On February 1
the base was re-dedicated as Biggs Air Force Base, as a base for B-29
, and B-52
bombers. The runway at Biggs, ranks as the nation’s third largest runway,
Biggs Army Airfield
In 1966, the USAF closed Biggs AFB in a budgetary move and released the base for Army use. In 1973, Biggs was reactivated as a permanent US Army Airfield, making it the largest active Army Airfield in the world as part of Fort Bliss
. Biggs Army Airfield is the site of the annual "Amigo Airsho", held in October. The airfield is usually packed with spectators, as the attractions and army equipment encourage people to attend. A popular performer is the United States Navy Blue Angels
, who make special appearances to perform acrobatic maneuvers for the crowd.
- Runway. long, wide, asphalt concrete (PEM or Porous European Mix) surface, capable of handling B-52, C-5, traffic. asphalt overrun on the "21" end of the runway.
- Taxiways. Approximately of taxiways.
- Parking (Hardstand): West ramp (near DAACG) can park 12 heavy aircraft, the hot cargo ramp can park 3 heavy aircraft, the heavy load can park 6 heavy aircraft, and the Main ramp has 18 (20' X 20') concrete pads.
- Parking (Aprons): , asphalt surface with numerous 50' X 120' concrete pads.