Beale AFB, CA Image 1
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    Beale AFB, CA History

    What is now Beale Air Force Base began as US Army Camp Beale, the training post for the 13th Armored Division, and 81st and 96th Infantry Divisions, and a 1,000 bed hospital. Camp Beale was considered a complete training environment, including tank, mortar, and rifle ranges, chemical warfare classes, and bombardier-navigator training. Camp Beale also housed a POW camp for captured German servicemen.

    In 1948 Camp Beale was converted to Beale Air Force Base, with a main mission of training bombardier navigators in radar techniques. Beale established six bombing ranges, also used by Navy pilots, and also trained Aviation Engineers and operated an Air Base Defense School. The Army ground combat facilities were removed and rehabilitated during an extensive base conversion from 1952 to 1958, and a large runway and support facilities constructed. Excess land was sold and transferred, some entering the ownership of the state of California, which created the Spenceville Wildlife and Recreation Area. In 1959, Beale became host to the SAGE Data center, a primary warning system against a sudden nuclear first strike. That same year, Beale gained the 4126th Strategic Wing, part of a dispersed B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber unit on ready alert. In the 1960s, Beale gained and then phased out three Titan I ICBM complexes.

    Beale AFB has been home base for the 456th Bombardment Wing, the 17th Bombardment Wing, the 100th Air Refueling Wing, and the 7th Missile Warning Squadron. Beale is today the home of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, which flew the SR-71 Blackbird, and currently the U-2 Dragon Lady, RQ-4 Global Hawk, and MC-12 Liberty. Beale continues to be at the forefront of USAF reconnaissance missions.