Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Luke Air Force Base

Lt. Frank Luke Jr. (by Lauren Marlowe)

One of the many models for the Air Force (by Lauren Marlowe)
Luke Air Force Base located in Glendale, 20 miles northwest of Phoenix, is home to the 56th Fighter Wing and 944th Fighter wing. Luke Air Force Base is the largest and a major training base of the Air Education and Training Command. Luke Air Force Base is named in honor of Second Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr. This base has housing for 95 officer family units; 715 enlisted family units; and 996 unaccompanied spaces. But there are no schools on the base but there is child care and health care which includes seven bed hospital and a center for 150 kids (Luke AFB). The reason for naming the base in Arizona after a Lieutenant is because he was known as “Arizona Balloon Buster.” Luke was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1897 and died in action near Murvaux, France September 29, 1918. He’s death was a big day for him because not only did he shot down three balloons near the Meuse, he was wounded after taking down the first balloon by German Fokker aircraft who was patrolling the skies; and instead of return to base to get medical treatment he kept fighting. Then his plane crashed and even then he didn’t surrender he toke his pistols and was killed in a gun battle with German soldiers. He earned the title “Arizona Balloon Buster” because he destroyed 14 German balloons and four aircraft during World War II (2nd Lt. Frank Luke Jr.).

The base was built on March 29th, 1941 a year after the U.S. Army sent a representative to Arizona to choose a site for an Army Air Corps training field for advanced training in conventional fighter aircraft. The City of Phoenix bought 1, 440 acres of land which would be used for the base. The first class that graduated was 10 pilots on August 15, 1941. During World War II, Luke was the largest fighter training base in the Air Corps, graduating more than 12,000 fighter pilots. However during the 1960s, thousands of American fighter pilots left Luke to carve their niche in the annals of Air Force history in the skies over Vietnam (Jones, Bill).

- Gaudy Silva


Jones, Bill. "History of Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona History." Top USA Directory and US City Resource Guide. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. .

"Luke AFB." The Military Zone - Military Portal for Resources and Information. The Military Zone. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. .

"2nd Lt. Frank Luke Jr." The Official Web Site of the U.S. Air Force. 2 Nov. 2010. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. .

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