Holloman Air Force Base

Holloman Air Force Base (IATA: HMN, ICAO: KHMN, FAA LID: HMN) is a United States Air Force base established in 1942 located six miles (10 km) southwest of the central business district of Alamogordo, and a census-designated place in Otero County, New Mexico, United States. The base was named in honor of Col. George V. Holloman, a pioneer in guided missile research. It is the home of the 49th Wing (49 WG) of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC).

In addition to hosting several combat wings, Holloman supports the nearby White Sands Missile Range and currently hosts the German Air Force Flying Training Center.

Holloman Air Force Base
Near Alamogordo, New Mexico in United States of America
A F-16 Fighting Falcon of the 54th Fighter Group at Holloman Air Force Base, during 2014.
A F-16 Fighting Falcon of the 54th Fighter Group at Holloman Air Force Base, during 2014.
Air Education and Training Command
Holloman AFB is located in the United States
Holloman AFB
Holloman AFB
Shown in United States
Coordinates32°51′09″N 106°06′23″W / 32.85250°N 106.10639°WCoordinates: 32°51′09″N 106°06′23″W / 32.85250°N 106.10639°W
TypeUS Air Force Base
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defense
OperatorUS Air Force
Controlled byAir Education and Training Command (AETC)
Site history
In use1942 – present
Garrison information
Colonel Joseph L. Campo
Airfield information
IdentifiersIATA: HMN, ICAO: KHMN, FAA LID: HMN, WMO: 747320
Elevation1,247.5 metres (4,093 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
07/25 3,747.2 metres (12,294 ft) Porous European Mix
16/34 3,698.4 metres (12,134 ft) Porous European Mix
4/22 3,224.1 metres (10,578 ft) Porous European Mix
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]


Planned for the British Overseas Training program which they did not pursue, construction for the USAAF base 6 mi (9.7 km) west of Alamogordo, New Mexico, began on 6 February 1942. After the nearby Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range was established by Executive Order No. 9029[2] (range designation on 14 May), the neighboring military installation was designated Alamogordo Field Training Station (27 May) and Alamogordo Army Air Base (operated by the 359th Base Heasdquarters beginning on 10 June 1942.)[3]

Alamogordo Army Air Field

Alamogordo Army Airfield New Mexico photo pictorial.pdf
Alamogordo Army Airfield 1944 photo pictorial

Alamogordo Army Air Field (Alamogordo AAFld, Alamogordo AAF) was named on 21 November[3] as a Second Air Force installation equipped with aprons, runways, taxiways and hangars. From 1942–1945 the AAF had more than 20 different groups for overseas training, initially flying Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses then Consolidated B-24 Liberators. Training began in 1943 and in addition to the range, a detached installation operated by the base was the Alamogordo Gasoline Storage and Pumping Station Annex.[3]

In 1944 the "base operating unit" changed to the 231st Army Air Force Base Unit (25 March) and 4145 AAFBU (24 August),[3] and on 16 April 1945 Alamogordo AAF was relieved of its training mission and assigned to Continental Air Forces to become a permanent B-29 base. Instead, by 30 January 1946, the base was planned to "be manned by a skeleton crew merely as a plane refuelling station, [for] emergency landings, etc.",[2] and it was temporarily inactivated on 28 February 1946. Post-war the AAF was used to support the Alamogordo Guided Missile Test Base which had its first Boeing Ground-to-Air Pilotless Aircraft launch on 14 November 1947.[4]

With the September 1947 formation of the USAF, in late 1947 the Holloman range and the White Sands Proving Ground merged to become the New Mexico Joint Guided Missile Test Range (later renamed White Sands Missile Range),[3]:248 and the renamed Holloman Air Force Base (13 January 1948) supported WSMR launch complex(es) (Launch Complex 33, etc.) firing of Tiny Tim (the first Army rocket), Rascal, V-2 rocket, Ryan XQ-2 Drone, Falcon, MGM-13 Mace, MGM-1 Matador, and AGM-45 Shrike. The 2754th Experimental Wing was activated on 20 September 1949 to oversee all research and development projects.

Holloman Air Development Center

B-17g-43-38050-359th BS
Boeing B-17G-75-BO Fortress AAF Serial No. 42-38050 of the 303d Bombardment Group.

The Holloman Air Development Center became the base operating unit on 10 October 1952, and the 3,500 ft (1,100 m) rocket-powered sled was first run on 19 March 1954. On 10 December 1954, Lt Colonel (Dr.) John P. Stapp rode a Holloman rocket propelled test sled, Sonic Wind No. 1, to a speed of 632 miles per hour. The center was renamed the Air Force Missile Development Center on 1 September 1957 and inactivated on 1 August 1970.

Additionally, Captain Joseph W. Kittinger, Jr., stepped out of an open balloon gondola at 102,800 feet on 16 August 1960, in an attempt to evaluate techniques of high altitude bailout. Capt Kittinger's jump lasted 13 minutes, reaching a velocity of 614 miles per hour. That jump broke four world records: highest open gondola manned balloon flight, highest balloon flight of any kind, highest bailout, and longest free fall.[5]

The Aero-Medical Field Laboratory at Holloman "conducted space flight training with chimpanzees [in] 1961–1962", including Ham the Chimp launched 31 January 1961 and ENOS on an orbital flight.

Tactical Fighter Wing

The 366th Tactical Fighter Wing[6] arrived on 15 July 1963 "making Holloman a TAC operating base"[3] and on 8 April 1966, the 4758th Defense Systems Evaluation Squadron (DSES) arrived from Biggs AFB Texas. The squadron evaluated aircraft weapons systems and to provide training for air defense units. Aircraft flown by the 4758th DSES were the B-57 Canberra and F-100 Super Sabre. On 31 October 1970 the squadron was merged with the 4677th DSES at Tyndall AFB Florida.

On 1 August 1970, per Air Force Systems Command Special Order G-94, the AFMDC was inactivated and Tactical Air Command assumed host responsibilities for Holloman Air Force Base. Associate units and programs transferred to other locations within Air Force Systems Command. The Test & Evaluation activities that remained were the Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility (CIGTF), the High Speed Test Track, the Radar Target Scatter Facility (RATSCAT), and the Target Drone Facility.

These organizations were combined to form the nucleus of a Holloman AFB tenant organization, the 6585th Test Group, with the Air Force Special Weapons Center (AFSWC) at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, designated as the headquarters for the Test Group.

In 1975, AFSWC was disestablished, and the 6585th Test Group at Holloman became part of the Armament Development and Test Center (ADTC) at Eglin AFB Florida.

Tactical Training Center

Holloman was designated a Tactical Training Center on 1 August 1977 and on 1 October 1993, the Air Force Development Test Center at Eglin AFB was redesignated as the Air Armament Center (AAC).[7]

In 1986, a contract was awarded to Flight Systems Inc. (later Honeywell) to modify 194 surplus Convair F-106 Delta Dart aircraft stored at Davis-Monthan AFB Arizona to the QF-106A target drone configuration. This program came to be known as Pacer Six, and the first flight of a converted drone took place in July 1987. Following the completion of an initial batch of ten QF-106s in 1990, most of the work was transferred to the USAF itself. Much of the conversion work was done before the aircraft were removed from storage at AMARC, with further work being carried out at East St Louis, Illinois.

The QF-106s began operating as a Full-Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) in late 1991 at White Sands Missile Range New Mexico, and later at the Eglin Gulf Test Range in Florida (based at Holloman and Tyndall). A typical mission would employ the QF-106 as a target for an infrared homing missile. The aircraft had burners placed on pylons underneath the wings to act as IR sources for heat-seeking missiles. The intention of the program was for the QF-106 to survive repeated engagements with air-to-air missiles, to make it possible for each QF-106 to last as long as possible before it was destroyed. The last shootdown of a QF-106 (57–2524) took place at Holloman AFB on 20 February 1997. The QF-106 was replaced by the QF-4 Phantom drone.

Today, the 96th Test Group from Eglin Air Force Base Florida is responsible for operational testing and evaluation of new equipment and systems proposed for use by these forces. Current initiatives include advanced self-protection systems for combat aircraft, aircrew life support systems, aerial reconnaissance improvements, new armament and weapons delivery systems, and improved maintenance equipment and logistics support.

366th Tactical Fighter Wing

On 15 July 1963, after serving at Chaumont-Semoutiers Air Base, France as a conventional strike force in Europe, the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing moved to Holloman. The move was a result of French president Charles DeGaulle’s deep suspicion of “supranational organizations” and his country's shift away from the NATO orbit in the early 1960s that ultimately led to the closure of American air bases in France.[6]

366th TFW was organized as follows:

Emblem of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing

At the time of the wing's arrival at Holloman, they flew the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, which were former Air National Guard aircraft transferred to France during the 1961 Berlin Crisis as part of Operation Tack Hammer. At Holloman, the wing began converting to the new McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II in February 1965.

Later that year, the wing sent its first squadron to the Republic of Vietnam. The 390th Fighter Squadron was assigned to Da Nang AB, and the 391st went to Cam Ranh Bay AB in early 1966.

On 20 March 1966 the rest of the wing entered the conflict and moved to Phan Rang AB, Republic of Vietnam in support of combat operations in Vietnam. With the transfer of the 366th to Vietnam, the 6583d Air Base Group became the host unit at Holloman.

49th Tactical Fighter Wing

McDonnell Douglas F-4E-41-MC Phantom II AF Serial No. 68-0531 of the 49th FW. This aircraft was brought out of AMARC storage in 1997 as part of the USAF 50th Anniversary and repainted in a Southeast Asia camouflage motif. It is still on the rolls of AMARC as of 2008.
McDonnell Douglas F-15A-19-MC Eagle AF Serial No. 77-0115 of the 8th Fighter Squadron. After the end of its active service, this aircraft was transferred to the 101st Fighter Squadron of the Massachusetts Air National Guard based at Otis ANGB.
Northrop AT-38B-55-NO Talon AF Serial No. 64-13172 of the 434th TFTS/479th TTW
German Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-4F-55-MC Phantom AF Serial No. 72-1164 flown by the 20th Fighter Squadron in USAF markings. This aircraft was flown by Jagdgeschwader 74 at Neuburg Air Base in Germany until Jan 2005[8]

On 1 July 1968, the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing arrived at Holloman Air Force Base from Spangdahlem AB, West Germany, becoming the first dual-based tactical fighter wing. The 6583d Air Base Group was inactivated in place.

Under the dual-basing concept, the 49th, stationed at Holloman, deployed individual squadrons periodically to Europe, fulfilling their NATO commitment. The operational squadrons of the 49th TFW upon its arrival were:

All three squadrons flew the McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II. In 1972 squadron aircraft tail codes were standardized on "HO".

In 1969, the wing participated in its first dual-basing exercise, Crested Cap I, deploying 2,000 personnel and 72 aircraft to NATO bases in Europe. Also in 1969, the 49th earned the coveted MacKay Trophy for the "most meritorious flight of the year", for the redeployment from Germany to Holloman after Crested Cap II. The MacKay Trophy recognized the 49th for the fastest non-stop deployment of jet aircraft accomplished by a wing's entire fleet.

In May 1972 the 49th deployed their F-4 aircraft and 2,600 personnel to Takhli RTAFB Thailand. During this deployment the 49th flew more than 21,000 combat hours over just about every battle zone from An Loc to vital installations in the Hanoi vicinity. During five months of combat, the wing did not lose any aircraft or personnel—a testament to the outstanding training and proficiency of all members of the 49th. The unit received an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device for its participation. The 49th TFW officially closed out its Southeast Asia duty on 9 October 1972, turning over Takhli to a former host unit at Holloman, the 366th TFW which was transferred from Da Nang Air Base South Vietnam.

F-15 Eagle era

On 20 December 1977, the wing began converting from the F-4D to F-15A/Bs. The transition was completed on 4 June 1978.

History was made during February 1980, when two pilots from the 49th each flew their F-15s 6,200 miles in just over 14 hours, establishing a record for the longest flight of a single-seat fighter aircraft. The flights required six aerial refuelings, proving the global power of the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing.

In July 1980, the wing acquired the commitment of a primary Rapid Deployment Force unit. This tasking, which lasted for a year, required the wing to be ready to deploy its aircraft, crews, and support personnel on short notice. The wing served with the Rapid Deployment Force until July 1981, when the tasking was transferred to the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, Langley Air Force Base Virginia.

The 49th demonstrated its capabilities in the fall of 1988, winning top honors at the William Tell air-to-air weapons competition. The wing outdistanced the nearest competitor by more than 2,000 points. The 49th won a variety of awards, including the coveted "Top Gun" for best fighter pilot.

F-117 Nighthawk era

From 1991 to 1993, the 49th underwent a number of transitions. On 1 October 1991, the 49th was redesignated the 49th Fighter Wing as part of an Air Force wide redesignation of units.

On 1 November 1991, the 7th Fighter Squadron ceased F-15 operations, performing a Lead-In Fighter Training (LIFT) mission with Northrop AT-38B Talons, preparing for the transition to the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk. during most of 1992.

On 1 June 1992 the 8th Fighter Squadron ceased F-15 operations and started flying AT-38B LIFT missions.

The 9th Fighter Squadron ceased F-15 operations on 5 June 1992 and received F-4E aircraft from the 20th Fighter Squadron from the closing George AFB California as the Fighter Training Unit for the German Air Force.

The last F-15 departed Holloman 5 June 1992, ending 14 years of Eagle operations.

On 9 May 1992, four Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighters from the Tonopah Test Range Airport Nevada, arrived at Holloman. The 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Tonopah was inactivated with the transfer of the last F-117s to Holloman on 8 July 1992.

F-117s were initially assigned to the following squadrons:

  • 69th Fighter Squadron -> 8th FS (1 July 1993)
  • 69th Fighter Squadron -> 9th FS (1 July 1993)
  • 417th Fighter Squadron -> 7th FS (1 December 1993)

These squadrons were PCS (moved Permanent Change Of Station) to Holloman as part of the 37th Operations Group on 15 June 1992. The formal transfer to the 49th Operations group occurred on 8 July 1992 when the 37th OG was inactivated. In 1993 these squadrons were inactivated with assets transferred to the 7th, 8th and 9th Fighter Squadrons. The 7th was designated a combat training squadron, the 8th and 9th being deployable operational fighter squadrons.

On 1 July 1993, the 20th Fighter Squadron was activated as part of the 49th Operations Group, taking over the F-4Es of the 9th FS. The mission of the 20th FS was to conduct training with the German Air Force. The F-4Es which the 20th FS flew initially were USAF-owned aircraft, however in 1997 the squadron began flying German-owned F-4F aircraft. The F-4Fs, however flew in USAF markings. The 20th Fighter Squadron was inactivated on 20 December 2004 and the F-4Fs sent to Germany.

The 48th Rescue Squadron was activated at Holloman AFB on 1 May 1993 with its six Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters. The personnel of the 48th deployed six times in support of Operations Northern and Southern Watch. Additionally, the 48th saved 33 lives in real-world rescues in the American Southwest. The unit was inactivated on 1 February 1999.

The 8th and 9th Fighter Squadrons deployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy and Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany from 21 February–1 July 1999, in support of Operation Allied Force. Flying more than 1,000 total sorties, pilots flew into heavily defended skies, littered with surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft fire. In particular, F-117A pilots bravely trusting in their aircraft's low observable technology struck some of the most valuable, and highly guarded targets in Serbia. The F-117s penetrated the heavily defended areas, which conventional aircraft could not reach, and at least two aircraft were lost.

Global War On Terror

People, airplanes, and equipment of the 49th Fighter Wing played a key role in the continued global war against terrorism and particularly in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The wing's F-117s played a major role, dropping the first bombs against an Iraqi leadership target in Baghdad on 19 March 2003. In all, F-117 pilots flew more than 80 missions and dropped nearly 100 enhanced guided bomb units against key targets.

Approximately 300 people deployed with the air package and provided direct support to the F-117 mission. Additionally, hundreds of other 49th FW personnel were deployed on other missions.

479th Tactical Training Wing

The 479th TTW was activated at Holloman on 1 January 1977 to provide Lead-In Fighter Training (LIFT) training for pilots assigned to fly tactical fighter or attack aircraft. The 479th Flew AT-38B Talons with the following squadrons:

All 479th TTW aircraft carried the "HM" tail code. The LIFT program was sharply cut back in 1991, and the wing replaced by the 479th Fighter Group at Holloman, with the aircraft being consolidated under the 586th Flight Training Squadron.

The 479th was inactivated on 31 July 2000, with squadron resources absorbed by the 49th FW, later being transferred to the 46th Test Group as the 586th Flight Test Squadron.

Base names

  • Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range, 14 May 1942
  • Alamogordo Field Training Station, 27 May 1942
  • Alamogordo Army Air Base, c. June 1942
  • Alamogordo Army Air Field, 21 November 1942
  • Holloman Air Force Base, 13 January 1948 – present

Major commands to which assigned

B-24J-180-CO Liberator
Consolidated B-24J-180-CO Liberator Serial AAF Serial No. 44-40807 of the 466th Bombardment Group.
re-designated as: Strategic Air Command, 21 March 1946
re-designated as: Air Force Systems Command, 1 April 1961

Major units assigned

World War II station units
  • 359th Base HQ and Air Base Squadron, 10 June 1942 – 25 March 1944
  • 231st Army Air Forces Base Unit, 25 March 1944 – 16 March 1947
  • 206th Army Air Forces Base Unit, 22 August 1944 – 6 June 1945
  • 1073d Army Air Forces Base Unit, 24 August 1944 – 15 January 1945
World War II training units
United States Air Force
  • 4145th Army Air Forces Base Unit, 16 March 1947
Re-designated: 2754th Air Force Base Unit
27 September 1947 – 20 September 1949
  • 2754th Experimental Wing, 20 September 1949
Re-designated: 6540th Missile Test Wing, 30 June 1951
Re-designated: 6580th Missile Test Wing, 1 September 1952
Re-designated: Holloman Air Development Center, 10 October 1952
Re-designated: Air Force Missile Development Center
1 September 1957 – 1 August 1970
Re-designated: 46th Test Group, 1 October 1992 – 18 July 2012
  • 96th Test Group, 18 July 2012 – present
  • 3089th Experimental Group, 5 October 1949
Re-designated: 6540th Missile Test Group, 1 January 1951
Re-designated: 6580th Missile Test Group, 1 October 1953
Re-designated: 6580th Test Group, 1 September 1954 – 1 February 1955
  • 6580th Test Support Wing, 1 October 1953
Re-designated: 6580th Air Base Wing, 1 September 1954
Re-designated: 6580th Air Base Group, 1 February 1955 – 1 January 1971
Re-designated: Det 1, 4677th Defense Systems Evaluation Squadron
31 October 1970 – 1 July 1974
  • 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 July 1968
Re-designated: 49th Fighter Wing, 1 October 1991
re-designated: 49th Wing, 30 June 2010 – present

Aircraft operated from Holloman

Holloman AFB F-22
The first F-22 Raptor arrives at Holloman AFB on 2 June 2008
  • World War II
B-17E/F Flying Fortress, 1942
B-24D Liberator, 1943–1944
P-47D Thunderbolt, 1943
  • United States Air Force
HH-60G Pavehawk, 1993–1999
F-4C/D/E Phantom II, 1963–2004
F-15A Eagle, 1977–1992
F-117A Nighthawk, 1992–2008
F-22A Raptor, 2008–2014
F-16C/D Fighting Falcon, 2014–Present
F-84F Thunderstreak, 1963–1965
F-100D Super Sabre, 1963, 1966–1970
EB-57 Canberra, 1966–1970
T-38A Talon, 1968–1976, 1993–2014
AT-38B, 1992–1997
MQ-1B Predator, 2009–Present
MQ-9 Reaper, 2009–Present
  • Drone Aircraft
QF-86E Sabre
QF-100D Super Sabre
QF-106A Delta Dart
QF-4E/G Phantom II
DB-17 Flying Fortress
QB-17 Flying Fortress
  • German Air Force
F-4E/F Phantom II, 1993–2004
Panavia Tornado, 1996–present

Role and operations

The 49th Wing – host wing at Holloman Air Force Base – supports national security objectives by deploying worldwide to support peacetime and wartime contingencies. The wing provides combat-ready Airmen, and trains General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper pilots (including all Spanish and British Reaper pilots[9]), sensor operators and F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots. Additionally, the wing delivers Air Transportable Clinics and Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources while providing support to more than 17,000 military and civilian personnel to include German Air Force Flying Training center operations. The wing has a proud history of service in World War II, Korea, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia and NATO-led Operation Allied Force. Holloman AFB supports about 21,000 Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, retirees, DoD civilians and their family members.

Holloman is home to the world's longest and fastest high speed test track. The 846th Test Squadron set the world land speed record for a railed vehicle with a run of 6,453 mph (2885 m/s or 10430 km/h), or Mach 8.5 on 30 April 2003.[10]

49th Wing

The 49th Wing is the host unit at Holloman Air Force Base, supporting national security objectives with mission-ready MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers, Air Transportable Medical Clinic and BEAR (Base Expeditionary Airfield Resources) Base assets. The wing deploys combat-ready and mission-support forces supporting Air Expeditionary Force operations, Overseas Contingency Operations, and peacetime contingencies.

The 49th Operations Group supports national security objectives, as directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by utilizing the Air Force's MQ-1 and MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft. The operational squadrons are:

The Operations Group took over the activities of the inactivated 37th Fighter Wing at Tonopah Test Range Airport when the F-117As were transferred to Holloman in 1993. In addition to the 49th OG, other components of the 49th Wing are:

  • 49th Maintenance Group: Maintains aircraft, propulsion, avionics and accessory systems for the F-22A Raptor, T-38 Talon, MQ-1B Predator and MQ-9 Reaper.
  • 49th Mission Support Group: Provides support to all base operations, personnel, and family members.
  • 49th Medical Group: Provides medical services for active duty and retired military members and their families
  • 49th Materiel Maintenance Group: Maintains and deploys all equipment needed to build a "BEAR base" airfield
  • Detachment 1, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron (From Tyndall AFB, Florida): Maintains and operates QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) drone aircraft (Tail Code HD).

In February 2006, the Bush Administration announced that Holloman would cease to be home to the F-117A Nighthawk. This move coincided with an announcement that the F-117 will be removed from service on or about 2008. On 1 March 2006, it was announced by the United States Air Force that Holloman would be the new home of two squadrons of F-22A Raptors. In May 2014, with the inactivation of the 7th Fighter Squadron, the F-22 mission ceased at Holloman. The Wing's F-22s were transferred to other F-22 wings to bolster their available aircraft.

96th Test Group

Northrop AT-38AB-45-NO Talon Serial 62-3660 of the 586th Flight Test Squadron (AFMC)

As of 18 July 2012, the 46th Test Group was 'reflagged' as the 96th Test Group, under the new 96 TW, stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.[11] The 96th Test Group is an Air Force Materiel Command unit responsible for operational testing and evaluation of new equipment and systems proposed for use by these forces. Current initiatives include advanced self-protection systems for combat aircraft, aircrew life support systems, aerial reconnaissance improvements, new armament and weapons delivery systems, and improved maintenance equipment and logistics support.

Squadrons of the group have been:

Aircraft of the 96th Test Group carry the tail code "HT".

54th Fighter Group

In March 2014 the 54th Fighter Group was reactivated at Holloman AFB, NM with a mission to train F-16 aircrew members and aircraft maintenance personnel. The 54th Fighter Group is a geographically separated unit of the 56th Fighter Wing, out of Luke AFB, Arizona.


  • Operational Squadrons
  • Support Units
    • 54th Operations Support Squadron (OSS), 1 March 2014 – Present
    • 54th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS), 1 March 2014 – Present
    • 54th Maintenance Squadron (MS), March 2014 – Present

German Air Force Flying Training Center

German Panavia Tornado
A Tornado showing the GAF/FTC emblem on the tail fin.

On 1 May 1996, the German Luftwaffe established the German Air Force Tactical Training Center at Holloman.

The German Air Force Tactical Training Center activated at Holloman 1 May 1996. With the activation, 300 German military personnel and 12 Panavia Tornado aircraft joined Team Holloman. German aircrews come to Holloman for approximately three weeks for advanced tactical training and then return to Germany. The German Air Force also conducts a Fighter Weapons Instructor Course for the Tornado. Aircrews for this course come to Holloman for about six months.

As of November 2006 there are 650 German military personnel and 25 Tornado aircraft assigned to Holloman AFB.

There are numerous reasons the German Air Force trains at Holloman. The area offers great flying weather and has suitable air space. Other reasons are the proximity of Holloman to the German Air Force Air Defense Center at Fort Bliss, Texas and the centralizing of German aircrew training at a single location. To facilitate this, there is a memorandum of understanding between the two governments.

COA of the German Air Force Tactical Training Center

By offering NATO allies the benefits of available space at Holloman as well as the use of the Southwest's excellent flying weather, the U.S. can help maintain the strength of NATO's forces without the expense of forward-basing U.S. forces in great numbers overseas.

On 29 September 1999, two Luftwaffe Tornados crashed near Marathon Indian Basin, about 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Carlsbad. The crash was investigated by Holloman AFB 49th Wing Safety and German Air Force Safety personnel. Both pilots successfully ejected, and were uninjured.

In September 2004, Luftwaffe chief of staff, Klaus-Peter Stieglitz announced a reduction in its training program of roughly 20%.

In March 2013, it was announced that German Air Force units at Fort Bliss will transfer to Holloman later that same year; this will end the German Air Force presence at Fort Bliss dating back to 1956.[13] In 2015, due to funding constraints on the planned new facilities in Europe, the German Air Force Air Defense school will stay open at Fort Bliss until 2020.[14]

Based units

Flying and notable non-flying units based at Holloman Air Force Base.[15][16]

Units marked GSU are Geographically Separate Units, which although based at Holloman, are subordinate to a parent unit based at another location.

United States Air Force

Air Education and Training Command (AETC)

Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC)

Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC)

Air Combat Command (ACC)

Missile testing sites

Rocket Sled Track at Holloman AFB

Missile testing at Holloman began in 1948. Holloman is known to have been used for 147 major launches from 1948 to 1959, reaching up to 235 kilometers altitude.

The North American Test Instrumentation Vehicle program took place between January–November 1948. Twenty launches were made, six were successful. Program terminated in 1949. SM-64 Navaho missile planned but not tested.
The Able-51/ZEL site was used to test a MGM‐1 Matador cruise missile in December 1948.
Launches of Aerobee sounding rockets. First use 2 December 1949. Last launch 24 June 1959.
Used for testing SM-62 Snark. First use 21 December 1950. Last launch 28 March 1952
Used for testing Republic-Ford JB-2 cruise missile. First use 3 May 1948. Last launch 10 January 1949.


As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 2,076 people, 393 households, and 380 families residing on the base. The population density was 165.7 people per square mile (64.0/km²). There were 427 housing units at an average density of 34.1/sq mi (13.2/km²). The racial makeup of the base was 73.3% White, 13.2% African American, 0.6% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0.6% Pacific Islander, 6.4% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.4% of the population.

There were 393 households out of which 67.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 88.8% were married couples living together, 4.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 3.3% were non-families. 2.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 0.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.29 and the average family size was 3.34.

On the base the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 37.0% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 3.7% from 45 to 64, and 0.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females, there were 152.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 180.4 males.

The median income for a household on the base was $37,206, and the median income for a family was $37,941. Males had a median income of $20,359 versus $15,425 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,568. About 8.3% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.8% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.


The base hosts a primary school and a middle school, which is named after the base and houses grades 6–8. The mascot of the middle school is the falcon.[18][19][20]


Holloman is located in New Mexico's Tularosa Basin between the Sacramento and San Andres mountain ranges. The base is about 10 miles (16 km) west of Alamogordo, New Mexico, on U.S. Route 70; 90 miles (145 km) north of El Paso, Texas; and 70 miles (113 km) east of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The base covers 59,639 acres (24,135 ha) and is located at an altitude of 4,093 feet (1,248 m).

The base is also a census-designated place (CDP), which had a population of 2,076 at the 2000 census.[17] According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 12.7 square miles (33 km2), of which, 12.5 square miles (32 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (1.18%) is water. The area of the airforce base is 59,639 acres (241.35 km2)

Environmental contamination

The groundwater below Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo first tested positive for hazardous chemicals in 2016. Polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS's) have been found in the groundwater below the base and in wells that were tested off-base.[21]

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ "Airport Diagram – Holloman AFB (KHMN)" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 18 July 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b http://www.nps.gov/whsa/historyculture/upload/Dunes-and-Dreams.pdf
  3. ^ a b c d e f Mueller (1982). Air Force Bases as of 1982 (Report).
  4. ^ Bushnell (released 25 August 1986). GAPA: Holloman's First Missile Program (Scribd.com image) (Report). Air Force Missile Development Center: Historical Branch. iris 00169113. Retrieved 2013-08-11. [1st ramjet GAPA] "was launched 14 November 1947 and the initial liquid-fuel variety 12 March 1948.8 ... The last of the GAPAs, number 114, was launched 15 August 1950, and the project officially terminated at Holloman the following month.11 Check date values in: |date= (help) (date identified at http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/169/113.xml])
  5. ^ [1] Detailed account of Kittinger's jump on EXCELSIOR III balloon mission
  6. ^ a b "366th Fighter Wing Fact Sheet". Air Force Historical Research Agency. USAF. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Air Armament Center Fact Sheet". Air Force Historical Research Agency. USAF. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Joe Baugher's 1972 Aircraft Serial Number Webpage
  9. ^ Pierre Tran, "UK, France Discuss Reaper Pilot Training", DefenseNews, 3 June 2015. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/2015/06/03/uk-dicusses-joint-reaper-pilot-training-with-france/28408303/
  10. ^ 846 TS HYPERSONIC UPGRADE PROGRAM (contains World Speed Record video) Archived 2 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ a b Robertson, Patsy (21 April 2014). "Factsheet 54 Fighter Group (AETC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  13. ^ "German Air Force plans to leave Fort Bliss". Army Times. Associated Press. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  14. ^ "German air force maintains presence at Bliss; air defense school to stay open to 2020" El Paso Times (1/15/2015)
  15. ^ "Units". Holloman Air Force Base. US Air Force. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Base Directory". Holloman Air Force Base. US Air Force. 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  17. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  18. ^ [2] Official website of Holloman AFB
  19. ^ [3] Alamogordo Public School
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Official Website for Holloman Middle School
  21. ^ Laura Paskus "2018 report shows off-the-charts contamination in Holloman AFB water" NM Political Report, 2 February 2019

This article includes content from Holloman Air Force Base Website, which as a work of the U.S. Government is presumed to be a public domain resource. That information was supplemented by:

  • Donald, David (2004) Century Jets: USAF Frontline Fighters of the Cold War Publisher: AIRtime, ISBN 1-880588-68-4
  • Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Martin, Patrick (1994). Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History. ISBN 0-88740-513-4.
  • Mueller, Robert (1989). Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers—1908 to present
  • Joe Baugher's Encyclopedia Of Military Aircraft

Further reading

External links

417th Weapons Squadron

The 417th Weapons Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the USAF Weapons School at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, where it was inactivated on 14 September 2006.

The squadron was originally activated as the 417th Night Fighter Squadron in 1943. During World War II, the squadron saw action in the European theater, flying both the British Bristol Beaufighter and Northrop P-61 Black Widow night fighters.

In 1966 the unit transitioned to the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II as the 417th Tactical Fighter Squadron and was engaged in combat during the Vietnam War, being part of two combat deployments. In 1989 as the 417th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, it was responsible for the replacement training of new Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter pilots.

4th Space Control Squadron

The United States Air Force's 4th Space Control Squadron is an offensive space control unit formerly located at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., stood up operations July 1, 2014 at Peterson AFB, Colorado.

4th Space Warning Squadron

The 4th Space Warning Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit, formerly located at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The unit was activated in May 1992 as the 4th Space Communications Squadron, when it took over the mission and personnel of the 4th Satellite Communications Squadron. The squadron's primary mission was to provide mobile Defense Support Program support in case of hostilities.

54th Fighter Group

The 54th Fighter Group is an active United States Air Force unit, stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico and assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing of Air Education and Training Command. The group was reactivated in March 2014.

The group was first activated as the 54th Pursuit Group during the buildup of the Air Corps just prior to World War II. It served in Alaska during the Aleutian Islands Campaign, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation. It then returned to the United States and served as a training unit.

The group was again activated in 1955 as part of Air Defense Command's Project Arrow, replacing the 500th Air Defense Group. It served in the air defense role until 1958 when it was inactivated.

The group was activated once again as a training unit for the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon in 2014.

586th Flight Test Squadron

The 586th Flight Test Squadron is part of the 96th Test Wing based at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

832nd Air Division

The 832nd Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Tactical Air Command, (TAC) assigned to Twelfth Air Force at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where it was inactivated on 1 October 1991.The division was first activated at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico in October 1957 to command the two North American F-100 Super Sabre wings stationed there and to provide support for them through its 832nd Air Base Group. It deployed all its operational squadrons to Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis, along with the headquarters of one of its subordinate wings.

In 1964, the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico and assigned to the division. Although initially equipped with Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks reclaimed from the Air National Guard, the 366th re-equipped with the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II, with which it moved to Vietnam in 1966. During the Pueblo Crisis, the division was assigned a wing of the Colorado Air National Guard, whose squadrons also served in Vietnam. Between 1968 and 1970, the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing was assigned to the 832nd. The 49th Wing moved to the United States from Germany, but was "dual based", committed to deploy to Germany to support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as needed.

The 832nd once again deployed forces to Southeast Asia in 1972, when the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvarks of its 474th Tactical Fighter Wing deployed to Thailand. The division was inactivated in 1975 and its subordinate units assigned directly to Twelfth Air Force.

In 1980, the division was again activated to replace Tactical Training, Luke, whose mission and personnel it absorbed. It continued to train fighter crews from the United States Air Force and allied countries until it was inactivated in 1991 when TAC implemented the Objective Wing organization, which called for all organizations on an installation to be assigned to a single wing. Although the division did not directly participate in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, it deployed support forces and combat elements to the combat theater.

833d Air Division

The 833d Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force (USAF) organization. Its last assignment was with Tactical Air Command (TAC), assigned to Twelfth Air Force at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. It was inactivated on 15 November 1991.

The division was first activated in late 1964 at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina and assumed command of tactical fighter wings and a tactical reconnaissance wing located in the Carolinas. Its subordinate units participated in the response to the Dominican Republic crisis of 1965–1966.

During the Vietnam War, its subordinate wings trained aircrews in fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. Its 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing maintained detachments in Southeast Asia and trained squadrons that transferred to fly combat operations, while its 354th Fighter Wing transferred its last combat squadron to the Pacific in 1968 and became non-operational.

During the Pueblo crisis in 1968, its 4th Tactical Fighter Wing deployed to the Pacific, while three Air National Guard groups were mobilized and assigned to the 833d. The division was inactivated in 1969 and its wings transferred to Ninth Air Force.

The 833d was activated again in 1981, when it replaced Tactical Training, Holloman as the headquarters for TAC units stationed at Holloman. It trained pilots in the McDonnell F-15 Eagle and conducted fighter lead in training in the Northrop T-38 Talon. During Operation Desert Storm, most of its strength deployed to the Middle East, while activated reservists took their places at Holloman. In 1991 the division was inactivated when the USAF conducted the Objective Wing reorganization, which placed all units on a single base into a single wing.

96th Test Group

The 96th Test Group is a United States Air Force unit, based at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. It is a Geographically Separated Unit (GSU), assigned to the 96th Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Air Force Missile Development Center

The Air Force Missile Development Center and its predecessors were Cold War units that conducted and supported numerous missile tests using facilities at Holloman Air Force Base, where the center was the host unit ("Holloman" and "Development Center" were sometimes colloquially used to identify military installations in the Tularosa Basin.)

Alamogordo, New Mexico

Alamogordo is the seat of Otero County, New Mexico, United States. A city in the Tularosa Basin of the Chihuahuan Desert, it is bordered on the east by the Sacramento Mountains and to the west by Holloman Air Force Base. The population was 30,403 as of the 2010 census. Alamogordo is known for its connection with the Trinity test, the first explosion of an atomic bomb. Its also known as the famous Atari video game burial site that happened in 1982.

Humans have lived in the Alamogordo area for at least 11,000 years. The present settlement, established in 1898 to support the construction of the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad, is an early example of a planned community. The city was incorporated in 1912. Tourism became an important economic factor with the creation of White Sands National Monument in 1934. During the 1950-60s, Alamogordo was an unofficial center for research on pilot safety and the developing United States' space program.

Alamogordo is a charter city with a council-manager form of government. City government provides a large number of recreational and leisure facilities for its citizens, including a large park in the center of the city, many smaller parks scattered through the city, a golf course, Alameda Park Zoo, a network of walking paths, Alamogordo Public Library, and a senior citizens' center. Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center is a nonprofit shared military/civilian facility that is also the hospital for Holloman.

Alamogordo Public Schools

Alamogordo Public School District is a school district that serves the communities of Alamogordo, High Rolls, Holloman Air Force Base, Mountain Park, and La Luz and portions of unincorporated Otero County in the state of New Mexico.

Cherokee (rocket)

The Cherokee was an experimental rocket built by the Cook Electric Co. for use by the United States Air Force during the 1950s for the testing of ejection seats.

George V. Holloman

George Vernon Holloman (1902–1946) with Carl J. Crane developed and demonstrated an automatic landing system for airplanes. For their invention they were awarded the Mackay Trophy in 1938. He died in a crash in Formosa in 1946. Holloman Air Force Base was named after him.

Ham (chimpanzee)

Ham (1957 – January 19, 1983), also known as Ham the Chimp and Ham the Astrochimp, was a chimpanzee and the first hominid launched into space, on January 31, 1961, as part of the U.S. space program's Project Mercury. Ham's name is an acronym for the laboratory that prepared him for his historic mission—the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, located at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, southwest of Alamogordo. His name was also in honor of the commander of Holloman Aeromedical Laboratory, Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton "Ham" Blackshear.

Holloman High Speed Test Track

The Holloman High Speed Test Track (HHSTT) is a United States Department of Defense/Air Force aerospace ground test facility located at Holloman Air Force Base in south-central New Mexico. It is adjacent to the White Sands Missile Range and is operated by the 846th Test Squadron of the 96th Test Group of the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base.

The Test Track provides its services to a wide variety of American defense and governmental agencies such as the Air Force, Army, Navy, and the Missile Defense Agency, as well as America's allies.

New Mexico State University Alamogordo

New Mexico State University Alamogordo (NMSU-A) is a public community college in Alamogordo, New Mexico. It is a branch campus of New Mexico State University at Las Cruces and is accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools..

NMSU-A was established in 1958 and classes were held at night on the Alamogordo High School campus. The main purpose of the post-secondary educational venture was to serve the military and civilian personnel from Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB), as well as students from the local nonmilitary population. The service area of the school includes HAFB, White Sands Missile Range, the Mescalero Apache Reservation, and approximately twenty villages and towns.

The community college offers certificate and associate degrees. The college has a transfer articulation agreement with New Mexico State University in Las Cruces for NMSU-A students who plan to pursue bachelor's degrees.

Operation Have Horn

Operation Have Horn was a project in 1969 by the United States Air Force that involved the launching of Nike Hydac sounding rockets. It occurred at North Truro Air Force Station, located in North Truro, Massachusetts. Upon completion of the operation in 1970, the used devices were returned to the White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico. Have Horn was support and carried out by the Missile and Drone Division of the Air Force Missile Development Center, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.Due to the involvement of the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories in the operation, it was deemed easier to launch the rockets in North Truro under the code name Have Horn. Thus, a sounding rocket launcher and support equipment were installed at the station, and a series of Nike-Hydac rockets were fired from December 1969 to early 1970. The goal of the operation was to test sensors for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following the end of the operation, the equipment was airlifted back to Holloman.

Project Blue Fly

Project Blue Fly is a former covert project by the United States Air Force during the Cold War that existed at the Air Force Missile Development Center at Holloman Air Force Base. The aim of the project was to exploit the discovery of Soviet hardware when it landed in American or allied hands permanently.

Rocket sled

A rocket sled is a test platform that slides along a set of rails, propelled by rockets.

As its name implies, a rocket sled does not use wheels. Instead, it has sliding pads, called "slippers", which are curved around the head of the rails to prevent the sled from flying off the track. The rail cross-section profile is that of a Vignoles rail, commonly used for railroads.

A rocket sled holds the land-based speed record for a vehicle, at Mach 8.5.

Personnel and
Uniforms and
History and
Air Forces
Air Forces
Air Divisions
Named units
Air Force
Municipalities and communities of Otero County, New Mexico, United States
Indian reservation
Military installations
See also


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