Langley Air Force Base

Langley Air Force Base (IATA: LFI, ICAO: KLFI, FAA LID: LFI) is a United States Air Force base located adjacent to Hampton and Newport News, Virginia. It was one of thirty-two Air Service training camps established after the entry of the United States into World War I in April 1917.[3]

On 1 October 2010, Langley Air Force Base was joined with Fort Eustis to become Joint Base Langley–Eustis. The base was established in accordance with congressional legislation implementing the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The legislation ordered the consolidation of the two facilities which were nearby, but separate military installations, into a single joint base, one of 12 formed in the United States as a result of the law.

Langley Air Force Base
Part of Air Combat Command (ACC)
Hampton, Virginia
Langley AFB
Site information
Controlled by United States Air Force
Site history
In use1916–present
Garrison information
Garrison633d Air Base Wing.PNG 633d Air Base Wing
Airfield information
Elevation AMSL11 ft / 3 m
Coordinates37°04′58″N 076°21′38″W / 37.08278°N 76.36056°WCoordinates: 37°04′58″N 076°21′38″W / 37.08278°N 76.36056°W
KLFI is located in Virginia
Location of Langley Air Force Base
Direction Length Surface
ft m
8/26 10,002 3,049 Concrete
Sources: official website[1] and FAA[2]


The Air Force mission at Langley is to sustain the ability for fast global deployment and air superiority for the United States or allied armed forces. The base is one of the oldest facilities of the Air Force, having been established on 30 December 1916, prior to America's entry to World War I by the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, named for aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley. It was used during World War I as a flying field, balloon station, observers’ school, photography school, experimental engineering department, and for aerial coast defense. It is situated on 3,152 acres of land between the cities of Hampton (south), NASA LaRC (west), and the northwest and southwest branches of the Back River.[4]

"AirPower over Hampton Roads" is a recurring airshow held at Langley in the spring. Many demonstrations take place, including the F-22 Raptor Demonstration, Aerobatics, and parachute demos.

Because of the possibility of crashes of the F-22s and other aircraft stationed at the base, the City of Hampton has partnered with the Commonwealth of Virginia and United States Air Force to purchase privately owned property within the Clear Zone and Accident Potential Zones, without using eminent domain, to create a safety buffer zone around the base.[5]


Langley Field was named after Samuel Pierpont Langley, an aerodynamic pioneer and a former Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Langley began aerodynamic experiments in 1887 and formed a basis for practical pioneer aviation. He built and saw the first steam model airplane in 1896 and the first gasoline model in 1903. Both planes were believed to be capable of flight. He also built the first man-carrying gasoline airplane in 1903, which failed to fly on its first attempt and broke apart and crashed on its second. It was, after major modification eleven years later, flown "successfully" by Glenn Curtiss for a little over 3 seconds, traveling 150 feet through the air in 1914.[6] Langley Field was the first Air Service base built especially for air power, is the oldest continually active air force base in the world, and is the oldest airfield in Virginia.


In 1916, the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics (NACA), predecessor to NASA, established the need for a joint airfield and proving ground for Army, Navy and NACA aircraft. NACA determined that the site must be near water for over-water flying, be flat and relatively clear for expansion and the landing and take-off of aircraft, and near an Army post. The Army appointed a board of officers who searched for a location. The officers sometimes posed as hunters and fishermen to avoid potential land speculation which would arise if the government's interest in purchasing land was revealed. Fifteen locations were scouted before a site near Hampton in Elizabeth City County was selected.[7]

Langley Field Virginia 1920
Langley Field in 1920

In 1917, the new proving ground was designated Langley Field for one of America's early air pioneers, Samuel Pierpont Langley. Langley had first made tests with his manned heavier-than-air craft, launched from a houseboat catapult, in 1903. His first attempts failed and he died in 1906, shortly before a rebuilt version of his craft soared into the sky.[7]

Training units assigned to Langley Field:[8]

  • 5th Aviation School Squadron, June 1917
Re-designated as 119th Aero Squadron, September 1917; Detachment No. 11, Air Service, Aircraft Production, July 1918-May 1919
  • 83d Aero Squadron (II), March 1918
Re-designated as Squadron "A", July–November 1918
  • 126th Aero Squadron (II) (Service), April 1918
Re-designated as Squadron "B", July–November 1918
  • 127th Aero Squadron (II) (Service), April 1918
Re-designated as Squadron "C", July–November 1918
  • Flying School Detachment (Consolidation of Squadrons A-C), November 1918-November 1919

Several buildings had been constructed on the field by late 1918. Aircraft on the ramp at that time included the Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny", used by Langley's School of Aerial Photography, and the de Havilland DH.4 bomber, both used during World War I. Although short-lived, hydrogen-filled dirigibles played an important role in Langley's early history and a portion of the base is still referred to as the LTA (lighter-than-air) area.[7]

Inter-war years

In the early 1920s, Langley became the site where a new air power concept was tried and proven. Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell led bombing runs from Langley by the 1st Provisional Air Brigade over captured German warships anchored off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina. These first successful tests set the precedent for the airplane's new role of strategic bombardment.[7]

A combat crew receives final instructions just before taking off in a YB-17 bomber from a bombardment squadron base at the field, Langley Field, Va.
YB-17 Flying Fortress bomber crew receiving instructions at Langley, May 1942

Throughout the 1930s Langley Field occupied a principal position in the Army's efforts to strengthen the offensive and defensive posture of its air arm. The small grassy field became a major airfield of the United States Army Air Corps, and many of the brick buildings of today were constructed at that time.[7]

World War II

At the outbreak of World War II Langley took on a new mission, to develop special detector equipment used in antisubmarine warfare. Langley units played a vital role in the sinking of enemy submarines off the United States coast during the war.[7] The field was also used for training purposes.

Cold War

On 25 May 1946 the headquarters of the newly formed Tactical Air Command were established at Langley. The command's mission was to organize, train, equip and maintain combat-ready forces capable of rapid deployment to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime air defense. The arrival of Tactical Air Command and jet aircraft marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the field, and in January 1948 Langley Field officially became Langley Air Force Base.[7]

In January 1976 the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing was transferred to Langley from MacDill Air Force Base, Florida with the mission of maintaining combat capability for rapid global deployment to conduct air superiority operations. To accomplish this mission, the 1st TFW was the first USAF operational wing to be equipped with the F-15 Eagle.[7]

Post Cold War

On 1 June 1992, Langley became the headquarters of the newly formed Air Combat Command, as Tactical Air Command was inactivated as part of the Air Force's restructuring.[7]

On 15 December 2005, the 1st Fighter Wing's 27th Fighter Squadron became the Air Force's first operational F-22 fighter squadron. The wing's complement of 40 F-22s, in the 27th and 94th FS reached Full Operational Capability on 12 December 2007.

Langley Air Force Base was severely damaged by flooding due to the storm surge from Hurricane Isabel in September 2003 and again during the November 2009 Mid-Atlantic nor'easter. Hurricane Isabel damages to Langley Air Force Base were approximately $147 million. The damages associated with the 2009 nor'easter were approximately $43 million.[7] Resilience measures taken since 2003 include raising low-lying critical infrastructure, mandating a minimum elevation for new construction, construction of a 6 mile long sea wall and a groundwater pumping station.[9] The site of Langley Air Force base, with an average elevation of 3 feet, has seen 14 inches of sea level rise since 1930.[10]

Major units

F-22A 94th FS Langley approach
94th Fighter Squadron F-22As approaching Langley Air Force Base

To accomplish their mission, the support unit men and women of the 633d Air Base Wing at Langley are housed in the Mission Support Groups and Medical Group and support several tenant units:[11]

Operational squadrons of the 1st Operations Group are: (Tail Code: FF)

27th Fighter Squadron (F-22 Raptor)
94th Fighter Squadron (F-22 Raptor)
71st Fighter Training Squadron (T-38A Talon)
The 480th ISR Wing operates and maintains the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System, or DCGS, also known as the "Sentinel" weapon system, conducting imagery, cryptologic, and measurement and signatures intelligence activities.

The Wing is composed of the following units worldwide:

480th ISR Group, Fort Gordon, Ga.
497th ISR Group, Joint Base Langley–Eustis, Va.
548th ISR Group, Beale Air Force Base, Calif.
692d ISR Group, Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam, Hawaii
693d ISR Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
694th ISR Group, Osan Air Base, South Korea
The 192d Fighter Wing mission is to fly and maintain the F-22 Raptor at Joint Base Langley–Eustis through the 149th Fighter Squadron, and support the ongoing intelligence mission through the 192d Intelligence Squadron.
The 633rd ABW is an Air Force-led mission support wing, serving both Air Force and Army units, as a result of a congressionally mandated joint-basing initiative between Langley and Eustis.

Langley also hosts the Air Force Command and Control Integration Center field operating agency and Headquarters Air Combat Command (ACC).

Langley is also home to the F-22 Raptor Demo Team. This team, who travel all over the world performing different maneuvers used in air combat, is used to help recruit for the United States Air Force. Performing at airshows and other special events, the squadron is the only demonstration team to use the F-22 Raptor.

Major Commands to which assigned

Re-designated: Army Air Corps, 2 Jul 1926
Re-designated 1st Air Force, 9 Apr 1941; First Air Force, 18 Sep 1942

Major historical units

Pre World War II

Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps

  • HQ Langley Fld, inception - June 1917
  • 119th Aero Squadron, 2 July 1917

Air Service (1920–1926); United States Army Air Corps (1926–1941)

  • 2nd Bombardment Group, 1 July 1922 - 29 October 1942
  • Air Corps Technical School (Unknown Element) 26 May 1919 - 30 September 1921
  • Air Corps Tactical School - 1 November 1920 - 15 July 1931
  • Air Park Company #3, 1 October 1921
  • 58th Service Squadron, January 1923

General Headquarters (GHQ), Air Force

  • Station Complement Langley Fld, 1 March 1935
  • Base HQ and 1st Air Base Squadron, 1 September 1936
  • First Air Base Gp (Reinf) 1 September 1940

World War II

First Air Force

  • First Air Base Gp, 25 November 1941
  • First Service Gp, 13 June 1942
  • 111th AAF Base Unit, 10 April 1944

Army Air Forces Training Command

  • 3539th AAF Base Unit, 10 September 1944
  • 76th AAF Base Unit, 1 December 1945

Air Transport Command

  • 304th AAF Base Unit, 30 April 1946

AAF Antisubmarine Command

United States Air Force

Tactical Air Command

160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (RF-80)
161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (RF-80)
12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (RB-26)

Continental Air Command

Tactical Air Command

12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (RB-26)

Military Airlift Command

Tactical Air Command, and later Air Combat Command

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^ Langley Air Force Base Archived 2007-01-24 at the Wayback Machine, official site
  2. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for LFI (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2008-06-05
  3. ^ William R. Evinger: Directory of Military Bases in the U.S., Oryx Press, Phoenix, Ariz., 1991, p. 147.
  4. ^ World War I Group, Historical Division, Special Staff, United States Army, Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War (1917–1919)
  5. ^ "Hampton continues request for Langley buffer zone funding". tribunedigital-dailypress.
  6. ^ Location of U.S. Aviation Fields, The New York Times, 21 July 1918
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Langley AFB History Office
  8. ^ Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the First World War, Volume 3, Part 3, Center of Military History, United States Army, 1949 (1988 Reprint)
  9. ^ "JBLE plan preapares Langley AFB for sea level rise". 9th air force news. November 16, 2016.
  10. ^ "Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense" (PDF). January 2019.
  11. ^ "Joint Base Langley-Eustis - Units". Archived from the original on 2011-07-12.
  12. ^ a b Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982 USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C., 1989
  13. ^ Maurer Maurer, Air Force Combat Units Of World War II, Office of Air Force History, 1983
  14. ^ Endicott, Judy G., USAF Active Flying, Space, and Missile Squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Office of Air Force History

External links

10th Intelligence Squadron

The United States Air Force's 10th Intelligence Squadron is an intelligence unit located at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

The squadron was first activated during World War II as the 678th Bombardment Squadron, a United States Army Air Forces combat organization. It was part of the first Boeing B-29 Superfortress group formed for the 58th Bombardment Wing, and served in the China Burma India Theater and Pacific Ocean Theater as part of Twentieth Air Force. The squadron's aircraft engaged in very heavy bombardment operations against Japan. The squadron received the Distinguished Unit Citation for its combat operations on three occasions. When the unit was returned to the United States in 1945 it was redesignated as the 10th Reconnaissance Squadron, but it was inactivated in March 1946.

27th Intelligence Squadron

The 27th Intelligence Squadron is an active squadron of the United States Air Force, stationed at Langley Air Force Base, part of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, near Hampton, Virginia. It is assigned to the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing.

The squadron was first organized in February 1943 as the 27th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. After training in the United States, the squadron moved to the European Theater of Operations, where it engaged in combat until V-E Day. It earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its work during Operation Overlord, the invasion of France, in the spring of 1944. It remained in Europe until late fall of 1945, when it returned to the United States and was inactivated.

30th Intelligence Squadron

The 30th Intelligence Squadron is an active United States Air Force unit, stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia and operating Distributed Ground Station-1 in association with reserve and Virginia Air National Guard squadrons.

The squadron was first activated as the 460th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron in Vietnam, where it earned two Presidential Unit Citations and two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" Device for its support of combat reconnaissance operations in Southeast Asia. It performed a similar mission for Tactical Air Command from 1977 to 1982.

345th Bombardment Wing

The 345th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where it was inactivated on 25 June 1959.

During World War II the 345th Bombardment Group operated in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. It was awarded both the Distinguished Unit Citation and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its combat service in New Guinea; the Bismarck Archipelago, Leyte; Luzon; the Southern Philippines and China.

36th Intelligence Squadron

The 36th Intelligence Squadron is an active non-flying squadron, of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the Air Force Targeting Center at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where it has been stationed since 1990. The squadron has earned the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award while stationed at Langley.

During World War II the squadron served in the Pacific as the 36th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron The squadron earned the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its combat operations during the Liberation of the Philippines in 1944–1945.

47th Liaison Squadron

The 47th Liaison Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Tactical Air Command, stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. It was inactivated on August 25, 1948.


480th may refer to:

480th Fighter Squadron, active United States Air Force unit

480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing (480th ISR Wing) is headquartered at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing

The 480th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing (480th ISR Wing) is headquartered at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

633d Air Base Wing

The United States Air Force's 633rd Air Base Wing is the host organization for Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Its headquarters are at Langley Air Force Base. The unification of support for Langley and Fort Eustis was directed by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

The wing was first activated at Pleiku Air Base, where it supported special operations and forward air control units in the Central Highlands of South Viet Nam. It served as the host organization for Andersen Air Force Base on Guam when that base was transferred from Strategic Air Command to Pacific Air Forces in 1989 until it was replaced by the 36th Air Base Wing in 1994.

836th Air Division

The 836th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Tactical Air Command (TAC) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, where it was inactivated on 1 May 1992. The division had been activated at Davis-Monthan in January 1981 to replace Tactical Training, Davis-Monthan. Its primary mission was training for Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II and BGM-109G Gryphon crews. The 602d Tactical Control Wing moved to Davis-Monthan, and the division's training mission expanded to include Forward Air Controllers flying several aircraft. The BGM-109 mission ended with the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In 1989, division elements participated in Operation Just Cause. The division was inactivated with the implementation of the Objective Wing reorganization, which established a single wing on each Air Force Base.

The division was first activated in 1957 at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia as the command headquarters for the 405th Fighter-Bomber Wing and the 345th Bombardment Wing, along with base support organizations assigned to its 836th Air Base Group. Division bombers deployed overseas in response to the Lebanon Crisis of 1958 and the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis. By 1961, the division's responsibilities had shifted with the inactivation of the 345th and 405th Wings, and it commanded the 4505th Air Refueling Wing and 4440th Aircraft Delivery Group, which had replaced them at Langley. With only a single wing remaining at Langley, the division was inactivated on 1 July 1961.

The division was again activated in 1962 at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida when TAC took over that base from Strategic Air Command. The two tactical fighter wings at MacDill were initially equipped with obsolescent Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks, but soon became the first McDonnell F-4 Phantom II wings in the Air Force. Beginning in 1964, division units began deploying for combat in Southeast Asia, and eventually two entire wings moved to South Vietnam. Until the 836th inactivated in 1971, its remaining components acted primarily as training units for the Phantom II and, after 1968, for the Tropic Moon B-57G. During the Pueblo Crisis, the division deployed elements to reinforce Pacific Air Forces units in Korea.

Air Force Command and Control Integration Center

The Air Force Command and Control Integration Center (AFC2IC) was an Air Combat Command (ACC) Field Operating Agency (FOA) responsible for innovating, designing, developing, integrating, and sustaining command and control (C2) capabilities. The headquarters was a tenant unit of Langley Air Force Base, with several outlying support locations.

The AFC2IC deactivated in 2013. It had gone through numerous name and organizational changes - aligned at one time under the Air Staff - since 1997 including Aerospace Command and Control Agency (ASC2A), Air Force Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Center (AFC2ISRC), and Global Cyberspace Integration Center (GCIC) but maintained essentially the same mission throughout.

Fort Eustis

Fort Eustis is a United States Army installation in Newport News, Virginia. In 2010, it was combined with nearby Langley Air Force Base to form Joint Base Langley–Eustis.

The post is the home to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, and also home to the U.S. Army Aviation Logistics School.

Fort Eustis is the home of the Army Aviation Logistics School and 7th Transportation Brigade. Other significant tenants include the Army Training Support Center (ATSC) and the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD). At Fort Eustis and Fort Story, officers and enlisted soldiers receive education and on-the-job training in all modes of transportation, aviation maintenance, logistics and deployment doctrine and research.

The headquarters of the Army Transportation Corps was at Fort Eustis until 2010 when it moved to Fort Lee.

In accordance with the 2005 BRAC legislation, The administration of Fort Eustis was passed to the 633d Air Base Wing (USAF.) The 733d Mission Support Group manages the installation's garrison operations.

Janet S. Fender

Janet Sue Fender is an American physicist. She is the Scientific Adviser to the Commander, Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, USA. She was president of the Optical Society of America in 1997.

Joint Base Langley–Eustis

Joint Base Langley–Eustis (IATA: LFI, ICAO: KLFI, FAA LID: LFI) is a United States military facility located adjacent to Hampton and Newport News, Virginia. The base is an amalgamation of the United States Air Force's Langley Air Force Base and the United States Army's Fort Eustis which were merged on 1 October 2010. The base was established in accordance with congressional legislation implementing the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The legislation ordered the consolidation of the two facilities which were nearby, but separate military installations, into a single Joint Base, one of 12 formed in the United States as a result of the law.

Unlike other joint bases that share common perimeters, the two components are geographically separated by 17 miles. In January 2010, the Air Force reactivated the 633d Air Base Wing to assume host unit and installation support functions at each location. The installation assumed its full operational capability (FOC) in October 2010. The 633rd ABW commander is Col. Sean K. Tyler, with Chief Master Sgt. Kennon D. Arnold as its command chief master sergeant. The 633rd ABW is responsible to Air Combat Command.

Joseph C. Hafele

Joseph Carl Hafele (25 July 1933 – 15 November 2014) was an American physicist best known for the Hafele–Keating experiment, a test of Einstein's theory of general relativity.Hafele was an apprentice welder when he was drafted to serve in the army during the Korean War. After the war, he obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earning his PhD in 1962 with a thesis on a topic in nuclear physics. He married Carol Hessling in 1958, and they had four daughters. He worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and then Washington University (1966-1972) in the period during which the Hafele-Keating experiment was performed. He later worked at Caterpillar, Eureka College, NASA (Langley Air Force Base), and Christopher Newport University. After his retirement in 1996 he and his wife lived in Laramie, Wyoming, where he continued theoretical work on the interpretation of experiments that might indicate anomalies in relativity.

Richard E. Hawley

General Richard Earl Hawley (born January 2, 1942) served as commander of Air Combat Command, headquartered at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. As commander, Hawley was responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready air forces for rapid deployment and employment in the United States and worldwide. Hawley maintained command of 1,050 aircraft and approximately 103,400 active-duty military members and civilian personnel at 27 major installations in the United States, Panama, Iceland and the Azores, and, when mobilized, more than 64,400 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members

Virginia State Route 172

State Route 172 (SR 172) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. The state highway runs 4.85 miles (7.81 km) from SR 134 in Hampton north to Poquoson Avenue in Poquoson. SR 172 is the main north–south highway through Poquoson and the primary access road to Langley Air Force Base and NASA's Langley Research Center.

Virginia State Route 278

State Route 278 (SR 278) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. Known as King Street, the state highway runs 1.64 miles (2.64 km) from U.S. Route 258 (US 258) north to an entrance to Langley Air Force Base within the independent city of Hampton.

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