Grissom Air Force Base (GAFB)

12 May 1968 – 30 September 1994



A U.S. Air Force Cessna A-37B Dragonfly of the 71st Special Operations Squadron at Grissom Air Force Base



The base was renamed on May 12, 1968 after Lieutenant Colonel Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, a native of Mitchell, Ind., who was one of the original seven astronauts. Colonel Grissom was killed during a fire in his Apollo capsule while still on the launching pad at Cape Kennedy, Fla.

On Jan. 1, 1970, the 305th Bomb Group was replaced by the 305th Air Refueling Wing and Grissom became one of the largest tanker bases in the country. The Air Force Reserve became part of the Grissom community in 1971 when the 434th Special Operations Wing and its A-37 aircraft moved to the base. For the next 23 years Grissom was home to both active duty and reserve personnel.

In 1978, a second Air Force Reserve unit joined the scene. At the height of its operations, the base was home to one active duty wing and two Air Force Reserve units. Due to changes in the Air Force mission, two units (one reserve, one active duty) were deactivated in 1994