Nowhere is the rich history of the United States Air Force more on display than at Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) in Abilene and Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas. The men and women who are stationed at these two bases represent the best that America has to offer.
A Rich History of Service to the United States
The official date of the founding of the U.S. Air Force is September 18, 1947, but Dyess was founded in 1942 as “Abilene Army Air Base” and named after Texas native and World War II hero and survivor of the Bataan Death March Lieutenant Colonel William Dyess. Sheppard AFB was established in 1941 as a United States Army Air Corps Training Center, and it is named for U.S. Senator John Morris Sheppard (D – Texas) who was the chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee and led the effort for military preparedness after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The host unit at Dyess is the “7th Bomb Wing” assigned to the “Global Strike Command Eighth Air Force.” The 7th Bomb Wing is one of only two B-1B Lancer strategic bomber wings in the United States Air Force, the other being the “28th Bomb Wing” at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. According to its website, Dyess employs more than 5,000 people, making it the single largest employer in the area. The base has a total economic impact of nearly $310 million yearly on the Abilene community.
Sheppard is the largest training base and most diversified in Air Education and Training Command. The host unit at Sheppard is the “82nd Training Wing,” which provides specialized technical training and field training for officers, Airmen and civilians of all branches of the military, other Department of Defense agencies and foreign nationals. The “80th Flying Training Wing,” also at Sheppard, conducts the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) program, a multinationally manned and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for both USAF and NATO.