The Beale Air Force Base was built in 1942.
The remnants of a Prisoner of War (POW) camp in Beale Air Force Base, where German prisoners were remanded. Image courtesy of Isaac Crumm.
U-2 Dragon Lady parked at the Beale Air Force Base. Image courtesy of US Air Force.
A Global Hawk being prepared for runway taxi test at the Beale Air Force Base.
Inauguration ceremony of the newly installed solar panel array at the Beale base. Image courtesy of John Schwab, US Air Force.
An MC-12 Liberty taxiing out towards the runway at the Beale Air Force Base. Image courtesy of Senior Airman Krista Rose, US Air Force.

Beale Air Force Base (IATA code: BAB) is situated 13km east of Marysville in California, US. Spread over 23,000 acres, the base is owned by the United States Air Force (USAF) and operated by the Air Combat Command (ACC).

Approximately 4,000 military personnel reside at the base. Balfour Beatty Construction was contracted by the US Army Corps of Engineers in November 2011 to build 331 new housing units at the base.

History of Beale Air Force Base

"Spread over 23,000 acres, the base is owned by the United States Air Force (USAF) and operated by the Air Combat Command (ACC)."

The US Army started the construction of the Beale base in July 1942. The base was built in October 1942 under the designation Camp Beale, in the honour of an American Navy Lieutenant, Edward Fitzgerald Beale. The base operations were shifted to the USAF in November 1948.

Camp Beale was renamed as Beale Bombing and Gunnery Range (BBGR) in October 1949. The BBGR was ready for occupation in April 1951. It was finally renamed as Beale Air Force Base in December 1951.

The base was initially operated by the Air Training Command (February 1948), Continental Air Command (April 1951) and Strategic Air Command (July 1956). Its operations were shifted to the ACC in June 1992.

BAB was inactivated between July 1956 and March 1964 to allow construction of new facilities. New runways and warehouses were built during this period. New hangars and maintenance shops were also built for servicing of aircraft.

The base was used to remand German prisoners during World War II. It served as support base for three HGM-25A Titan I Inter Continental Ballistic Missile sites (A, B and C), organised by the 851st Strategic Missile Squadron between February 1961 and March 1965.

The 350th Air Refuelling Squadron (350 ARS) was activated at the base in January 1982. It was transferred to the McConnell Air Force Base, in Kansas, shifting the final KC-135 tanker to Kansas in July 1994.

Design and construction of the Californian air force base

The base contains three sites, named A, B and C. Site A is infringed by newly-constructed single-family housing units. It is currently being used to store road maintenance equipment.

"Balfour Beatty Construction was contracted by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 2011 to build 331 new housing units at the base."

Site B contains three missile launch silos and is currently not operational. Site C is encroached with a retention pond, tress and single-storey buildings.

Construction of 637 housing units and dormitories were completed between 1965 and 1967. The medical unit was renovated in 1968. The nose deck maintenance facility was built in 1972.

The US Army Corps of Engineers was contracted in December 2009 to modernise 17,725 square feet of the existing 61,344 square foot medical facility. Work on the renovation includes construction of new interior walls and flooring, electrical wiring, fire-alarm systems and high-speed telecommunication wiring.

The renovation forms second phase of a $17.7m project. First phase of the project included construction of a 22,172 square feet facility beside the medical unit. The facility was inaugurated in June 2009.

Garrison facilities at the Air Combat Command operated BAB

The BAB serves as headquarters for 9th Reconnaissance Wing (9 RW). Activated in 1949, the 9 RW carries out warrior airmen deployment, persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, contingency, war fighting and emergency war order endorse missions.

The 9RW is organised into four groups, which include the 9th Operations Group, 9th Maintenance Group, 9th Mission Support Group and 9th Medical Group.

Other tenant units hosted at the base encompass the 69th Reconnaissance Group, 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, 7th Space Warning System, Air Force OSI Detachment 218, Air Force Reserve Unit, California Air National Guard, Nevada Air National Guard, Army & Air Force Exchange Service and Global Operations Center.

Air facilities at Beale base, near Marysville in the US

The base features a single 3,658m long and 91m wide runway, paved with bituminous concrete.

The runway can accommodate U-2 Dragon Lady, SR-71, T-38 Talon, Boeing RC-135, B-52 Stratofortress, KC-135 Stratotanker, RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle and MC-12 Liberty reconnaissance aircraft.

A ten-storey precision acquisition vehicle entry phased array warning system (PAVE PAWS) radar building was built at the base in July 1979 to track and monitor the possible attack by submarine launched ballistic missiles, disintegrating spacecraft and space debris.

Other facilities at the USAF base

The BAB provides education, intelligence gathering, temporary lodging, accommodation, child care and medical care facilities.


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