McClellan Air Force Base

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For the civil use of this facility after 2001, see McClellan Airfield.
McClellan Air Force Base
Air Force Materiel Command.png
Part of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC)
Sacramento County, California
McClellan Air Force Base - CA 9 May 2002.jpg
McClellan AFB, 9 May 2002
McClellan AFB is located in California
McClellan AFB
McClellan AFB
Coordinates 38°40′04″N 121°24′02″W / 38.66778°N 121.40056°W / 38.66778; -121.40056
Type Air Force Base
Site information
Controlled by United States Air Force
Site history
Built 1935-1938
In use Open 1938 - IN USE
1948-IN USE (as McClellan AFB)
Garrison information
Garrison Air Force Materiel Command
Bell P-39 Repair Line.
To step up its delivery of Speedy Bell P-39 "Airacobra" fighter airplanes to American pilots in the South Pacific, the Army Air Forces Air Service Command put American production line methods to work in its repair docks at McClellan Field, California. Two and one-half million dollars worth of airplanes were overhauled by civilian Air Service Command workers at Sacramento, California preparatory to being sent against the enemy.
Memorial Plaque of McClellan AFB

McClellan Air Force Base (1935–2001) is a former United States Air Force base located in the North Highlands area of Sacramento County, 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Sacramento, California. For the vast majority of its operational lifetime, McClellan was a logistics and maintenance facility for a wide variety of military aircraft, equipment and supplies, primarily under the cognizance of the Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) and later the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC). The United States Coast Guard previously operated Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento at McClellan AFB as a tenant activity, operating and maintaining several HC-130 Hercules aircraft. CGAS Sacramento continues to operate at McClellan following its closure as an Air Force Base and is the only remaining military aviation unit and installation on the airfield.

History[edit]

The base was established in 1935. It was named after Major Hezekiah McClellan (1894–1936) on 1 December 1939, a pioneer in arctic aeronautical tests. He died on 25 May 1936 when his Consolidated P-30 which he was flight testing, crashed near Centerville, Ohio.

Construction of the Pacific Air Depot began in 1935, and the main structures, including administrative buildings, barracks, warehouses and a hospital were completed on 18 April 1938. In 1938 the base was renamed Sacramento Air Depot and underwent a major expansion as a repair and overhaul facility for P-38 and P-39 fighter planes. In December 1941, soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, P-40s as well as B-26 and B-17 bombers began arriving at the field to be armed and prepared for immediate shipment overseas. In March 1942 Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle's B-25s arrived at McClellan for arming in preparation for their famous Tokyo raid.

The base was renamed McClellan Air Force Base in 1948 and its repair and overhaul mission continued throughout the Cold War as an installation of the Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) and later the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), with the overhaul facility being known as the Sacramento Air Logistics Center.

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, McClellan functioned as the main depot for overhauling the Air Force's F-111, FB-111 and EF-111 aircraft, as well as the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. A small contingent of F-111D and F-111F aircraft of the 431st Test and Evaluation Squadron, 57th Fighter Weapons Wing, Nellis AFB, Nevada was also detached to McClellan.

Environmental contamination[edit]

McClellan has been designated as a Superfund site, because the Environmental Protection Agency has identified 326 waste areas on the base. Water wells closest to the base in the Rio Linda-Elverta district, have had the highest levels of hexavalent chromium, which is a known carcinogen. Water from six of 11 wells tested above the state’s maximum contaminant levels for chromium-6, which is 10 parts per billion. [1]

Names[edit]

  • Pacific Air Depot, 1935 - 1 February 1937
  • Sacramento Air Depot 1 February 1937 - 1 December 1939
  • McClellan Field, 1 December 1939 - 13 January 1948

Major command assignments[edit]

Aerospace Museum of California[edit]

McClellan Airfield is also the home of the Aerospace Museum of California. The museum itself was originally set up as the McClellan Aviation Museum in 1986 (before the McClellan AFB closed). It was chartered by the National Museum of the United States Air Force and in 2005 it changed its name to the California Aerospace Museum. Various military aircraft sit on display inside one of the hangars, and many more are outside on the tarmac. The museum has displays which highlight the mission of the base when it was active, as well as neighboring bases such as Beale AFB, Travis AFB and the since closed Mather AFB. The museum hosts educational programs to schools in the local area.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ EDWARD ORTIZ (June 21, 2015). "Groundwater search turns up high carcinogen readings near McClellan". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "About the AMC". Aerospace Museum of California. Archived from the original on 2007-10-29. 

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.