Harrisburg Air National Guard Base
|Harrisburg Air National Guard Base
Olmsted Air Force Base
|Part of Pennsylvania Air National Guard (PA ANG)|
|Located in: Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania,
near Middletown, Pennsylvania
EC-130E and EC-130J Commando Solo aircraft of the 193d Special Operations Wing
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|In use||1917–1969, Afterwards by Pennsylvania Air National Guard|
193d Special Operations Wing
Harrisburg Air National Guard Base is a United States Air Force base, located at Harrisburg International Airport, (IATA: MDT, ICAO: KMDT, FAA LID: MDT) Pennsylvania. It is located 1.7 miles (2.7 km) west-southwest of Middletown, Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Air National Guard facility is sited on the location of the former Olmsted Air Force Base, which was closed in 1969. The 193d Special Operations Wing operates EC-130J Hercules aircraft, designated as "Commando Solo" for special operations missions. The airfield is shared with MDT, the civilian airport being moved from Capital City Airport, near Harrisburg in 1970 after Olmsted AFB's closure.
The PA ANG 193d Special Operations Wing consists of:
- 193d Special Operations Squadron flies the EC-130J Commando Solo, a specially-modified four-engine Hercules transport, the 193d Special Operations Squadron conducts information operations, psychological operations and civil affairs broadcasts.
Robert Sanford Olmsted
The facility is named in honor of 1st Lieutenant Robert Sanford Olmsted, U.S. Army Air Service, on 11 March 1948. 1st Lieutenant Robert Sanford Olmsted was killed in a ballooning accident over the village Loosbroek, Netherlands on 23 September 1923 while competing in the Gordon Bennett Cup. Olmsted remained in the race despite threatening weather which caused some competitors to drop out. Lightning struck the S-6 over Nistelrode, the Netherlands, killing Olmsted.
Middletown Air Depot
The facility saw its first military use by the United States Army Signal Corps in 1898. The first known use of the field by military aircraft was when Middletown Airfield opened in 1917 as a supply depot and maintenance center for Signal Corps aircraft.
The first airplanes landed in 1918 at Middletown Air Depot, when it was under the administration of the Signal Corps of the United States Army. In 1939, it was still known by this name. Middletown had an abundance of engine and airframe shops and a supply distribution system that made it a significant facility, but a poor runway that, it was felt, would be too expensive to improve. It would involve claiming marsh land and portions of the Susquehanna River (both of which have since been accomplished) and the Air Force leadership at that time determined that more land for supply and maintenance buildings was needed.
After World War I, and the reconstitution of the United States Army Air Service in 1922, the facility became a logistics and maintenance support of Air Service aircraft and equipment through its host unit, the Middletown Air Depot (later Middletown Air Materiel Area). During World War II, numerous transport and reconnaissance units were organized and formed at Olmsted Army Airfield. Once equipped, they were reassigned to training bases.
The Middletown Air Depot was a major support installation to the Air Force for decades. Beginning on 11 August 1948, the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) 147th Flight Service Squadron began operations of the Olmsted Flight Service Center.
Olmsted AFB and the Middletown Air Depot's last assignment was with Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC), and the base and depot were inactivated on 30 June 1969.
Initially turned over to Pennsylvania Air National Guard after active-duty closure, much of the former Olmstead AFB flight line area was redeveloped into the Harrisburg International Airport under the ownership of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In 1998, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania transferred ownership of the airport to the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA). In addition, in 1966, much of the former Air Force property was converted into The Pennsylvania State University—The Capital College, otherwise known as the Harrisburg Campus. This campus was originally chartered as a graduate and upper division school.
Major commands to which assigned
- Army Signal Corps, Aviation Section, 16 June 1917
- Bureau of Aircraft Production, 20 May 1918
- Army Air Service, 4 June 1920
- Air Corps Materiel Division, 15 October 1926
- Air Corps Maintenance Command, 29 April 1941
- Air Service Command, 17 October 1941
- Army Air Forces Materiel and Services on July 14, 1944
- Redesignated: Army Air Forces Technical Service Command on August 31, 1944
- Redesignated: Air Technical Service Command on July 1, 1945
- Redesignated: Air Materiel Command on March 9, 1946
- Redesignated: Air Force Logistics Command on April 1, 1961
- Inactivated on 30 June 1969
Known units assigned
Known base operating units were:
- 4149th Air Base Unit
- 2843d Air Base Wing
- 4112th Air Force Base Unit
Known major service units:
- Middletown Air Service Command, later Middletown Air Materiel Area
Known operational units assigned were:
- Eleventh Air Force (Air Defense Command), 13 June 1946 – 1 July 1948
- 60th Transport Group, 1 December 1940 – 21 May 1941
- 61st Transport Group, 1 December 1940 – 9 July 1941
- 315th Transport Group, 14 February 1942 – 18 June 1942
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