Echoes of a Forgotten Era: Amarillo’s Air Force Base
Looking back at the timeline of Amarillo is fascinating, from its beginnings in the cattle business and agriculture to the railroad moving in, to an Air Force base, to the Yellow City today.
The Amarillo Air Force Base was one of the big points in Amarillo's timeline. It was established and built in 1942 during World War II. The base was built next to the English Field Airfield.
The Amarillo Air Force base was created to train the crew and mechanics on the B-17 Flying Fortress plane. Later on, training on the B-29. After the war, Amarillo's base was turned into a permanent base mainly for mechanic training, but also basic training. However, due to a lack of funding, the base was closed on September 15, 1946. Then during the Korean War, the base was reactivated in 1951.
During that time the Amarillo Air Force Base was the very first Air Force Base to feature all-jet mechanic training. It was again named a permanent base in 1954. The base was the spot for many training units, but unfortunately, the base permanently closed on December 11, 1968.
Remnants of the Amarillo Air Force Base are still in existence today. Rick Husband International Airport still uses parts of the old base. The Air Force Base runway is still in use and is the longest in the country for commercial use. It is also a secondary landing facility for NASA's space shuttle. Plus the old towers still stand. Not to mention Amarillo College also has its east campus on the former base property.
The base housing is still around and has been turned into homes. In fact, it is a part of the Amarillo College housing. Anyone is able to lease these homes, however, some restrictions do apply.
As the years go by, things change. What was once a very busy Air Force base is now just a distant memory. However, Amarillo is what it is today because of this facility.