By Senior Airman Anne Gathua, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 24, 2012
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - --
Buckley Air Force Base, located east of Aurora, Colo., is an Air Force Space Command base that serves more than 92,000 active duty, National Guard, Reserve and retired personnel throughout the Front Range community. Buckley Air Force Base defends America through its air operations, space-based missile warning capabilities, space surveillance operations, space communications operations and support functions.
Buckley Air Force Base's host unit, the 460th Space Wing, falls under the direction of Air Force Space Command.
The mission of the 460th SW is to deliver global infrared surveillance, tracking missile warning for theater and homeland defense and provide combatant commanders with expeditionary warrior Airmen. The vision is Total vigilance, warrior culture and strong community.
Buckley Air Force Base currently supports more than 92,000 plus people throughout the Front Range community. This includes 3,156 active duty members from every service, 3,300 National Guard personnel and Reservists, 3,800 civilians, 2,400 contractors, and 36,000 retirees and approximately 40,000 veterans and dependents. The base contributes an estimated $1.11 billion annually to the local economy.
The 460th Space Wing is broken into three groups, each responsible for a distinct part of the Buckley Air Force Base mission.
The 460th Operations Group provides missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence, satellite command and control, battlespace characterization and robust communications. The group's team of space professionals operates the Defense Support Program satellite, which provides continuous global surveillance, tracking and targeting.
The 460th Mission Support Group provides trained personnel to support the Air Expeditionary Forces and Homeland Defense. The group is responsible for force protection, quality of life, human resources, contracting, logistics, base infrastructure and environmental stewardship support to the 460th SW, its customers and the base operational missions.
The 460th Medical Group supports military readiness to the Air Expeditionary Forces and Homeland Defense missions by ensuring base personnel are medically qualified for deployments and providing health care, life skills support, family advocacy, aerospace medicine, public health, bioenvironmental engineering, optometry, ancillary services health and wellness services and dental care.
Besides being the home of the 460th SW, the base also hosts the Colorado Air National Guard. The ANG's state and federal mission is to provide trained, well-equipped men and women who can augment the active force during national emergencies or war, and provide assistance during natural disasters and civil disturbances. The guard plays a significant role in the Noble Eagle mission responsible for 24-hour defense of the land, sea and air of the continental United States.
The Colorado Army National Guard operates the Army Aviation Support Facility at Buckley and is responsible for supplying personnel and equipment for special missions that cannot be handled by ground units alone. This unit flies and maintains Army CH-47 "Chinook" and UH-60 "Blackhawk" helicopters.
Buckley is unique in that it supports 77 tenant units located on base.
The Air Reserve Personnel Center, also located west of Buckley, is supported by the 460th SW. The center, comprised of more than 490 personnel, plays a major role in ensuring the nation always has a warrior bank of mission-ready air Guardsmen and Reservists for mobilization and United States Air Force augmentation by providing personnel management and services for its customers.
Buckley Air Force Base was named after 1st Lt. John H. Buckley, a WWII flier from Longmont, Colo. In 1941 the city of Denver donated land to the War Department. A contract for $7.5 million and 700 structures was let in 1942 to build Buckley. The War Department transferred Buckley to the Colorado Air National Guard in 1946.
The Department of Navy took over Buckley in 1947 and the installation was commissioned as the Denver Naval Air Station. Buckley was subsequently decommissioned in 1959 and the COANG took charge of the installation again in 1960, designating it as Buckley Air National Guard Base.
Buckley remained an Air National Guard base until Oct. 1, 2000 when the 821st Space Group became host and the base was renamed Buckley Air Force Base. The 460th Air Base Wing was activated October 1, 2001, and assumed full control of the support mission in the Denver area. On Aug. 19, 2004, it as designated as the 460th Space Wing and added an operational space mission to its responsibilities. Today, the 460th Space Wing looks forward to continued growth and expansion, both structurally and in its mission.
(Buckley AFB history and information are gathered from historical facts. Courtesy of the 17th Training Wing Public Affairs.)