In 1940, the U.S. Army looked to Arizona for a site for an Army Air Corps training field for advanced training in fighter aircraft. The city of Phoenix bought 1,440 acres of land, and leased it to the federal government. Construction began in March of 1941 at Litchfield Park Air Base. The base was later renamed Luke Field in honor of World War I Medal of Honor recipient and former Phoenix native, Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr.
During World War II, the base was the largest fighter training base in the Air Corps. By November of 1946, with victory assured, the base was deactivated. In February of 1951, as war began in Korea, the base was reactivated as Luke Air Force Base, part of the Air Training Command under the reorganized U.S. Air Force.
Today, Luke Air Force Base is located about 15 miles west of downtown Phoenix, and about 7 miles west of Glendale. It is a major training base of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), training pilots in the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
There are several aircraft on base in an air park setting. Included are a North American AT-6 Texan, F-84F Thunderstreak, F-100C Super Sabre, F-104C Starfighter, F-15B Eagle, F-4E Phantom II and a T-33A Shooting Star.
The Air Park is not accessible to the general public. However, groups can arrange tours through the Luke AFB public affairs office.
Luke Air Force Base Air Park (USAF Photo)
Luke AFB Air Park (Photo by Cullen Malone)
(L to R) F-4, F-100, F-84F
F-16 Fighting Falcon at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona