Robins AFB, GA Image 1
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    Robins AFB, GA History

    Robins AFB was created in the 1930s, during a period of general military expansion in all US armed forces; a need for a modern logistics center for the Army Air Corps. Robins was the brainchild of Col. Charles Thomas, student of Brig. Gen. Augustine Warner Robins, the "Father of Logistics" for the Air Force, framer of modern supply systems, and driving force behind the research and development of technologies and techniques of combat air supply in World War Two. Gen. Robins died in 1939, and Col. Thomas acted to have the Air Corps' new logistics base, then called Georgia Air Depot, named for the general, which it finally was in 1948, after seven renamings. For most of World War Two, the base was Warner Robins Depot.

    Warner Robins Depot had good aerial approach, level ground, and an independent water supply, but only one small rail spur. With the looming of World War Two, efforts were increased, and when war came in 1941 the logistical demands of the Air Corps increased dramatically. Additional base facilities were rapidly put up, including additional housing, maintenance and repair hangar space, and supply warehousing. Warner Robins also became home for a variety of ground and aviation support training courses for air depot groups and air service groups, chemical, ordnance, medical, military police, quartermaster, and signal occupation specialties, and in particular field repair mechanics, over 60,000 mechanics alone.

    The end of the war saw Robins reverse it's flow of personnel, and the winding down of the base as many aircraft were put into standby or long term storage. The base was renamed Robins Air Force Base in 1947, with the independence of the Air Force from the Army. In the later 1940s the rising Cold War brought new life to Robins AFB; the Berlin Airlift of 1949 showed the ongoing need for and power of modern airlifted logistics, and the sudden breakout of the Korean War showed the need for ready-for-action units. Robins returned to highly active status, and took on the mission of returning mothballed B-29 Superfortresses to flight ready condition. Robins AFB also reconditioned F-80, F-84 and F-86 fighters, all while the base was being rebuilt to permanent base condition, with improved and expanded housing for over 17,000 personnel and expanded ground support facilities for the Cold War era. No sooner was this construction complete than much of it had to be rebuilt, as a powerful F4 tornado struck the base in 1953, causing two fatalities and $2 million damage. 1955 saw additional runway improvements, preparing for Robins to assume management of virtually all cargo planes of the period, making Robins the "Cargo Center of the Air Force." In the late 1950s, Robins AFB began support Strategic Air Command's B-52 Stratofortresses; to provide additional air defense Robins also gained ground controlled MIM-14 Nike-Hercules surface-to-air missiles, the most advanced available air defense of its time (1959).

    Robins provided repair crews and supply pipeline services to air units in Vietnam through the Vietnam War, as well as logistical support during 1983's Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. From 1977 to 1981 Robins was the main air base used by President Jimmy Carter during visits to his home state, Georgia.

    Since the end of the Cold War Robins AFB has continued its role as a premier logistics and maintenance facility for the USAF, maintaining a variety of fighters, airlift planes, all of the Air Forces' helicopters, and various specialized utility aircraft. Today Robins AFB is the single largest industrial complex in the state of Georgia.