Craig Air Force Base - History - Closure


Perhaps the most dominant feature on the ATC landscape in 1974 was the serious fuel shortage the command had to contend with for much of the year. The shortage arose when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sent oil prices skyrocketing by cutting back on production. Almost overnight, the price of aviation fuel tripled. To conserve fuel, ATC made numerous adjustments to the UPT syllabus at bases such as Craig, including a reduction in the number of sorties and flying hours and an increased reliance on the use of synthetic trainers. In other efforts to cope with the crisis, the Air Force also cut overall pilot production goals by 18 percent, characterized by USAF Officer Training School (OTS) not accepting any pilot applicants for FY 75, and the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) initiating a Reduction in Force (RIF) program in its college/university cadet program. Under the latter initiative, AFROTC rescinded previously promised pilot training and navigator training slots for approximately 75% of the cadets in commissioning Year Groups 75, 76 and 77 originally slated for flight training, re-directing them into non-aeronautically rated career fields or offering them opportunities to resign and transfer to officer flight training programs of the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Army. USAF Academy cadets/graduates were never subjected to any of the RIF actions experienced by AFROTC cadets/graduates and were never impacted by these reductions in USAF flight training production.

By the mid-1970s, the end of the Vietnam War, the associated financial costs of that conflict and related cuts in force size and future defense budgets meant a marked decrease in the need for Air Force pilots. One of the major issues facing the ATC commander and his staff during 1976 was the prospect of closing two UPT bases. Rather than reduce training production at all seven UPT locations, ATC officials believed it to be more economical to close two UPT bases.

In 1974, Craig AFB was selected as one of two UPT bases to be closed in a post-Vietnam economic move. In 1977, Air Training Command closed Craig Air Force Base along with Webb Air Force Base in Texas. Craig's 29th Flying Training Wing was inactivated on September 30, 1977 and the field was placed on caretaker status the next day.

Read more about this topic:  Craig Air Force Base, History

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