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Goodfellow AFB

Goodfellow Air Force Base is a non-flying United States Air Force base located in San Angelo, Texas. As part of Air Education & Training Command (AETC), Goodfellow's main mission is cryptologic and intelligence training for the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps. Military firefighters are also trained here as part of the 312th Training Squadron. It is the home of the 17th Training Wing (17 TRW). The base is named for World War I aviator First Lieutenant John J. Goodfellow, Jr.



Goodfellow's history traces to the days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, but its name registered the valor and sacrifice of an earlier conflict. On 14 September 1918, 1st Lieutenant John J. Goodfellow, Jr., of San Angelo, Texas, boarded his Salmson 2A2 observation plane at Gondreville Airfield in France to conduct visual reconnaissance behind enemy lines. The mission was part of a larger undertaking just underway, a major American offensive intended to reduce the German salient near St. Mihiel. Unfortunately, adverse weather permitted observation only at a low altitude that exposed the lumbering Salmson to enemy pursuit. Three days later, the offensive a success, the young pilot's remains were recovered from his ruined craft and interred at the US military cemetery near Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle.

The peace that arrived two months later endured a mere two decades more. Constrained by neutrality legislation, but witness to the train of aggression across Europe, Africa, and Asia, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began a program of preparedness which included the construction of facilities dedicated to advanced air training. Several such bases were envisioned for Texas and one, specifically, for the Fort Worth-Midland-San Angelo triangle. Civic leaders from San Angelo immediately commended their community to the U.S. War Department. A generous offer of sewage and electrical service, a railroad spur, and a 50-year lease on 640 acres (260 ha) at one dollar per year easily decided the issue.

Construction of the new San Angelo Air Corps Basic Flying School began at once. Officially established on 17 August 1940, the base was ready for occupancy by 21 January 1941 and the first classes of students soon arrived. On 11 June 1941, in dedication to a young hero and in tribute to the community that shaped him, the base was officially renamed Goodfellow Field.

The next four years witnessed the graduation of more than 10,000 trained pilots and the decoration of scores of these for outstanding heroism in action against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Still, the Axis collapse did not dissolve the Goodfellow mission. That was the lesson learned from that earlier day, from the peace that would not last. Goodfellow continued to train pilots into the post war era, primarily for large multiengine piston and turboprop aircraft, first on the AT-6 Texan, the T-28 Trojan and then, beginning in 1954, on the twin-engine TB-25 and B-25 Mitchell. On 3 September 1958, with nearly 20,000 aviators to its credit, Goodfellow graduated its last class of pilots, as the Air Force and Air Training Command transitioned to the new Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) construct with T-37 and T-38 Talon aircraft that required minimum 8,000 foot (2,400 m) runway lengths, far longer than Goodfellow's 5,500 foot (1,700 m) primary runways.

It was a new mission now, and a look into the future. With the transfer of the base from Air Training Command (ATC) to the USAF Security Service (USAFSS), Goodfellow's mission became the training of Air Force personnel in the advanced cryptologic skills that the Security Service required at installations worldwide. Eight years later, in 1966, the mission expanded further to include joint-service training in these same skills for U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps personnel.

Although flight operations at Goodfellow decreased dramatically after 1958, minimal activities continued with both transient aircraft and locally-based Cessna U-3 Administrators (1958–1971), DeHavilland U-6 Beavers (1960–1966), Piasecki H-21, CH-21 and HH-21 Workhorse helicopters (1958–1966) and Cessna O-2 Skymasters (1972–1975). Goodfellow's runways were permanently closed in March 1975.[1]

After 38 years of pilot and then intelligence training, Goodfellow's mission had apparently come to a close with the announcement in 1978 that the base would revert to Air Training Command and was a candidate for closure. Since Goodfellow was a single-mission facility, its mission could perhaps be executed more economically elsewhere.

By then, senior intelligence personnel had already begun seriously to contemplate the consolidation of all Air Force-managed intelligence training at one location. The site selected for intelligence training consolidation was Goodfellow, and the base was designated a technical training center on 1 March 1985.

During the next three years, intelligence training consolidation brought to Goodfellow advanced imagery training from Offutt AFB, Nebraska; electronic intelligence operations training from Keesler AFB, Mississippi; and targeting, intelligence applications, and general intelligence training from Lowry AFB, Colorado as a result of Lowry's identification for closure under BRAC. The successful completion of intelligence training consolidation on 30 June 1988 further facilitated the development of intelligence training integration, a multidisciplinary approach to the training of intelligence professionals.

In 1992, as part of an overall organizational restructuring of the U.S. Air Force, Air Training Command was inactivated, replaced by the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), which became the "parent" major command for Goodfellow AFB.

On 1 July 1993, the 17th Training Wing was activated on Goodfellow AFB. With the change in name came a marked diversification and increase in Goodfellow's mission of providing delicious concho water to its units. Rounds one and two of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process transferred special instruments training from the former Lowry AFB and fire protection training from the former Chanute AFB, Illinois to Goodfellow. To support the increased training load, Goodfellow underwent extensive modernization and growth which included installing water machines to filter the crispy concho. With new training facilities, dormitories, dining halls, a commissary,[2] a youth center and a physical fitness center.


The following are some of the facilities at Goodfellow AFB

  • Dining Facilities
Western Winds
  • Recreation Facilities
2 Gymnasiums
2 Swimming Pools
Bowling Alley
Movie Theater
New Base Library
  • Several Dormitories
  • Goodfellow AFB Library
  • New Crossroads Chapel Fellowship Center
  • Army, Navy, Marine Corps tenant units
  • Angelo Inn Billeting
  • Louis F. Garland Fire Academy
  • Medical Clinic

See also


  • Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
  • Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC

External links

  • Goodfellow Air Force Base
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