One of the first missions to be carried out at the base was that of coastal defense in the wake of the United States' entry into World War II. The dominant wartime mission of the base was training air crews for combat duty. Several bombing and gunnery training ranges were established on nine tracts of land encompassing 100,000 acres around the airport. Hundreds of flying units and air crews trained at the base for varying lengths of time, depending upon their prior training. The base also was used as a stage for bombers deploying to Europe. Some Royal Netherlands pilots, flying their B-25 bombers trained in Myrtle Beach for a brief period in the Summer of 1943.
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Post World War II Demobilization/Remobilization of the Myrtle Beach Army Air Field
In October 1947, the Defense Department ordered the Myrtle Beach Army Air Field to be inactivated with an effective date of November 1947. The field was shut down, and the runways, control tower and associated real estate were returned to the Town of Myrtle Beach for use as a municipal airport.For the next several years, the airport supported commercial flight operations During this period, the United States saw a need to rebuild its armed forces in the face of the looming threat posed by the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its support of communism in various parts of the world. In planning the buildup, the airport was a candidate to become a major Air Force base. This planning was helped along when the City of Myrtle Beach offered, in 1954, to donate the Municipal Airport and associated real estate to the Air Force. The airport was redesignated Myrtle Beach Air Force Base on April 1, 1954.
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1954 Conveyance of Base to United States Air Force
During the Korean War, the United States Air Force expressed interest in acquiring the Myrtle Beach Airfield from the City of Myrtle Beach to base a fighter wing there. An agreement was reached for the joint use of the base for both Air Force and civilian aircraft. The rebuilding program commenced for converting the airfield into the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. Tactical Air Command positioned the 727th Tactical Air Control Squadron on the base. In 1955, Colonel Robert G. Emmens was assigned to supervise construction. In 1956 the 342nd Fighter Day Wing was activated (without aircraft); it was subsequently deactivated, and the 354th Fighter Day Wing was activated. It received its first operational F-100 Super Sabre in February 1957, delivered by Colonel James F. Hackler, Jr., Commander of the fighter group. (Photo at right)