air force bases in california
Air Force

Air Force Bases in California

The Golden State of California is one of the most desirable places in the U.S. to call home.

With two massive metropolitan areas in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California is the most populous state in the country.

Along with terrific year-round weather and thrilling nightlife, the state is also strategically important to the West Coast of the United States.

Therefore, the U.S. military has many different Air Force bases in California.

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Air Force Bases in California

Air Force bases in California are heavy with activity, including the legendary Edwards Air Force Base in southern California. Image: Af.mil

There are 6 Air Force bases in California.

Learn more about each Air Force base and the purpose of the facility.

Serving the country in a place like California is an outstanding opportunity and worth appreciating!

1. Beale Air Force Base

Location: Marysville, California

Beale Air Force Base
Image: beale.af.mil

In Use: 1948 – Present

Overall Mission: Beale Air Force Base is one of the largest bases on the West Coast.

The 9th Reconnaissance Wing serves as the host unit and collects intelligence for national defense.

The wing is also available for quick combat support to all areas of the world.

Units Stationed at Beale Air Force Base:

  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing
  • 940th Air Refueling Wing
  • 1st Reconnaissance Squadron
  • 12th Reconnaissance Squadron
  • 13th Reconnaissance Squadron
  • 99th Reconnaissance Squadron
  • 314th Air Refueling Squadron

Official Site: https://www.beale.af.mil/

2. Edwards Air Force Base

Location: Kern County, California

edwards air force base in california
Image: Af.mil

In Use: 1933 – Present

Overall Mission: Edwards Air Force Base is legendary with aircraft testing in the United States.

The Air Force has used the base since before the start of World War II.

Today, Edwards AFB is home to the Air Force Test Center, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, and Air Force Test Pilot School.

The research and development facilities support many different aerospace programs of the U.S. Air Force.

Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier at Edwards AFB.

Units Stationed at Edwards Air Force Base:

  • 412th Test Wing
  • 411th Flight Test Squadron
  • 416th Flight Test Squadron
  • 418th Flight Test Squadron
  • 53rd Air Combat Command Wing
  • Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center

Official Site: https://www.edwards.af.mil/

3. Los Angeles Air Force Base

Location: El Segundo, California

los angeles afb in california
Image: Af.mil

In Use: 1964 – Present (Built-in 1962)

Overall Mission: Los Angeles Air Force Base is near the Los Angeles Airport in El Segundo.

The military base serves as the garrison for the 61st Air Base Wing which includes the Air Force Space Command Missile Systems Center.

The SMC deals with research and management of military space systems.

Official Site: https://www.losangeles.af.mil/

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4. March Air Reserve Base

Location: Riverside, California

march air force base in california
Image: Wikipedia.org

In Use: 1917 – Present

Overall Mission: March Air Reserve Base in Moreno Valley is not only one of the oldest Air Force bases in California but in the country.

The iconic base was instrumental for Strategic Air Command during the Cold War.

Today, it represents the headquarters of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing along with hosting several other tenant units.

Several other military reserves and the California Air National Guard also call March Air Reserve Base home.

Units Stationed at March Air Reserve Base:

  • 452nd Air Mobility Wing
  • Fourth Air Force
  • 163rd Attack Wing
  • 144th Fighter Wing
  • 701st Combat Operations Squadron

Official Site: https://www.march.afrc.af.mil/

5. Travis Air Force Base

Location: Fairfield, California

travis afb in california
Image: Af.mil

In Use: 1942 – Present

Overall Mission: Air Force bases in California are some of the most important and influential in the nation, including Travis Air Force Base.

The base helps protect the “Gateway to the Pacific” in Sacramento Valley.

Travis Air Force Base serves many different purposes.

It’s home to the 60th Air Mobility Wing which is the largest wing of the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command.

Additionally, the base handles more passenger traffic and cargo through its airport than any other military air terminal in the nation.

Lastly, it supports the David Grand USAF Medical Center.

Many military families and retirees also decide to make Fairfield their permanent home to remain situated close to the base.

Units Stationed at Travis Air Force Base:

  • 60th Air Mobility Wing
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing
  • 349th Air Mobility Wing

Official Site: https://www.travis.af.mil

6. Vandenberg Air Force Base

Location: Lompoc, California

vandenberg air force base
Image: Wikimedia.org

In Use: 1941 – Present

Overall Mission: Vandenberg Air Force Base was once known as Camp Cooke.

The military base serves as the jurisdiction for the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and 30th Space Wing.

Vandenberg handles space and missile testing as well as placing satellites in orbit.

Units Stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base:

  • 30th Space Wing
  • Second Air Force
  • 381st Training Group
  • 576th Flight Test Squadron

Official Site: https://www.vandenberg.af.mil/

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Conclusion

Air Force bases in California feature a deep history of aviation and aerospace operations in the United States.

Many of the most prestigious Air Force bases in California date to before or during World War II.

All in all, there are six active Air Force bases in California as well as inactive ones like Mcclellan AFB (which has transitioned into a museum).

See Also:

Air Force Bases in Colorado

Air Force Bases in the US

Army Bases in California

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California Air Force Bases

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California is home to several large and important US Air Force bases. Check out our list of all 7 California Air Force bases, including the units stationed there, its current mission, and more.
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