air force bases in colorado
Air Force

Air Force Bases in Colorado

The Centennial State of Colorado is among the most beautiful places in the country for its Rocky Mountains and vibrant communities of all sizes.

The state is split in half by the Continental Divide with a vast majority of the military exercises taking place on the front range in or near Colorado Springs.

There are 5 active Air Force bases in Colorado:

  • Buckley AFB
  • Cheyenne Air Force Station
  • Peterson AFB
  • Shriever AFB
  • Air Force Academy

Learn more about each of these bases below.

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Air Force Bases in Colorado

military bases in colorado
Colorado Springs is home to the United States Air Force Academy and many other military bases. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Colorado has a proud history with the military even if it gets overlooked by the East and West Coast, or the south.

Portions of the state, including Colorado Springs, have proud traditions with the U.S. Armed Forces.

The U.S. Air Force Academy is in Colorado Springs and prepares the youngest and brightest cadets for military service.

Here are more details about the five major Air Force bases in Colorado:

1. Buckley Air Force Base

buckley afb

Location: Aurora, Colorado

In Use: 1938 – Present

Overall Mission: Buckley Air Force Base is a large military establishment in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.

Colorado is a popular permanent and retirement location for military families.

Buckley Air Force Base represents the home of the 460th Space Wing along with nearly 30 tenant units.

The USAF military base was established during the beginning of World War II as an auxiliary field and bombing range.

Buckley AFB serves more than 92,000 active duty personnel including National Guard and Reserve as well.

Units Stationed at Buckley Air Force Base:

  • 460th Space Wing
  • 2nd Space Warning Squadron
  • 8th Space Warning Squadron
  • 11th Space Warning Squadron
  • 120th Fighter Squadron
  • 566th Intelligence Squadron

Official Site:

2. Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station

cheyenne mountain complex

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

In Use: 1965 – Present (Built-in 1962)

Overall Mission: Cheyenne Mountain is one of the coolest military bases you’ll ever learn about even if much of the day-to-day operations are top secret.

Cheyenne Mountain Air Station (CMAFS) is an underground facility built directly into the mountain.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was the first to use Cheyenne Mountain for its combat operations center.

NORAD occupies the mountain base along with the U.S. Strategic Command Missile Warning Center.

Units Stationed at Cheyenne Air Force Station:

  • North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
  • 21st Space Wing
  • 14th Air Force Space Command
  • 721 Mission Support Group

Official Site:

3. Peterson Air Force Base

peterson afb

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

In Use: 1942 – Present

Overall Mission: Peterson Air Force Base is adjacent to Colorado Springs Municipal Airport.

It teams with Cheyenne Mountain to represent the headquarters for NORAD.

Peterson AFB is the headquarters for U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).

Peterson Air Force Base also supports the 21st Space Wing of the recently created Space Force.

It plans to focus primarily on space work in the future under a new name “Peterson Space Force Base”.

Units Stationed at Peterson Air Force Base:

  • North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
  • United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM)
  • 21st Space Wing
  • Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber)
  • Eighteenth Air Force
  • Tenth Air Force
  • Twenty-Second Air Force

Official Site:

colorado military bases
Air Force bases in Colorado include the underground facility inside Cheyenne Mountain. Image: Peterson Air Force Base

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4. Schriever Air Force Base

schriever afb

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

In Use: 1985 – Present

Overall Mission: If you haven’t already noticed a trend most of the Air Force bases in Colorado are within a close radius.

Schriever Air Force Base is yet another military facility near Colorado Springs.

The base is less than 10 miles away from Peterson Air Force Base and helps support USAF operations.

Schriever AFB supports a number of units including the 50th Space Wing and fragments of Air Combat Command (ACC).

Units Stationed at Schriever Air Force Base:

  • 50th Space Wing
  • 21st Space Wing
  • ACC 53rd Wing
  • ACC 57th Wing
  • Twenty-fifth Air Force

Official Site:

5. United States Air Force Academy

us air force academy recruits

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

In Use: 1954 – Present

Overall Mission: The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is technically not a military base.

However, it’s the one and only military academy for officer cadets seeking to join the military branch.

The Air Force Academy is the youngest of the five service academies in the United States.

Graduates earn a Bachelor of Science and get commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force or Space Force.

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Receiving admission to the prestigious academy is very competitive. The average incoming class is only 1,200 cadets and 20% do not graduate.

The academy covers tuition and room and board with an agreement to serve the military after graduation.

The U.S. Air Force Academy follows the principle of “Integrity First, Service Before Self”.

The program is based on the four pillars of excellence which are military training, academics, athletics, and character development.

Cadets receive additional training at other military bases in the Colorado Springs area, including Peterson AFB.

Units Stationed at the United States Air Force Academy:

  • Over 4,230 cadets
  • 550 academic staff (70% military and 30% civilian)

Official Site:


Air Force bases in Colorado are primarily in the Colorado Springs area.

The only exception is Buckley Air Force Base which is nearby in Aurora, Colorado.

Peterson AFB and Schriever AFB support general Air Force operations.

Meanwhile, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and the U.S. Air Force Academy are separate institutions with their own unique traits.

Serving at one of the active Air Force bases in Colorado is an exciting opportunity in your life and many ex-military decide to call the state home after retiring from service.

Craig S.
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