Fairchild Air Force Base celebrates 75 years - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fairchild Air Force Base celebrates 75 years

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FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -

Wednesday was a big day for Fairchild Air Force Base. They celebrated their 75th anniversary, with a big ceremony on one of its original hangars.

Fairchild Air Force Base was established in 1942 as The Spokane Air Army Depot. In July 1951 the base changed its name. This time after Bellingham native General Muir S. Fairchild, who rose to Vice Chief Of Staff of the Air Force.

In January of 1958 crews were put on high alert at Fairchild when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in February. Fairchild acquired the first KC-135 tanker which was dubbed "the flying fuel station" for B-52s.

Through the 1960s Fairchild played a key role in the Vietnam War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In August of 1990 hundreds of Air Force members based at Fairchild were deployed to support in Operation Desert Shield And Desert Storm….

In June of 1994, one of the nation's worst mass shootings occurred at the Fairchild Base Hospital. Four people were killed and left 23 others wounded. During that same month, a B-52 crashed while practicing for the Fairchild Air Show. The crash killed the pilot and three other crew members on board.  

In May of 2001 Fairchild officials confirmed that all nuclear weapons had been removed from the base.

On Wednesday, Col. Ryan Samuelson said he's looking forward to another 75 years.

“What an incredible legacy this base and community has together,” he said. 

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