Peterson Air Force Base is located in the El Paso County and is well known in the area for the runways provided to the adjacent local airport – Colorado Springs Municipal Airport. The common use of the runways is possible due to a military agreement between the army and the local authorities. The base is located in the middle of the state and operated by the US Air Force. It was named in the memory of Edward Joseph Peterson, a lieutenant who died in a plane crash at the base.
The Peterson Air Force Base history overlaps with the history of another base in the area – Colorado Springs Army Air Base. This base was set up in 1942, as a response to the hostilities in Europe. The base was built in a solidification process of the United States of America with multiple military bases all over the country to increase the power. The initial purpose of the base was to deal with photo reconnaissance training sessions. When the place was taken over by the Air Force, multiple squadrons and units were deployed here by 1943. During the same times, the inhabitants witnessed the tragedy involving the death of Edward Joseph Peterson, on August, 8-th, 1942. By the end of 1943, the base was given a new assignment. It became responsible with the bomber combat training sessions. The base was fitted with a school for this task and successfully managed to “release” plenty of crew technicians during World War II.
Over the history, the base changed multiple leaderships and units, but none of them managed to stay in for too long. The longest lasting “runner” is the US Air Force. Ever since the years after World War II, the base functioned in a tight collaboration with the local airport. For this reason, it was not extremely active during any of the 20-th century wars. It did help with the training part, but there is nothing spectacular worth mentioning.
During the ’80s, the base reached an unexpected popularity when it became the main center of the US Air Force for space activities.
Peterson AFB proudly hosts the 21-th Wing, a huge unit spread over six counties, in multiple military bases. In other words, this is one of the few units that can actually cover the entire area of the USA. The unit is responsible with the space control and the missile warnings. It works in a tight collaboration with the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The unit is split in four different groups – Mission Support Group, Operations Group, Medical Group and Staff Agencies. Each of them has specific tasks and includes more smaller divisions. The base is also the home for the 821-st Air Base Group and the 721-st Mission Support Group. Aside from these three major names, multiple small associate units are sometimes hosted at the base.
The housing system at Peterson is dealt with by a local agency. It is the only way to get a home there and the space is limited, so move fast.