Grissom Air Reserve Base is a Untied States Air Force Installation located in Indiana. The base spans two counties, Miami and Cass, and sits 12 miles north of Kokomo. The base derives its namesake from Colonel Vergil Ivan Grissom, a United States Air Force pilot that was killed in the launchpad explosion of Apollo 1.
The base was originally constructed as a US Navy training facility in World War II and designated as Naval Air Station Bunker Hill. The base served to train Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps pilots for missions overseas and in the United States.
Following World War II, Naval Air Station Bunker Hill was decommissioned and fell into a state of disuse. It was considered unnecessary to have an air station in the middle of the country when US Naval air power was now concentrated across the US Coasts.
In 1954, the newly established United States Air Force reopened the base as Bunker Hill Air Force Base.
In 1968 Bunker Hill Air Force Base was renamed in honor of Colonel Grissom, and Grissom Air Force Base came into existence. The base had several names and roles as it came into the 21st century, eventually becoming the Grissom Air Reserve Base as it began to absorb reserve components from nearby facilities.
There are tentative plans to expand the base in the future, but at this time there are none plans officially scheduled.
The primary role of Grissom Air Reserve Base revolved around the 305th and 434th Air Refueling Wing. This division of the Air Force has supported most major operations in which the US Air Force has been involved in the last 40 years.
The 305th provided refueling support for the invasion of Grenada in 1983 and operations in Panama in 1989. Units from Grissom Air Reserve Base were also involved in Gulf War operations of Desert Shield and Desert Storm by providing air drops of food and water to Kurds and refueling support for combat aircraft.
Grissom Air Reserve Base was slated to be deactivated once again at the close of Cold War hostilities as the US military downsized. In 1992 it was decided to incorporate the base deeper into the Air Force Reserve system. This division was abandoned in 194, and the 305th Air Refueling Wing was transferred elsewhere.
Grissom Air Reserve Base has been, and continues to be home to several large Air Force commands. The Air Force Tactical Command Center, Air Force Strategic Air Command, Air Mobility Command and Air Force Reserve Command have all been housed at Grissom. Today, Grissom Air Reserve Base is home to 434th Mission Support Group, 434th Special Operations Wing and a Fighter Interceptor Squadron.