Named in the memory of the World War I pilot Eugene Hoy Barksdale who died in 1926 in an unfortunate plane crash, Barksdale AFB is an Air Force operated military facility located in the northwestern area of Louisiana, only 7 km away from Bossier City. The base hosts the oldest bomb unit in the Air Force and aims to train professional pilots and provide global and flexible combat capability.
Around 1924, the Shreveport citizens decided it is time for their area to gain some defense security, so they thought about hosting a military airfield, especially since a close base was about to be expanded. The place was found and selected in 1928. However, the actual construction began in 1931 with a couple of runways and some hangars. The first operations began next year, after the first unit joined the base in the autumn of 1932 – the 20-th Pursuit Group. The official groundbreaking ceremony took place in 1933. The place was initially used for the pilots to test out their bombing capabilities and work on them. Prior to World War II, the place expanded with multiple barracks and facilities. Over the war, almost 15 different units and squadrons used the area to train, especially for the European theater.
Barksdale AFB played a very important role during the Vietnam War and the long Cold War as well. At the same time, it experienced a wide variety of problems due to the low flying capacity of the bombardment aircrafts that could not take such long distances. Many of them could not be equipped with extra fuel tanks either.
The units were also part of the first Iraqi invasion from 1996, as a response to Saddam Hussein’s attack over the problematic Kurds in the country. The whole invasion took 80 hours, including the deployment time. Other than that, the base was used for the War on Terrorism as well.
One of the most notable events on a black list includes the 2007 nuclear warhead transportation, when a B 52 carrying cruise missiles with nuclear load landed on the base, without the personnel to have a clue about the load. This happening raised a huge controversy throughout the country.
Barksdale AFB hosts the 2-nd Bomb Wing, which is actually the oldest wing in the Air Force history. The medical group consists of 7 offices. The mission support group hosts not less than 7 squadrons, while the operations and maintenance groups consist of 4 squadrons each. The staff includes 10 offices and centers, such as the Comptroller Squadron, the Inspector General or the Retiree Office. Two of the most important associate tenant groups are the Det 13 ACC TRSS and the 49-th Test and Evaluation Squadron.
When deployed at Barksdale AFB for short periods of time, the troops are hosted in one of the camps located on site. The superiors or those who come here for longer periods of time – with or without their families – must check in with the local housing office.