Located in Otero, New Mexico, Holloman AFB is a United States Air Force installation and tucked between the Sacramento and San Andres mountain ranges. Lying approximately six miles from Alamogordo, the base is named for missile research expert George V. Holloman. The facility is well known amongst speed enthusiasts for having the longest and fastest test track in the world, stretching over six miles.
Established in 1942, the original facility was known as Alamogordo Army Air Field. The base played a role in training pilots for combat and escort operations in World War II and, following its end, the base was soon renamed its present day name. Despite being within the continental United States, the primary role of the base in World War II was actually to train British Royal Air Force pilots. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the British Royal Air Force suspended its overseas training program and the base went to full control of the United States Army Air Corps. The first American units arrived at the base in May of 1942 to construct additional runways, barracks, administrative buildings and hangers. Throughout World War II Alamogordo Army Air Field facilitated the training of pilots from more than 20 different units and aircraft, including the well known Boeing B 17 Flying Fortresses and B 42 Liberator.
The future of Alamogordo Army Air Field was in limbo after the surrender of Germany and Japan; most officials assumed the base would be closed. The Air Materiel Command took over control of the base, which brought a new flurry of activity to the area, quickly making the now Air Force base the center of testing operations. The next quarter century saw continued testing and developments of missile systems, including the MGM 1 Matador, AGM 45 Shrike and the Falcon missile system.
Holloman Air Force Base has also had notable achievements in the field of space exploration. In 1961 a trained chimpanzee name Ham was launched into low earth orbit from Holloman Air Force base and completed two orbits before safely returning to earth. Holloman AFB is also known for setting a land speed world record when in 2003 a railed vehicle achieved a speed of 6,524 miles per hour.
Holloman Air Force Base is currently home to the three major permanent units and one tenant foreign unit. The main unit of the base is the 49th Wing and its support groups; medical, materiel maintenance, maintenance, mission support and operations. Holloman Air Force Base is also home to the 4th Space Control Squadron, 46th Test Group and detachment of the German Air Force, the German Air Force Flying Training Center, which trains Tornado aircrews and pilots.
Housing at Holloman Air Force Base is limited. It is recommended that incoming airmen fill out an application well in advance of their arrival. Those airmen who cannot find housing on base have several options for houses and apartments within the local community.