LORING DATES OF SIGNFICANCE.
Loring Air Force Base CDP was located at
21 March 1946 SAC Activated
1947 Aroostook County Maine is chosen as the location of one of the new SAC bases due to its proximity to Europe
15 April 1947 Designation of Limestone Army Air Field Limestone AAF
15 April 1947 Designation of SAC
23 May 1947 Contracts given to The New England Division of USACE and multi-million dollar contracts to Lane Construction Corporation of Meriden Connecticut and T.W. Cunningham In. of Bangor Maine
April 1947 Construction was authorized in Limestone Maine on a new SAC Base
September 1947 the USAF is its own division
13 January 1948 base is officially Limestone AAF
16 June 1948 First concrete pouring takes place of Arch Hanger. Takes 27 hours, 36 minutes
September 1948 first aircraft lands on the newly completed runway. A contractors twin engine cessna
15 June 1950 date set for minimal operations to start at Limestone AAF
10 June 1950 7 SAC Officers and 78 Airman arrived as a base detachment
12 June 1950 the first aircraft landed at Limestone, a cargo plane
16 June 1950 the first B36 arrived at Limestone and took back off.
1 July 1950 the 4215 Base Services Squadron was given its name, from the first detachment that came to Limestone.
August 13, 1950 First assigned Aircraft arrives at loring C-47 Transport
August 1950 the base saw more transient aircraft coming to the base due to the escalation of the Korean Conflict
1951 DOD allotted additional funds for WSA at Limestone
4 August 1951 WSA construction begins
1 November 1951 WSA partially occupied and activated and still under construction
15 December 1951 the 3080th Aviation Depot Group is activated and assumes control of the WSA
10 April 1952 the WSA is completed, Code name “Easy” prior to construction. Also known as the North River Depot became the stie of the first operational nuclear storage site in the Air Force
1952 North River Depot receives its first armament. The Mark-VI nuclear bomb, the first nuclear weapon since the Fat Man Bomb of WWII
22 November 1952 Major Charles J. Loring was killed when he flew his aircraft into a battery of anti-aircraft batteries.
8 February 1953 General Curtis E. LeMay makes a site visit to Loring to check on progress of the base
25 February 1953 42nd Bombardment Wing was activated at Limestone AAF
25 February 1953 the base became operational
March 1953 and April 1953 Aircraft maintenance crews began setting up full scale B36 operations.
1 April 1953 10 B36’s arrive at Limestone, giving the 69th Bombardment Squadron a full complement of aircraft.
2 August 1953 First base open house draws 75,000 people
31 August the wing had 27 B36 bombers, 322 officers, 313 Airman, and 350 civilians
28 September 1953 First day of school on Loring
25 December 1953 First Television broadcast by experimental Armed Forces TV occurs at Loring. (later this would be the AFRTS-Armed Forces Radio and Television Services)
7 January 1954 the 42nd BW was operational and capable of implementing emergency War Plan
16 March 1954 First classes offered to Loring NCE Preparatory Academy begins
5 May 1954 Charles Lorings widow was given his Medal of Honor from President Dwight Eisenhower, and the base official was to bear his name.
1 October 1954 the base official bore the name Loring AFB in honor of Major Charles Loring
8 October 1954 the 45th Air Division was activated as the primary base unit
1954 end Loring had 63 assigned aircraft
18 January 1955 KC 97 Stratofreighter tankers arrive at Loring AFB and the 42nd Air Refueling Squadron (AREFS) arrives
15 February 1955 First taker hits Loring KC-97G
8 March 1955 Loring AFB first in-flight refueling mission is completed
1955 Loring AFB is composed of four bombardment squadrons, the 42nd, 69th, 70th and 75th, Field Maintenance Squadron, Periodica Maintenance Squadron, Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadron, a Tactical Hospital, a USAF Hospital, Air Base Group, Operations Squadron, Supply Squadron, Motor Vehicle Squadron, Air Police Squadron, Food Services Squadron, Installation Squadron, and Air force Band
1955 The (DC) Double Cantilever Hanger was constructed
9 Jan 1956 The first B52 Lands at Loring AFB
16 June 1956 the first permanent B-52 arrives at Loring AFB, it was christened “THE STATE OF MAINE” with a bottle of containing waters from both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as a symbol of the crafts ability to fly from ocean to ocean without refueling
10 November 1956 Soviet Union threatens to oust British and French troops from the Middle East
15 November 1956 President Eisenhower and UN counter and SAC is alerted to take action as needed to support US commitment
24-25 November 1956 Operation Quick Kick is put in place by SAC. Its mission was to fly around the perimeter of North America. Loring was one of those that took part in this mission.
1956 18 additional nose dock hangers had been constructed
January 1957 the wing converted to B-52D
March 1957 ARS to receive Lorings first KC-135
16 October 1957 the first KC 135 Stratotanker christened “THE AROOSTOOK QUEEN” arrives at Loring AFB
6 December 1957 all KC-97’s leave Loring
9 December 1957 first Presidential visit by Dwight D. Eisenhower enroute to NATO Meeting in Paris
April 1958 20 KC-135 arrive at Loring and the 42nd ARS attains combat ready status
October 1957 an Alert Force was established at Loring AFB
January 1958 6 B-52’s began support of the Alert Force
July 1958 the Alert Force was expanded to include the entire bombardment wing due to the conflict in Lebanon
21 May 1959 First B-52G Model arrives at Loring (Aircraft #56, 500)
29 October 1959 First fighter aircraft arrives Four F-106 Delta Darts of the 27th Fighter interceptor Squadron
August and December 1961 the wing was on alert in support of Hard Head VI airborne alert operation
14 December 1968 first day opening for the Loring Ski Chalet
July 1968 the 407th ARS arrived from Homestead AFB Florida, doubling the wings refueling capability
23 June 1969 first two female air traffic controllers in the history of SAC Conducted work at Loring
8 October 1970 first Union on base Local 2943 of AFL-CIO
4 August 1972 Loring became the first SRAM equipped operational B-52 unit in SAC
1 Jan 1975 First testing of ala Carte dining concept in SAC
2 March 1978 the Wing won the SAC Omaha Trophy for 1977
27 October 1975, Loring AFB was the location of a unidentified flying object sighting. UFO
31 October to 1 November 1975 an unidentified sighting at low level over Loring
1 March 1976 HQ SAC announced the 42nd BW would inactivate
1979 decision to reverse the 42nd BW inactivation occurred
1980s Loring became a non-nuclear base, and carry conventional bombs
1981 Loring was placed on alert after Soviet submarines were spotted off the east coast
7 January 1982 the base is hit with an two earthquakes one damaged the hospital and the other caused cracks to appear on the walls of the control tower
5 September 1983 KC-135 from Loring, saves an F-4 aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean, their actions would win them the Mackay Award
15 September 1983 the wing received its first HARPOON modified aircraft
1983 Loring gets a mention in the movie War Games
1984 the wing became the Air Forces only primary conventional bomber force
October 1988 the wing after 30 years ended its B-52 24 hour nuclear alert
25 May 1989 The first “R” Model KC-135 arrived at Loring
18 September 1989 Loring bombers first to ever fly into Royal Air Force Base St. Mawgan UK
1989 Loring is listed on the EPA National Priorities List due to the high waste of oil, fuels, solvents and pesticides in the soil
2 August 1990 and May 10, 1991 More than 1,700 aircraft in transit to or from Desert Shield/Desert Storm made technical or refueling stops at Loring AFB. These included C-131, C-5, C-130, C-21, A-4, A-10, Boeing 707, F-16, F/A-18, F111, P-3, TR-1, U-2, B-52, KC-10, KC-135, E-3A, EA-6B, and E-8A aircraft.
August 7, 1990 the wing began to deploy aircraft, personnel and equipment to Southwest Asia in support of Desert Shield
March 1991 the deployed started to return back to Loring from the Gulf
1 October 1991 the 407 ARS was inactivated on Loring
3 October 1991 President Bush ordered alert forces and Loring KC-135 to stand down ending their first 24 hour alert
1991 Loring is identified as one of six SAC bases recommended for closure
1 June 1992 SAC is inactivated and the new Air Combat Command is established
1 November 1993 the final Airman steps off the pane in PI Maine assigned to Loring AIC Hattie Douglas was greeted by a blizzard and 27 degrees
16 November 1993 the last B-52G leaves Loring AFB after 40 years
February 1994 ceremonies were held to celebrate the end of the flying mission
2 March 1994 the final KC-135R departed Loring after 41 years on the base
30 September 1994 at 430pm Loring AFB is closed and ceases to exist
Loring Air Force Base History
The 42nd Bomb Wing began its history as the 42nd Bombardment Group (Medium) at Fort Douglas, Utah, on January 15, 1942. The group was transferred to Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, in June of the same year with B-18 and B-26 bombers assigned. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, one tactical squadron moved to Alaska for coastal patrol while the rest of the group moved to McChord Field, Washington, in preparations for overseas duty. Following final training at Hammar Field, California, in February of 1943, the group moved to the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific. In June of ’43, with the newly added 69 th and 70 th Bomb Squadrons strengthening the group, the 42nd attacked Japanese targets in the central Solomon Islands. From January through July of 1944 42nd aircraft bombed enemy harbors and airfields on New Britain and attacked shipping around the Morthern Solomons and Bismarck Island. In March 1945, the Group moved to the Philippines and supported ground operations on Mindanao. The 42nd earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for support of an Australian invasion of a Japanses oil refinery at Balikpapen, Borneo, June 23-30, 1945. Following a transfer to Japan as part of U.S. occupation forces in January 1946, the 42nd Bombardment Group(Medium) was inactivated on May 10 of the same year.
The designation of Loring AFB, Limestone Army Air Field 15 April 1947-5 June 1950
15 April 1947 Designation of Strategic Air Command
On February 25, 1953, the 42nd Bombardment Wing (Heavy) was reactivated at Limestone(later Loring) Air Force Base, Maine with B-36 Peacemaker bombers assigned. The 42nd Air Refueling Squadron joined the wing in early 1955 with propeller-driven KC-97 tankers. On June 16, 1956, the first B-52 C assigned to the 42nd arrived at Loring. The aircraft is christened “The State Of Maine.” The final B-36 bomber left Loring in September 1956. In November of 1956, three Loring B-52Cs made a record non-stop flight over the North Pole and around the perimeter of the North American continent. In January 1957, the wing converted to the B-52D and in March, the 42nd ARS received Loring’s first KC-135 Stratotanker. Wing aircrews and aircraft were placed on alert in July of 1958 due to tensions in Lebanon. The more versatile B-52Gs replaced the “D” models and increased the range and payload capabilities of the wing in May of 1959. Limestone Air Force Base 5 June 1950- 1 October 1954
The wing was on alert in August and December of 1961 and supported Hard Head VI airborne alert operations in the spring of 1964. Also in 1964, the 42nd ARS received the General Saunders Trophy as the best tanker squadron in SAC. In 1965, the 42nd ARS began support for Young Tiger operations in Southeast. In July of 1968, the 407 th ARS arrived from Homestead AFB, Florida, doubling the wing’s refueling capability.
The 1970s began with Loring becoming the first SRAM equipped operational B-52 unit in SAC on August 4, 1972. Many Loring crews participated in the December 1972 Linebacker II bombing campaign in Southeast Asia. One Loring crew’s aircraft was hit by a SAM over North Vietnam. All crew members were safely recovered following bailout over Thailand. On March 2, 1978, the wing learned it had won the SAC “ Omaha” Trophy for 1977.
The wing received its first HARPOON modified aircraft on September 15, 1983. In 1984, the wing became the Air Force’s only primary conventional bomber force. IN October 1988, after 30 years, the wing ended its B-52 24-hour nuclear alert. The first “R” model KC-135 arrived at Loring in May of 1989. In 1981, Loring's bombers were placed on alert after Soviet submarines were spotted off the coast of the region. The base was part of a movie, War Games, listed as the 43rd Bomb Wing, it was still in the movie. 1982 the base was hit by an earthquake that caused damaged to one wing of the "Green Monster" or hospital. It caused crackes to appear on the walls of the control tower as well.
On August 7, 1990, the wing began deploying aircraft, personnel, and equipment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD. During DESERT SHIELD/STORM wing bombers deployed to Diego Garcia flew 960 missions (465 combat ) in 44 days, dropping 12,588,766 pounds of bombs. Loring and other tankers deployed to the same locations off-loaded 31,802,500 pounds of fuel to 648 receivers. In March 1991, resources deployed to the Gulf began their return to Loring. Organizational changes to the wing in 1991 resulted in renaming three existing organizations and activating two new groups and two support squadrons. The wing designation changed to the 42nd Wind under this SAC plan. In 1991, Loring was designated for closure. On October 1, 1991 the 407 ARS was inactivated and on October 3, of the same year, President Bush ordered alert crews to stand down for the first time in Loring’s history. December 1991 saw SAC and Loring stand down all Alert forces and Loring KC-135s ended theier 24-hour alert. One year later, the Air Force redesignated the wing as the 42nd Bomb Wing. In 1993, the wing began to draw down the base in anticipation of it’s scheduled closure in September, 1994. On November 16, 1993, the final B-52G assigned to Loring made its final flight from the base, ending a 40 year bombing mission for the wing. On March 2, 1994, the final KC-135R departed Loring.
Towering above the runway is one of the most prominent structures on base and for miles around – the Arch Hangar. This huge structure of reinforced concrete was designed by Roberts and Schaefer Company of Chicago as a maintenance facility capable of holding two B-36 bombers. This type of concrete facility was new to the New England states although a second, identical structure was being built at the same time in Rapid City, South Dakota, at Ellsworth Air Force Base. At the time of completion these two hangars were the largest monolithic arch roof structures ever erected in the country.
The design of the Arch Hangar met the military’s requirements for an unobstructed space of 340 by 300 feet and provided maximum fire resistance and minimum cost. Using reinforced concrete in the construction of this structure was the most economical method because the formwork could be effectively reused in pouring the arches. Designers also hoped that the same equipment could be used in building other arch hangars on base. For these reasons, the design was approved despite what was then considered minor penalties in increased costs for heating and lighting; now the hangar’s main disadvantage.
Activation of the 42nd Bomb Wing
On February 25, 1958, SAC Headquarters activated the 42nd Bombardment Wing, Heavy, located at Limestone AFB, Maine, and assigned the wing to 8 th AF Headquarters. Colonel Ramputi assumed command of the 42's Bomb Wing, becoming its first wing commander. Lt Colonel William W. Pannis became the 42nd Air Base Group Commander. Interestingly, this important change in status at Limestone went almost unnoticed by its assigned personnel for two reasons. First, the change has little immediate effect on their daily routines. Second, the unit had its hands full with the largest B-36 maneuver ever conducted at Limestone up to that time. On February 18, a task force of 26 B-36's had arrived from Carswell AFB, Texas. Assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing, the bombers flew several training missions during their 10 day stay. It seems most appropriate that such a large contingency of B-36's was present during the activation of a new B-36 wing.
LAST AIRMAN ON LORING
Loring’s last Airman was AIC Hattie Douglas. She stepped off the plane in Presque Isle Maine on November 1, 1993, at 11pm. Upon arrival to Presque Isle, A1C Douglas was greeted with the first northern Maine blizzard of the year and 27 degrees. Douglas was a relocation technician with the personnel flight. She had assisted in closing down Bergstrom AFB in Texas. She was the final participant of the Right Start Program on Loring. This program acclimated Loring people to the base and the surrounding area.
Last Squadron Deactivated
The Loring Fire Department was the last department deactivated. As it swung into civilian life it maintained the name Loring Fire Department. In 2016 the Loring Military Heritage Center held a deactivation ceremony to honor the closing of the department. It was closed the work load shifted to the Limestone FD. The flag was removed from the wall of the Center, marched to the front of it by members of the former department and chiefs. It was given to the Center and now proudly hangs there.
LORING A.F.B. MAINE 1953-1994