Yesterday, Castle Air Museum formally known as Castle Air Force Base hosted their annual Open Cockpit Day in Atwater, California.
The Open Cockpit Day is a chance for the general public to get a closer look inside the World War 2 and Cold War Era War Planes. Each plane is staffed with a volunteer who is on hand to give tours of each aircraft.
The Castle Air Museum is open to the public 7 days a week. On an average day the public is allowed access to the indoor museum and is able to view the outside of the aircraft.
To find out more information about the Castle Air Museum check out their website at: www.castleairmuseum.org .
Castle Air Force Base (1941–1995) is a former United States Air Force Strategic Air Command base located northeast of Atwater, northwest of Merced and about 123 miles (198 km) east southeast of San Francisco, California.
The base, located in unincorporated Merced County, was closed after the end of the Cold War in 1995. It is now known as the Castle Airport Aviation and Development Center.
Castle AFB was named in honor of Brigadier General Frederick W. Castle (1908–1944) on 17 January 1946. When on Christmas Eve 1944 near Liege, Belgium, seven Messerschmitts set General Castle’s B-17 Flying Fortress afire, he remained at the controls while his crew bailed out. He bravely refused to release his bombs over territory occupied by friendly forces, and died with the pilot when the aircraft exploded. General Castle received the Medal of Honor posthumously.
The facility was officially renamed Castle Air Force Base on 13 January 1948 as part of the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate military service.
The end of the Cold War brought many changes to the Air Force, and Castle AFB was selected for closure under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 during Round II Base Closure Commission deliberations (BRAC 91).
On 1 June 1992 the 93d was relieved from assignment to SAC and was reassigned to the newly-formed Air Combat Command (ACC). It was then redesignated as the 93d Bomb Wing and its B-52G aircraft given the ACC tail code of “CA” and carried blue tail stripes. The 328d Bomb Squadron was inactivated 3 May 1994, and the wing was placed on non-operational status.
However, the 93d continued to supervise the closure of Castle AFB. The 93d Bomb Wing was inactivated on 30 September 1995 with the closure of Castle AFB.
Just four months later, however, it was redesignated as the 93d Air Control Wing and was reactivated at Robins AFB, Georgia on 29 January 1996. It was equipped with the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) and it accepted its first production aircraft on 11 June 1996.
As of 2008, local government plans to convert the dormant facility to civilian commercial use has become an active political issue. It has been identified as the preferred location for the central maintenance facility of the proposed California High-Speed Rail system.
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