Sacramento in Sacramento County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
McClellan Air Force Base
Built under the supervision of the Army Quartermaster Corps, construction of the Sacramento Air Depot began in late 1936. The depot took shape rapidly, and the construction of the runway and most of the facilities was completed by the fall of 1938 at a cost of approximately six million dollars. In 1939 the base was formally named McClellan Field in honor of Major Hezekiah McClellan, an Army test pilot killed in an aircraft accident in 1936.
Looking west, this 1938 photograph shows the depot's supply warehouses and aircraft hangers nearing completion.
During the fall and winter of 1938-1939 workers stocked the depot's fourteen
This photograph, taken in March 1939, shows technicians repairing a Wright Cyclone engine on a B-17 bomber.
The depot's output increased significantly as the war progressed, and its aircraft production lines operated continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During the war the depot repaired P-38, P-39, P-40, P-47, and P-51 fighters, B-17, B-24, B-25, and B-29 bombers; and C-47 and C-54 transports.
In this 1944 photograph, the night shift workers in the foreground are repairing P-39 Airacobras; the production line in the background is for P-40 Warhawks. The production lines were housed in Butler Hangar, now Building 360.
Despite an ever increasing workload, in September 1943 a nationwide manpower shortage prompted the depot to begin releasing its workers to the military and by June 1945 the depot's workforce had shrunk to 11,680. Although new production techniques had actually enabled the depot to increase production by 25 percent during that period, by 1945 the strain of unlimited overtime began to show and workforce efficiently began to decline.
This 1943 photograph shows McClellan maintenance division personnel posing with the first C-47 transport overhauled at the base.
During the mid-1950s, McClellan's aircraft maintenance personnel completed one of the largest aircraft modification programs ever undertaken by the Air Force - the installation of new fire-control systems, automatic pilots and engines in 648 F-86D Sabre jet fighters. Later in the decade the base also overhauled fighters
In this photograph from the early 1950s, workers overhaul B-29 bombers in the Directorate of Maintenance facility in Building 251.
McClellan Air Force Base played a key role in handling the flood of equipment and spare parts needed to support combat operations in Korea. To meet the increased operational demands of the Cold War, and to provide logistics support for the Air Force's increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, during the 1950s McClellan built two huge new warehouses--Buildings 783 and 786--containing 1.5 million square feet of storage space, and also automated many of its supply management functions.
In this picture from the mid-1950s, workers package parts and supplies destined for shipments to Air Force facilities around the world.
During the 1960s McClellan also began supporting the nation's space programs, and also helped maintain the United States missile and air defense radar systems.
In this photograph a technician adjusts an AN/APS-95 airborne search radar in an EC-121 Warning Star aircraft. Based at McClellan, the aircraft belonged to the 552nd Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing.
RAM team duty was difficult often hazardous, and all of the team members were volunteers. Working under primitive conditions, and frequently coming under enemy fire, over a ten-year period Air Force RAM teams repaired over 1,000 aircraft. In June 1965 four McClellan RAM team members--Leon Forcum, John Kilzer, Floyd McKinney and Leo Nelson--were killed during a terrorist attack in Saigon. They were the only McClellan employees ever to be killed
In this June 1965 photograph a McClellan repair team stands in front of an AE-1 Skyraider that they repaired at the Bien Hoa airfield, Republic of Vietnam.
Over the course of the decade the Air Force's famed Century Series aircraft-the F-100 Super Sabre, F-105 Thunderchief, and F-106 Delta Dart-largely disappeared from McClellan's maintenance hangars. They were replaced by the new sweep-wing F-111 fighter-bomber and the rugged A-10 Thunderbolt II, the Air Force aircraft designed expressly for close air support.
In this photograph F-111s undergo repair in Building 251. Each F-111 overhaul took approximately 20,000 labor hours.
To handle the new workloads, during the 1970s the base built several new facilities. Between 1972 and 1979 construction crews completed work on McClellan's industrial Product Facility. Located in Building 243, the facility contained a new hydraulic and pneumatic components repair shop, aircraft component repair facilities, and a plating shop.
Reflecting the expanded scope of McClellan's mission, this photograph shows a technician repairing electrical equipment at one of McClellan's repair shops.
To keep pace with the changing needs of the Air Force, McClellan also developed capabilities in new areas including cutting-edge technologies such as advanced composite materials, fiber optics, and very high-speed integrated circuits.
In this photograph, technicians overhaul an A-7 in Building 360. McClellan began performing A-7 depot maintenance in late 1987, and two years later became
Representative of the base's new capabilities was the nondestructive inspection facility that opened in Building 248 in 1988. The facility used sophisticated robotic X-ray and neutron ray inspection systems to detect hidden structural flaws and corrosion in a variety of military aircraft.
McClellan's ground communications-electronics workload also expanded in size and complexity throughout the decade. One of the systems repaired at the base, the AN/MPS-T1 Electronic Warfare Range System. is pictured above.
McClellan's personnel played a vital role in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War. During the conflict the base worked around-the-clock to accelerate the repair of aircraft, command and control systems, and thousands of commodity items. The base also served as a staging area
Following the Gulf War the Air Force continued to respond to regional conflicts around the globe, including combat operations in the Balkans, and ongoing skirmishes with Irag. Although the pace of Air Force operations increased dramatically throughout the 1990s, its resources did not. Despite the austere environment, throughout the 1990s McClellan continued to meet the operational requirements of the Air Force.
Managed and repaired at McClellan, the A-10 aircraft proved to be devastatingly effective during the Gulf War and in operations over the Balkans. In this photograph an A-10 undergoes analytical condition inspection and repair at McClellan Air Force Base.
Despite the efforts of their allies in the White House and in Congress, McClellan's supporters could not stave off closure. Within weeks of the closure announcement the Air Force began making plans for closing the base and transferring the workload to other facilities. At the same time the Air Force began
The decision to close the base placed new demands on McClellan's work force. In addition to the base's traditional maintenance and repair workload, McClellan's personnel now had to perform the manual tasks necessary to ready the installation for closure.
Starting in 1998, the Air Force began to transfer McClellan's workload to other military and commercial facilities, a process that was scheduled to be completed by October 2000. At the same time the Air Force was preparing to leave, it was also working aggressively to ready the base's facilities and equipment for transfer to the Local Redevelopment Authority.
Although McClellan Air Force Base will cease to exist in July 2001, a number of government organizations will remain on the installation after closure including, the Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, the Defense Microelectronics Activity, and Headquarters of the Defense Commissary Agency's Pacific/Western
1936 - 2001
Over the decades, the evolution of McClellan mirrored the changing requirements of national defense and the rabidly evolving mission of the Air Force. Over the course of more than 60 years the base expanded from 1,100 to nearly 3,000 acres, and the value of its land and facilities grew from $6 million to over $3 billion dollars. McClellan's increasingly sophisticated infrastructure reflected the
McClellan's work force also changed over time. Numbering less than 1,000 in 1939, at the height of World War II employment at the base swelled to nearly 22,000 people. Employment at McClellan remained high throughout the Cold War, and in 1967 it peaked at 26,326 military and civilian personnel.
When viewed against the rapidly changing backdrop of international affairs and military technology, throughout McClellan's long and distinguished history the base's most enduring constant was the dedication of its military and civilian personnel. For 65 years
Location. 38° 39.773′ N, 121° 23.095′ W. Marker is in Sacramento, California, in Sacramento County. Marker is on Arnold Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located in a small park area bordered on the north by McClellan Mall and on the south by Mitchell Street. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3404 McClellan Mall, McClellan CA 95652, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named McClellan Air Force Base (here, next to this marker); Base Headquarters (within shouting distance of this marker); POW/MIA (approx. 0.9 miles away); Walerga Assembly Center (approx. 1.9 miles away); First Transcontinental Railroad (approx. 2.2 miles away); Frank C. Freer (approx. 2.3 miles away); Dr. Alister MacKenzie (approx. 2.3 miles away); Michael “Mac” McDonagh (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sacramento.
Also see . . . History of McClellan Air Force Base. The California State Military Museum gives a detailed history. (Submitted on July 7, 2012.)
Categories. • Air & Space • War, 1st Iraq & Desert Storm • War, Cold • War, Korean • War, Vietnam • War, World II •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 1,155 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. submitted on July 7, 2012, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.