Established in 1941, Fort Worth Army Air Field began as Tarrant Field Airdrome and was known by several names such as Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base following the Base Realignment and Closure in 1993. This recommendation relocated the NAS Dallas and its tenant commands to the 2,300-acre site within Fort Worth City Limits and now serves in training and equipping air crews and aviation ground support personnel.
The multi-named military site began in 1941 as a factory for
B-24 bombers. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, construction of an air
force base on the east side of the landing field known as Tarrant Field was authorized
and the Army Air Forces Flying Training Command took the assignment in 1942. During
this time, the site was known as Tarrant Field Airdrome and became one of the
first B-24 transition schools, training over 4,000 students before changing its
mission to B-32 transition.
In May 1943, Tarrant Field Airdrome became Fort Worth Army
Air Field, but its mission remained unchanged until 1945, when it began
training for B-29 aircraft. March of the following year saw Strategic Air Command
assigned to the base. 1948 brought another name change to the base, becoming
Fort Worth Air Force Base in January, and the first B-36 was delivered to the
Seventh Bomb Wing at the base in June. Carswell Air Force Base, named for Major
Horace S. Carswell, Jr., became the name of the base until 1993.
Carswell AFB set a major milestone in February 1949 when the
B-50 took off for the first non-stop flight around the world. The circumnavigation
took 94 hours and one minute and covered 23,108 miles. A decade later, the Seventh
Bomb Wing went into operation with the B-52 and KC-135. Over the second half of
1965, the Seventh Bomb Wing flew over 1300 missions over Vietnam before
returning to the base in December. The 1980s brought new weapons systems, such
as the B-52H modified aircraft and cruise missiles. Carswell was the largest
unit of its kind in Strategic Air Command by 1984.
1991 saw deployments from Carswell Air Force Base of personnel
and recruits to Operation Desert Storm before it was slated for closure by the
Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The base officially closed on September
30, 1993 but was established as an active Naval Air Reserve Base under the 301st
Fighter wing the following day. After Naval air stations at Dallas, Glenview,
and Memphis relocated, joint reserve operations were implemented and the base
was renamed Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth on October 1, 1994,
becoming the first Joint Reserve Base in the United States. Navy, Marine Corps,
and Air Force reserve units, as well as the assigned F-16 fighter aircraft, are
all hosted at the base.