Exploring the History and Mission of Davis Monthan AFB: A Closer Look at Arizona’s Military Base

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Exploring the History and Mission of Davis Monthan AFB: A Closer Look at Arizona’s Military Base

Davis Monthan Air Force Base, located in Tucson, Arizona, is a key strategic military installation with a rich history and an important mission. From its beginnings as a civilian airfield to its current role as a hub for military operations, Davis Monthan AFB has played a significant role in shaping the defense landscape of the United States. In this article, we will delve into the history and mission of Davis Monthan AFB, highlighting its contributions to national security and the local community.

History of Davis Monthan AFB

Davis Monthan AFB has its origins in the early 20th century when it was established as a municipal airport in Tucson. In 1925, the city of Tucson purchased the land and named it Tucson Municipal Airport. However, as tensions rose in Europe leading up to World War II, the United States recognized the need for military preparedness and began expanding its military infrastructure.

In 1927, the War Department established a regular presence at the airfield, and in 1940 it was officially named Davis-Monthan Field in honor of two World War I pilots—Samuel H. Davis and Oscar Monthan—who died in separate military aviation accidents. The base saw significant growth during World War II as it became a training and bombardment facility for the Army Air Corps. It was during this time that the base began to specialize in aircraft maintenance and storage, a role that would become a defining feature of Davis Monthan AFB in the years to come.

Mission of Davis Monthan AFB

Today, Davis Monthan AFB is home to the 355th Wing, which is responsible for providing combat-ready A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and combat support capabilities to the U.S. Air Force. The primary mission of the 355th Wing is to support and execute close air support, forward air control, combat search and rescue, and air interdiction missions.

In addition to its role in supporting combat operations, Davis Monthan AFB is also home to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), commonly known as the “boneyard.” This facility is responsible for the storage, maintenance, and preservation of out-of-service aircraft, making it the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world. The boneyard plays a crucial role in the Air Force’s ability to sustain its fleet and manage its resources effectively.

Community Impact

Aside from its military mission, Davis Monthan AFB has a significant impact on the local community. With more than 10,000 military and civilian personnel working at the base, it is one of the largest employers in southern Arizona. The base also contributes to the local economy through contracts with local businesses and the support of military families who live in the area.

Furthermore, Davis Monthan AFB is actively involved in community outreach and engagement efforts. The base regularly hosts events and open houses to foster positive relationships with the Tucson community and provide insight into its operations. Additionally, it supports various local charities and organizations, demonstrating its commitment to being a good neighbor and contributing to the well-being of the region.


Davis Monthan AFB has a storied history and a vital mission that has shaped its identity as a key military installation in the United States. From its humble beginnings as a civilian airfield to its current role as a leading hub for combat readiness and aircraft maintenance, the base continues to play a critical role in national security. Its impact on the local community further underscores its significance and demonstrates its commitment to being a responsible and engaged member of the Tucson area. As Davis Monthan AFB continues to evolve and adapt to new challenges, its legacy of service and dedication to excellence will undoubtedly remain at the forefront of its mission.


What does Davis Monthan AFB specialize in?

Davis Monthan AFB specializes in aircraft maintenance, storage, and combat support operations, including close air support and combat search and rescue missions.

How does Davis Monthan AFB contribute to the local community?

Davis Monthan AFB contributes to the local community by providing employment opportunities, supporting local businesses through contracts, and engaging in community outreach and philanthropic efforts.

What is the significance of the “boneyard” at Davis Monthan AFB?

The “boneyard” at Davis Monthan AFB is the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world, playing a critical role in the sustainment and management of the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of out-of-service aircraft.

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