Office of Information Services
Head Quarters Continental Air Command
Mitchel Air base, New York
26 October 1955
I. Historical Facts
1. Designation. On July 16, 1918, the installation was named for
Major John Purroy Mitchel who had been Killed in an accident in
Louisiana ten days before. Mitchel, who was an early advocate of
American air power, had served as Mayor of New York. The designation
"Mitchel Field" was officially approved in April, 1919.
2. Historic Role. For over 150 years the area presently occupied by
Mitchel AFB has played an important role in our history. During
the Revolutionary war it was known as the Hempstead Plains and
used as an Army enlistment center. In the War of 1812 and in the
Mexican War it was a training center for Infantry units. During
the Civil War, it was the location of Camp Winfield Scott. In 1898,
in the Spanish-American War, Mitchel's site was known as Camp Black.
During World War I, Camp Mills was located here. Here, on the grounds
familiar to American Servicemen since the days of our minutemen,
trained the Rainbow (42nd)
Division, including the famous Fighting
3. Scene of Famous Flight and Experiments. In October 1923, Mitchel
AFB was the scene of the first airplane jumping contest in the nation.
During the same year, two world's airplane speed records were
established here. In 1924, our air mail service had its inception
in experimental flights begun here. In September 1929, at Mitchel AFB
Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle, then a Lieutenant, made the world's first
4. World War II Era.
a. In 1940 Mitchel AFB was the location of the Air Defense Command, an agency charged with the
development of a system of unified air defense for cities, vital industrial areas, continental bases, and armies
in the field. Later, the First Air Force, located at Mitchel AFB, was given the responsibility for air defense
planning and organization along the eastern seaboard Under its supervision an aircraft system was placed into operation.
b. Mitchel AFB was a major source of supply in initial garrisoning and defense of North Atlantic bases. From here
planning for the air defense of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland was conducted.
c. Antisubmarine patrol missions were carried out in 1942 by Air Force planes based at Mitchel
d. Under the direction of the First Air Force, tactical units were formed at Mitchel AFB trained and sent overseas.
Additionally, thousands of personnel
were processed through the base. Later, after VJ Day, Mitchel AFB was the site of a major
Air Force Separation Center.
5. Post War Uses of Mitchel Air Force Base,
a. In March 1946 Mitchel AFB was designated as the location for the headquarters of the newly formed Air Defense
Command responsible for the air defense of the entire United States as well as for the training of the air reserve
forces. In December 1948, ADC's responsibilities were assumed by the Continental Air Command, also located at Mitchel AFB.
b. In 1949 Mitchel AFB became the location of the headquarters of the First Air Force which has among its other
missions the responsibility for supervising the training of the air reserve in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
c. The 52nd Fighter Wing unit with air defense responsibilities was moved to McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey,
in October 1949.
d. Mitchel has been an important location for the training of Air Force Reserve units and individual Reservists.
at the base are the 514th Troop Carrier Wing (Reserve) and its parent training organization, the 2223d Air Reserve
e. Mitchel AFB has been used for Reserve summer encampments and for Air Explorer (Scout) encampments.
f. In 1954 the 3501st USAF Recruiting Group was organized at Mitchel AFB. It is responsible for all Air Force recruiting
in this area.
g. Mitchel AFB is used as a support base for varied Air Force activities in. the northeast area.
h. As the site of the headquarters of the Continental Air Command and the First Air Force, as well as the location
for several Air Reserve units, Mitchel AFB has become known as the home of the Air Force Reserve." From here
is directed the training of the entire nation's air reserve forces. No contribution to national defense, it may
be added, could be more important. Our Reserve components, said President Eisenhower, might prove to be the "decisive
margin" in the event of another war.
II. Geographic Features
Total acreage of Mitchel Air Force Base 1117 Acres
Land at Mitchel used for flying field (including runways, ramps, grassed area area, etc.) 40.2%
(including administrative, mess halls,
hospitals barracks & quarters, hangars, clubs) 20.1%
Improved grounds (Including personal services facilities
athletic fields, parade grounds, etc.) 11.7 %
Roadways (paved parking areas, courtyards, sewage
disposal, motor pools) 28%
III. MISSIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES of CONAC
At present, over 330,000 officers and airmen come within the purview of Continental Air Command's functional responsibility
From the standpoint of military personnel affected by its mission, CONAC is one of the larger major commands of
the United States Air Force.
Actually, CONAC has a 27-function mission. The two major ones, however, are administration, logistical support
and training of the Air Force Reserve, and supervision of training and inspection of the Air NationaI Guard.
The largest military personnel group thus affected is composed of approximately 250,000 officers and airmen assigned
to the Air Force Reserve. Next is the Air National Guard's over 50,000-man complement. Since members of this vast
manpower pool are residents of the 48 states, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska, CONAC'S responsibility extends beyond
the limits of the continental boundaries.
Charged with responsibility for accomplishment of its extensive Reserve Forces commitments - as well as other elements
of it's mission - is CONAC's comparatively small manpower representation of approximately 23,000 officers and airmen
in the active military service and 7,000 civilian employees.
Other important CONAC responsibilities include: (a) Training and maintaining the Aviation Engineer Force (Army
and Air Force troops responsible for airfield construction in actual emergencies in the continental United States
in a state of operational readiness for deployment, (b) Processing personnel at the two main installations through
which pass thousands of Air Force officers and airmen annually going to and returning from assignment overseas,
(c) Mobilizing units and individuals of the Air force Reserve in the event of war or other emergency (d) Maintaining
Air Force cooperation with the Civil Air Patrol and the extensive Explorer program of the Boy Scouts of America.
To facilitate the performance of its principal mission elements, from its headquarters at Mitchel Air Force Base,
Hempstead, New York. CONAC has delegated regional functional responsibility to four major subordinate command:
the First, Fourth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Air Forces.
IV. MITCHEL AN IDEAL HEADQUARTERS SITE
The Air Force considers Mitchel's current site as the best available location for CONAC Headquarters. It has been
determined to be the best possible location for CONAC to administer and operate Air Force Reserve activities.
Mitchel AFB possesses, among many other assets, the extensive communications facilities which are so vital to the
operation of a major command headquarters. Mitchel has an elaborate communications set-up. Direct tie-lines afford
the base instant communication with the Pentagon. An intricate teletype, radio link, and wireless network makes
possible swift communication with its own units as well as service bases throughout the country and the World.
Few bases boast as complete and efficient communications system as Mitchel. To move such an intricate system would
be terrifically costly.
Mitchel is one of the permanent bases in the USAF complex and plays a vital role in national defense plans. Mitchel's
role in World War II proved its value as a defensive airbase. Undoubtedly it would be used again as a defense site
should hostilities break out.
It's proximity to metropolitan and industrial areas - sure targets in the event of attack - would afford the quickest
possible interception of enemy aircraft in event of air raids.
VI. TRAVEL FACILITIES.
Mitchel's location close akin to New York's complex transportation network, local rail and bus lines, and proximity
to La Guardia and Idlewild airports is a great asset. Were the field to be relocated, a transportation problem
would certainly ensue.
VII. MODERN AIRPORT FACILITIES
Mitchel is a modern airport. Its runways are paved and well lighted. The longest runway stretches over 5700 feet.
Radio range and Ground Control Approach equipment have proven a great flying safety aid not only for the military
but also for private and commercial local air traffic.
VIII. PERMANENT BUILDINGS
The field has many permanent buildings, including a large commissary, restaurants and mess halls, warehouses, fuel storage and ammunition dumps
and hangars. Other facilities include many miles of runways, hangar aprons, and taxi strips.
IX. MOVING COSTS
It has been estimated that the cost of relocating Mitchel's facilities
plus relocation costs would exceed $110,000,000.00.
Relocation of Mitchel would pose a housing problem for for approximately 5000 military and 1000 civilian personnel.
Following is a breakdown of Mitchel family units:
Base proper - officers 59, noncoms 73
Mitchel Manor - officers 262, Noncoms 366 (Built and operated by
Private enterprise )
Mitchel Gardens - Officers 0, Noncoms 196
Santini H.P. - officers 0 noncoms 183
Trailer Park - officers 60
Approximately 1800 families live off base.
XI. BASE HOUSING RENTAL CHARGES -
On base residents, in lieu of housing allowances,
Brigadier General $171.00
Colonel & Lt. Colonel $136.00
Master Sargeants $77.10 to $96.90
(according to dependents)
Mitchel Manor -Airmen from $58.50 to $76.00 depending on number of bedrooms.
Officers from $73.00 to $106.00 depending on number of bedrooms
Mitchel Gardens - Airmen from $60.00 $70.00 depending on number of bedrooms.
Santini Housing Project - $37.00 to $50.00 depending on number of bedrooms.
XII. Mitchel's Flying Safety
Since the end of World War II there have only been five serious
crashes in the Mitchel area causing the loss of eight military and four civilian lives. The four civilian lives
1. Result of F-84 jet aircraft being ferried from Dover, Delaware to Bangor, Maine. No connection with Mitchel
2. Civilian pilot of private plane that crashed into USAF C-46 over Deer Park, Long Island.
3. A magazine and TV writer aboard B-25 that crashed in Uniondale (Under contract to USAF Recruiting Service.).
4. Retired USAF Lt. Colonel, passenger aboard B-25 that crashed in Uniondale.
Mitchel's accident rate compares favorably with that of other bases. The field has won two quarterly flying safety
awards, and one semi-annual flying safety award since June 1954.
There were 172,800 flights between accident fatalities. Over 22,000,000 accident free miles were flown between
Every safety precaution available to the Air Force has been taken at Mitchel. A stringent system of inspections
is in effect. CCA and radar approach control have been installed to increase safety. Traffic altitude has been
raised to 1200 feet in the local area. Pilots have been instructed to make no turns below 1200 feet unless imperative.
Pilots are required to attend monthly scheduled flying safety meetings.
In addition, Mitchel is in the process of installing a crash barrier which will introduce the latest safety device
developed by the Air Force.
XIII. MITCHEL AS AN ECONOMIC FACTOR
Approximately 5.000 military serve and 1800 civilians are employed at Mitchel. This represents a $30,000,000
annual payroll. The military payroll amounts to $24,000,000, while the civilian sum is $6,000,000.
The 1800 civilians would probably lose their jobs if they could not relocate. This on the heels
of the current defense work layoffs taking place on Long Island with the resultant slackening of buying power would
most certainly have a local economic effect.
XIV. FEDERAL SCHOOL AID.
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