Buckley AFB, CO HistoryWhat is now Buckley AFB started as Buckley Field, named for 1st Lt. John Harold Buckley, a World War One fighter pilot killed in combat on a strafing mission behind enemy lines on the Western Front in France. The city of Denver purchased the land and donated it to the Army in the early years of World War Two. The Army quickly established a large US Army Air Force base, training over fifty thousand airmen through basic, and housing a technical training center for bombardier and armorer roles.
After World War Two, Buckley became an auxiliary field for Lowry AFB, then became an Air National Guard Field, and then a Navy air station in the space of three years. Buckley was renamed Naval Air Station Denver until the base was transferred to the US Air Force in 1959, when it became Buckley Air Force Base for a year, before become Buckley Air National Guard Base, the first stand-alone Air National Guard Base, home of the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The 120th mobilized for operations from the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and Operations Desert Storm, Northern Watch, and Iraqi Freedom.
Buckley returned to Air Force service in 2000, and saw a wave of modernization in commissary, dormitory, and housing facilities, a base exchange, and an expansion of mission facilities. Buckley became the base for what is now the 460th Space Wing in 2001, and continues to house and host the Colorado Air National Guard 120th Fighter Squadron, the Air Mobility Command's 200th Airlift Squadron, the 137th Space Warning Squadron, and the 240th Civil Engineering Flight.