The Eglin Air Force Base is located in Florida, just three miles southwest from Valparaiso, Florida. The 96th Test Wing is the host unit at Eglin and the base is also home of the Air Force Test Center. This base is key because it is the center for all of the development and testing of Air Force weapons. All of the weapons which are delivered through the air are planned here through use of the 46th Test Wing, the 308th Armament Systems Wing, and the 96th Air Base Wing. As of 2000, there were over 8,000 people living on the base, with over 2,359 family units. There are also seven dormitories where the unmarried Air Force members live. With over 463,000 acres making up the base, it is acts as a small town.
There are several major units which are headquartered at the base. There is the Air Armament Center, the 46th Test Wing, the 96th Air Base Wing, the 33rd Wing, and more. The Air Armament Center is responsible for planning and testing weapons which are used by the Air Force. It not only provides support to Eglin, but also to the Kirtland Air Force Base located in New Mexico. The 46th Test Wing is responsible for testing air-delivered weapons as well as the guidance systems used by the Air Force. This is able to be accomplished because the base is able to use 130,000 square miles of airspace over the water to test and develop their weapons. The 96th Air Base Wing provides support in the areas of engineering, computer, medical, and security to the other units. The 33rd Wing not only focuses on weapons testing, but on chemical defense, electronic warfare systems, and aircrew training systems.
The base at Eglin began with the Valparaiso Airport which was built in 1933. Since 1931, however, the Air Force was interested in this property due to the sparse population of the area. They saw it as a good location for a gunnery and bombing range. When World War II began, the need for a base at this location became even more apparent. In 1940, the U.S. Forestry gave land to the War Department so that they could develop a military base. The base grew quickly and during the war had approximately 1,000 officers, 4,000 civilians, and 10,000 enlisted members at the base.
When the war was over, the focus of Eglin shifted to the development of air-delivered weapons. Missiles were tested and in 1946, the 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Group was started. More and more units were added in order to house the headquarters of these weapon development centers, making the base what it is today. In 1962, the USAF Special Air Warfare Center was set up to focus on short-term projects. In 1963, the USAF Tactical Warfare Center began. The base also served to house refugees from the Vietnam War. Over 10,000 refugees went through the base during this time as it was one of the four main processing centers in the country.
Today, Eglin has schools, banks, lodging, houses, shopping, entertainment, churches, and more, everything families and individuals need. The breakdown of population shows that out of the 2,302 households, approximately 80% had children under the age of 18 and 90% of the households were married couples. Only 5% of households were a female with no husband present and 1.7% were non-families. Almost 45% of the population was under the age of 18, 15% is between the ages of 18 and 24, and 40% is between 25 and 44. For more information about this Air Force Base or to seek legal assistance regarding a criminal accusation, you can contact our team at The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service.
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