Bergstrom Air Force Base

By: Art Leatherwood

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

Bergstrom Air Force Base, on State Highway 71 seven miles east of Austin in Travis County, was activated on September 19, 1942, as Del Valle Army Air Base. It was constructed in the summer of 1942 on 3,000 acres leased from the city of Austin. The Chisholm Trail ran through the tract. The name of the base was changed to Bergstrom Army Air Field on March 3, 1943, in honor of Capt. John A. E. Bergstrom, who was killed at Clark Field, Philippine Islands, on December 8, 1941. He was the first Austinite killed in World War II. The base was renamed Bergstrom Field on November 11, 1943, and became Bergstrom Air Force Base in December 1948. Initially, Bergstrom was the home of troop-carrier units. It was declared a permanent base after World War II and was at various times assigned to the Strategic Air Command and the Tactical Air Command. After July 1966 it was under the control of the Tactical Air Command and housed the headquarters for the Twelfth Air Force, which was responsible for all Tactical Air Command reconnaissance, fighter, and airlift operations west of the Mississippi River. The economic contribution of the base in fiscal 1989 on a fifty-mile radius was estimated to be $343 million and on Central Texas, $533 million. On September 30, 1993, Bergstrom was officially closed. That year voters approved a bond issue for the construction of an Austin airport at the base.

Air Force Bases: A Directory of U.S. Air Force Installations both in the Continental U.S. and Overseas, with Useful Information on Each Base and Its Nearby Community (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole, 1965). Robert Mueller, Air Force Bases, Vol. 1: Active Air Force Bases within the United States of America on 17 September 1982 (Washington: Office of Air Force History, 1989).
Time Periods:
  • World War II

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Art Leatherwood, “Bergstrom Air Force Base,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 02, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994