The Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth has been called Tarrant Field Airdrome (from 1942 to 1943), Fort Worth Army Air Field (May 1943 until January 1948), Fort Worth Air Force Base (in January 1948), Griffiss Air Force Base (for a few days in January 1948), and Carswell Air Force Base (from 1948 until 1993). The base was named after Maj. Horace S. Carswell, Jr. The site of the base was originally selected in 1941 as a Consolidated Vultee factory for the production of B-24 bombers. A separate contract was let for a landing field, Tarrant Field, to be built to support the aircraft factory. The construction of an air force base on the east side of Tarrant Field was authorized after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and Tarrant Field Airdrome was assigned to the Army Air Forces Flying Training Command in July 1942. The base became one of the first B-24 transition schools to begin operation. After more than 4,000 students were trained in B-24s at the base, its mission was changed to B-32 transition because of the nearness to the Consolidated factory. In 1945 the mission was changed from B-32 to B-29 aircraft training. The base was assigned to the newly formed Strategic Air Command in March of 1946. In June 1948 the first B-36 was delivered to the Seventh Bomb Wing at the base. The six-engine, heavy bomber, later augmented by four jet engines, was phased out beginning in August 1957. In February 1949 the B-50, a later-model B-29, took off from Carswell for the first nonstop flight around the world. After mid-air refueling and 23,108 miles in ninety-four hours and one minute, the Lucky Lady landed at Carswell. The Seventh Bomb Wing became operational with the all-jet B-52 and KC-135 in January 1959. The unit was deployed to Guam in June 1965, flew more than 1,300 missions over Vietnam, and returned to Carswell in December 1965. In the 1980s the base received several new weapons systems, including modified B-52H aircraft and cruise missiles. By 1984 Carswell was the largest unit of its kind in the Strategic Air Command. The base contributed personnel and recruits to Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East in 1991.
In 1991 Carswell Air Force Base was slated for closure by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission, and the facility officially closed on September 30, 1993. On October 1, 1993, Carswell was established as an active Naval Air Reserve Base under the 301st Fighter Wing. Naval air stations at Dallas, Glenview, and Memphis relocated to Carswell, thereby implementing joint reserve operations. On October 1, 1994, the installation was renamed Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth and became the first Joint Service Reserve Base in the United States. The base hosts airlift and fighter/attack units from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force reserves. In 1995 the base provided combat and combat support reservists for peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. By 2002 NAS JRB Fort Worth provided key support in homeland defense efforts and the war on terrorism. The assigned fighter aircraft is the F-16. The facility has a post office under the name of Carswell Base that serves military and civilian personnel. Other amenities in the base community include a library, theater, shop, lake and marina, and various recreational facilities.
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Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 27, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1994
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 15, 2013
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: