Webb Air Force Base

By: James L. Colwell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: October 1, 1995

Webb Air Force Base was activated as Big Spring Air Force Base on October 1, 1951, on the site of the former Big Spring Army Air Field, a World War II bombardier training school. Brought back into service because of the Korean War, the base was renamed in 1952 to memorialize Lt. James L. Webb, a Big Spring native and World War II combat pilot, who was killed off the Japanese coast in 1949. The original airfield had received its first class of cadets in September 1942. Pilots continued to be trained there until the surrender of Japan, when the cadets who agreed to remain in postwar service were transferred to Midland. The base was declared surplus and reverted to city control in 1945; it served as the Big Spring Municipal Airport for six years. The 3560th Pilot Training Wing (later redesignated the Seventy-eighth Flying Training Wing) was stationed at the base, and instruction of the first class began in April 1952. The base population soon passed the 2,000 mark. By the end of 1968 almost 9,000 pilots had been trained at Webb. In 1956 the 331st Fighter Interceptor Squadron was transferred to Webb from Stewart Air Force Base in New York to defend the southern United States border on air intercept missions. In March 1967 the 331st was redesignated the 4760th Combat Crew Training Squadron and charged with training Jordanian Air Force students. It was inactivated when the Jordanians were recalled because of the war with Israel in the summer of 1967. Webb was also the site of annual summer training for ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) cadets throughout the 1950s and most of the 1960s. In 1977 the end of the Vietnam War meant a decrease in the need for Air Force pilots. Webb was formally deactivated, and the property it had occupied was turned over to the Big Spring Industrial Park.

Harriett Sue Pohl, "Webb Air Force Base," Junior Historian, January 1969. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Time Periods:

  • World War II

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

James L. Colwell, “Webb Air Force Base,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 09, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/webb-air-force-base.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995