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Altus Air Force Base

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Title: Altus Air Force Base  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of United States Air Force air refueling squadrons, 55th Air Refueling Squadron, 97th Air Mobility Wing, 97th Operations Group, 12th Flying Training Wing
Collection: 1942 Establishments in Oklahoma, Airfields of the United States Army Air Forces in Oklahoma, American Theater of World War II, Bases of the United States Air Force, Buildings and Structures in Jackson County, Oklahoma, Military Facilities in Oklahoma, Post-World War II Aircraft Storage Facilities, Reconstruction Finance Corporation Disposal Facilities, Strategic Air Command Military Installations, Usaaf Central Flying Training Command
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Altus Air Force Base

Altus Air Force Base
Part of Air Education and Training Command (AETC)
Located near: Altus, Oklahoma
Loading a C-17 Globemaster III at Altus AFB
Site information
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Site history
Built 1942
In use 1942 – present
Garrison information


97th Air Mobility Wing
Airfield information
Elevation AMSL 1,382 ft / 421 m
KLTS is located in Oklahoma
Location of Altus Air Force Base
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17R/35L 13,440 4,097 Concrete
17L/35R 9,001 2,744 Asphalt
174/354 3,501 1,067 Asphalt

Altus Air Force Base (AFB) (ICAO: KLTSFAA LID: LTS) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) east-northeast of Altus, Oklahoma.

The host unit at Altus AFB is the 97th Air Mobility Wing (97 AMW), assigned to the Nineteenth Air Force (19 AF) of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The wing's mission is to provide C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker formal initial and advanced specialty training programs for up to 3000 flight crew and aircraft maintenance students annually.

Altus AFB was established in 1943 as Altus Army Airfield (AAF). The 97 AMW commander is Colonel Todd A. Hohn. The Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant James M. Powell III.


  • Overview 1
  • Units 2
  • History 3
    • Postwar era 3.1
    • Cold War 3.2
    • Modern era 3.3
    • Previous names 3.4
    • Major commands to which assigned 3.5
    • Base operating units 3.6
    • Major units assigned 3.7
    • SM-65F Atlas Missile Sites 3.8
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Other sources 6
  • External links 7


Altus AFB, through its host 97 AMW, provides quality training to produce the finest combat-ready aircrew members for the United States Air Force. The wing, in conjunction with its training mission, maintains its instructor force at operational currency so that they, as highly qualified combat-ready aircrew members, can deploy to augment world-wide contingencies. The 97th maintains approximately 500 mobility personnel ready to deploy all over the world in a moments notice in support of national interests.

Altus AFB supports about 2,000 permanent military personnel. Furthermore, about 3,000 military personnel and their families live on base and a large number of military personnel and their families live off base. The surrounding community has about 1,000 military retirees who depend on base facilities. The base provides direct employment for about 2,500 civilian personnel.


The 97 AMW consists of the following major units:

  • 97th Operations Group
Plans and executes C-17 and KC-135 formal school, initial and advanced specialty training programs for up to 3000 students annually. Sustains C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker airland, airdrop and air refueling mobility forces, providing global reach for combat and contingency operations. Provides air traffic control and weather forecasting for flying operations.
97th Operations Support Squadron
97th Training Squadron
54th Air Refueling Squadron (KC-135R)
55th Air Refueling Squadron (KC-135R)
58th Airlift Squadron (C-17A)
  • 97th Mission Support Group
Provides mission, infrastructure, and community quality of life support for personnel and all assigned organizations on Altus AFB. Supports worldwide USAF taskings with deployment ready personnel and equipment.
97th Logistics Readiness Squadron
97th Security Forces Squadron
  • 97th Maintenance Directorate
Provides maintenance and support to all assigned aircraft and provides the same maintenance support to transient aircraft, engines and associated ground equipment. To provide backshop support to all three aircraft while continuously improving environmental awareness and effectively managing maintenance resources, allowing the 97th Air Mobility Wing to perform its aircrew training mission.
  • 97th Medical Group
Ensures maximum wartime readiness and combat capability by promoting the health, safety and morale of active duty personnel. Staffs, trains, mobilizes and provides medical services in support of contingency operations worldwide. Develops and operates a prevention-oriented, cost-effective managed healthcare system for over 9,500 people.


Postwar era

Between 1945 and 1953 Altus would serve as a scrap yard for hundreds of World War II era military aircraft. In 1945 the famous B-17F "Memphis Belle" was discovered at Altus awaiting disposal. The aircraft was saved and transferred to the city of Memphis, Tennessee where it was displayed until 2005, when it was relocated to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB Ohio.

Cold War

The base would only sit idle for a few years. The onset of the Korean War in June 1950 created the need for more men to fly and service aircraft. During the early years of the conflict, many World War II airfields were examined for reactivation. On 1 August 1953, Altus Air Force Base was reactivated as a training base for transport aircraft. The C-47 "Skytrain" and the C-45 "Expediter" were the main aircraft assigned to the base, run briefly by the 63d Troop Carrier Wing from 8 January until 15 October 1953 under the watch of the Tactical Air Command (TAC). During the 1950s, the base would undergo many changes and would change hands from TAC to the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Later that year, on 18 November, the 96th Bombardment Wing, Medium, (96 BMW) would arrive and begin operations with three bomber squadrons and one air refueling squadron. The squadrons eventually flew the first all jet-engined bomber, the B-47 Stratojet and the KC-97 Stratofreighter, a dual-purpose cargo and air-refueling aircraft. By the end of the decade, both of these aircraft would be replaced by aircraft still in the Air Force inventory, the KC-135 Stratotanker and the B-52 Stratofortress. The KC-135 was the first all jet-engined air-refueling aircraft and the B-52 still remains the backbone of the USAF bomber fleet. When the 96th BW moved to Dyess AFB, Texas, the 11th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) activated and stood on alert during the Cold War. As the base moved into the 1960s, more changes would occur.

June 1961 witnessed the activation of twelve Atlas “F” intercontinental ballistic missile sites within a 40-mile radius of the base. Controlled by the 577th Strategic Missile Squadron, the missiles sat inside a silo, constructed underground with a launch facility, and manned around the clock. The missile silos became operational on 10 October 1962, but the activation would be short-lived. By April 1965, the Atlas missile would be outdated and was phased out of the national strategic defense plan.

In August 1966, the C-141 Starlifter and its newest and largest transport aircraft, the C-5 Galaxy. Again, Oklahoma proved to be well suited for the mission. The Military Airlift Command (MAC) assumed command of the base from SAC and activated the 443d Military Airlift Wing (443 MAW), Training, to assume host wing responsibilities and to fly alongside the SAC aircraft that would become a tenant command at Altus.

By the start of the 1970s, Altus AFB would have three aircraft type/models assigned: KC-135s, C-141s, and C-5s. For the KC-135 aircraft at Altus still under SAC's control, the USAF activated the 340th Air Refueling Wing, which continued to operate the base's KC-135s.

Modern era

The post Cold War environment would bring many changes to Altus AFB. On 1 June 1992, the Air Force reorganized and the 97th Air Mobility Wing (97 AMW), arrived at Altus without personnel or equipment, having formerly been designated as SAC's 97th Bombardment Wing and being transferred from the deactivating Eaker AFB, Arkansas as a result of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action. The 97 AMW was tasked with flight crew formal training unit (FTU) responsibilities for the C-141 and C-5 aircrew, and with the closure of Castle AFB, California due to BRAC action, concurrently assumed FTU responsibilities for KC-135E/R/T flight crews. On 1 July 1993, the 97th was transferred from AMC to the newly established Air Education and Training Command (AETC) as part of a USAF initiative to move most FTU activities to AETC.

More changes were on the horizon. In 1996, the latest addition to Altus AFB, the new C-17 Globemaster III, arrived. Even before its arrival, the base began training pilots and loadmasters to operate and fly the aircraft.

In August 2002, the mission of the wing grew when the Air Force moved the basic loadmaster course from

The 97 AMW discontinued FTU responsibilities for the C-141 concurrent with that aircraft's retirement from the USAF inventory in 2006. On 1 July 2007, the Air Force Reserve Command's (AFRC) 433d Airlift Wing (433 AW) at Lackland AFB/Kelly Field assumed responsibility for all flying training and academic training for the C-5 aircraft for all Active Duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard (ANG) aircrews, leaving the 97 AMW and Altus to concentrate on C-17 and KC-135 training for AMC, AFRC and ANG aircrews.[2]

Previous names

  • Established on 17 June 1942 as: AAF Advanced Flying School, Altus, Oklahoma
  • Altus Army Airfield, 8 April 1943
  • AAF Pilot School (Advanced TE), Altus Army Airfield, 6 August 1943 – 23 April 1946
  • Inactivated 23 April 1946 – 3 March 1953
  • Altus Air Force Base, 3 March 1953–present

Major commands to which assigned

Base operating units

Major units assigned

SM-65F Atlas Missile Sites

SM-65F Atlas Missile silos

The 577th Strategic Missile Squadron operated twelve missile sites, of one missile at each site.

  • 577–1 2.2 mi NNE of Lugert, OK
  • 577–2 3.8 mi SSE of Cambridge, OK
  • 577–3 0.8 mi SE of Mountain Park, OK
  • 577–4 2.1 mi WSW of Cache, OK
  • 577–5 4.0 mi NNE of Manitou, OK
  • 577–6 2.2 mi NNE of Frederick, OK*
  • 577–7 4.8 mi SE of Ranchland, TX
  • 577–8 0.6 mi NE of Creta, OK
  • 577–9 3.7 mi NNW of Gould, OK
  • 577–10 6.2 mi SW of Mangum, OK
  • 577–11 1.0 mi NE of Willow, OK
  • 577–12 2.7 mi WSW of Granite, OK

Note: *The missile at this site exploded in May 1964

See also


  1. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for LTS (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2009-07-02.
  2. ^

Other sources

  •  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
  •  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Altus Air Force Base".
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1961 (republished 1983, Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-02-1).
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Mueller, Robert, Air Force Bases Volume I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982, Office of Air Force History, 1989
  • Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
  • Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC
  • Altus AFB Website

External links

  • Altus Air Force Base, Official Site
  • Altus Force Support, Official Site for the Force Support Squadron
  • Altus AFB Installation Overview from
  • Altus Air Force Base at
  • Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture – Altus Air Force Base
  • FAA Airport Diagram for LTS (PDF), effective June 23, 2016
  • FAA Terminal Procedures for LTS, effective June 23, 2016
  • Resources for this U.S. military airport:
    • FAA airport information for LTS
    • AirNav airport information for KLTS
    • ASN accident history for LTS
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart for KLTS
  • Altus AFB Installation Overview, map and data points at
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