Dover Air Force Base is in the “First State” and the center of the Delmarva — Delaware, Maryland and Virginia — Peninsula. The base is 2 miles south of the city of Dover, the capital of Delaware, and close to several major metropolitan areas: Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore and Wilmington, Delaware, are all within a two-hour commute.
The base is home to the 436th Airlift Wing, the “Eagle Wing,” and the 512th Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve associate, the “Liberty Wing.” Together, these two wings make up “Team Dover.”
The 436th Airlift Wing is the active-duty military host unit at Dover and provides command and staff supervision and support functions for assigned airlift, providing worldwide movement of outsized cargo and personnel on scheduled, special assignment, exercise and contingency missions. Dover’s C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft are flown by the Eagle Wing on hundreds of missions throughout the world.
Dover AFB operates the largest and busiest air freight terminal in the Department of Defense and is also home to the Air Mobility Command Museum, which welcomes thousands of visitors each year.
The Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs at Dover AFB is the DOD’s largest joint-service mortuary facility and the only one in the continental United States.
The Dover AFB workforce consists of 6,400 military personnel: 3,900 active-duty personnel, 1,500 reservists and 1,000 civilians. The base also supports approximately 5,100 family members.
Immediately after the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, the newly completed Dover Municipal Airfield was leased to the U.S. Army Air Corps and assigned to the Eastern Defense Command as a coastal patrol base. By Christmas of that year, the 112th Observation Squadron, a federalized Ohio National Guard unit, flew the first missions from the field. During the next 55 years, a variety of flying organizations would call Dover home. Eventually, the base became home to the only all-C-5 wing in Air Mobility Command and the largest, busiest airport facility on the East Coast.
Early in 1942, a construction program began extending the runway and making the airfield suitable for operation of heavy aircraft. In April, the 39th Bombardment Squadron, equipped with B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, conducted anti-submarine patrols. In February 1943, the 39th Bombardment Squadron moved to Fort Dix Army Field, New Jersey, and Dover closed to air traffic until runway construction was complete. The 7,000-foot runway and 29,000 square yards of paved apron was completed in August 1943 and the airfield reopened. The Army Air Forces used Dover as a training base for hundreds of P-47 Thunderbolt fighter pilots. These pilots earned their wings under the watchful eyes of live combat instructors.
In addition to fighter pilot training, the base became a site for the development of air-launched rockets, manned by a special unit of the Air Technical Service Command. The weapons construction and experimentation played a decisive role in the final phase of World War II.
After the war, Dover Army Airfield became a pre-separation processing center until its inactivation. The field reactivated in 1951 and was assigned under the Air Defense Command. The 148th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Pennsylvania National Guard was assigned to Dover and a year later the 80th Air Base Squadron activated, maintained and provided support services for the squadron and three other units.
On April 1, 1952, the Military Air Transport Services assumed command jurisdiction over Dover and the base began its important strategic airlift mission, which it continues to this day. In a little more than a year, four support units of the MATS Atlantic Division set up on the base and became the nucleus that formed the 1607th Air Transport Wing. The wing activated Jan. 1, 1954, and took over host unit responsibility for Dover. MATS was redesignated Military Airlift Command on Jan. 1, 1966. Simultaneously, the 436th Military Airlift Wing replaced the inactivated 1607 Air Transport Wing as host wing for Dover AFB.
436TH AIRLIFT WING
The 436th Airlift Wing, known as the “Eagle Wing,” is the active-duty military host unit at Dover AFB. The wing provides command and staff supervision, as well as support functions, for assigned airlift providing worldwide movement of outsized cargo and personnel on scheduled, special assignment, exercise and contingency airlift missions. The wing is a subordinate of 18th Air Force, headquartered with the Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. The wing consists of operations, maintenance, mission support and medical groups and 14 staff divisions.
Using C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, the wing flies hundreds of missions throughout the world and provides 25 percent of the nation’s strategic airlift capability, projecting global reach to more than 100 countries around the globe.
512TH AIRLIFT WING
The 512th Airlift Wing, also known as the “Liberty Wing,” is a subordinate of 4th Air Force, headquartered at March Air Reserve Base, California, and Air Force Reserve Command, headquartered at Robins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. The wing provides integrated support in the form of aircrews, maintenance, aerial port and allied administrative support, delivering full utilization of the C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III under all conditions, up to and including full mobilization.
AIR FORCE MORTUARY AFFAIRS OPERATIONS
Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations fulfill the nation’s sacred commitment of ensuring dignity, honor and respect to the fallen and care, service and support to their families. A solemn dignified transfer of remains is conducted upon arrival at Dover AFB from the aircraft to a transfer vehicle to honor those who have given their lives in the service of the country. The vehicle then moves the fallen to the Port Mortuary at the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs. Once positively identified, fallen service members are prepared for transport to their final destination as determined by the family.
ARMED FORCES MEDICAL EXAMINER SYSTEM
The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System provides medical-legal services and emerging technologies essential for the readiness, sustainability and survivability of service members. The system provides the DOD and other federal agencies comprehensive forensic investigative services, to include forensic pathology, DNA forensics, forensic toxicology and medical mortality surveillance. The system is not only the single worldwide medical examiner system, but it also supports the entire U.S. federal government.