Scott Field was established on June 14, 1917. It is named after Corporal Frank Scott, the first enlisted person killed in an aviation crash. It is the only Air Force installation named after an enlisted Airman. The decision to name the aviation site after Corporal Scott is a lasting tribute to those who lost their lives during the early years of the military aviation.
Scott Field was one of the first aviation stations built as part of the nation’s World War I effort. The 11th and 21st Aero Squadrons of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service arrived from Kelly Field, Texas, on Aug. 12, 1917.
On Aug. 24, 1918, an aviator with a broken leg became Scott’s first air evacuated patient. This early aeromedical evacuation mission was just the beginning of what would eventually become a primary role for Scott.
In 1921, the Secretary of War authorized building a lighter-than-air (LTA) station on Scott Field. With approval, and $1.25 million in funding, the Air Service set about making Scott Field into the first inland airship port in the nation.
Scott Field needed many new facilities to accommodate its new balloon/airship mission. The most notable addition was the new airship hangar. Constructed between Sept. 1921 and Jan. 1923, it was three blocks long, nearly one block wide and 15 stories high. One report commented that 100,000 men — nearly the entire U.S. Army in 1923 — could have stood in formation inside it. Scott’s hangar was second in size only to the naval station hangar in Lake-hurst, N.J., the largest one in the world at the time.
With the outbreak of World War II, Scott Field reverted back to its former role as a training installation. On June 1, 1939, one of Scott’s Balloon Groups was redesignated as a headquarters unit of the Scott Field Branch of the Army Air Corps Technical Schools. Subsequently, various technical schools moved to Scott. The arrival of the Radio School on Sept. 19, 1940, marked the beginning of Scott Field’s communication training-era. On Jan. 13, 1948, Scott Field was redesignated as Scott Air Force Base.
Scott has gone through many, many changes over the years, in size, infrastructure, and mission. Today, Scott AFB supports; U.S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Air Force Network Integration Center, Defense Systems Information Agency CONUS, Eighteenth Air Force, 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center, 375th Air Mobility Wing, 635th Supply Chain Management Wing, 126th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), 932nd Airlift Wing (AFRC) and more than 50 other associate partners. Together, they make up Team Scott–one team cooperating to enable combat power for our Air Force and its combatant commanders!
– Compiled by the 375th Air Mobility Wing Historian Office