Torrejon Air Base
3970TH COMBAT SUPPORT GROUP
Torrejon De Ardoz, Spain
Torrejon Welcome Booklet
3970th CSG Emblem
USAF Hospital Torrejon
1961 Madrid B Flight CDF
Richard W. Thomson 2nd from the right in the first row.
Flight Commander SSGT Lloyd Pedesclaux far left standing with sunglasses
1961 Madrid C Flight CDF
Submitted by Ernest Santos
Kneeling first row: SSgt Blackwell, AlC Coleman, A2C Smith, A2C Weirzbicki, A3C Miller,
A2C Dean, A2C Hicks, A2C Foose, A2C Cunningham.
Middle Row: Flt Chief SSgt Estenson, AlC Hubbard, A2C Walker, A2C Inaone, A3C Sink,
A2C Shevock, A3C Creedon, A3C Czyzwski (Ski), AB Johnson.
Back row: AlC Forbis, A2C Homan, A2C Coffelt, A2c Andrews, A2C Atkins, A2C Morris,
A3C Shafer, A2C Horinka and Ernest Santos.
Prince Juan Carlos
Prince Juan Carlos
Prince Juan Carlos, Princess Sofia
Mr. Tukan, Mrs. Tukan
Prince and Princess of Spain
greeting King Hussein
Lt Gen Speaking
Fine Dining Menu
Torrejon AB 1959
BX Area Torrejon
Matchbook Hotel Balboa
Former USAF Hotel Madrid, Hotel Balboa Taken May 2010
This is and was our ration card in order to prevent excessive purchases of booze,
cigarettes, tea, coffee, and gasoline.
We each were rationed and when you made those
purchases the BX would cross one off.
Chow Hall Card
Swim Team 1962
AB Movie Schedule 1963
Mess BX and Hospital
Photo Credit: Sidney P. Beck CMSGT Ret. - Stationed at both Nouasseur and Moron from 1962 to 1965
Torrejon AB Chapel
Torrejon AB NCO Club
Madrid - the biggest city near Torrejon
Location: 20 miles NNE of Madrid
Date of Current Name: 15 Dec 55
Previous Names: Aeropuerto de Torrejon
Date of Establishment: 1 Jun 57
Date Construction Began: 27 Sep 53
Date of Beneficial Occupancy: 1 Jul 56
Base Operating Units: 1 Jul 56 - 1 Jul 57 7600 ABGp
Sep 57 - 1 Jun 59 3970 ABGp
1 Jun 59 - 1 Jun 64 redesignated as 3970 CSGp
1 Jun 64 - Jun 66 redesignated as 3970 Strat Wg
15 Apr 66 - 4 May 92 401 CSGp
4 May 92 - 1 Oct 94 600 ABGp
Major Units Assigned: 8 Jan 57 - 1 Jan 65 871 AC&W Sq
15 Sep 57 - 1 Jul 71 21 Wea Sq
1 Oct 57 - 1 Jan 65 65 AD
4 Oct 57 - 30 Sep 92 1989 AACS Sq
redesignated 1989 Comm Sq
redesignated 1989 Comm Gp
1 Feb 58 - 10 Aug 92 16 AF
21 Jun 58 - 18 Jun 64 497 FIS F-86, F-102
1 Mar 60 - 7 Jan 71 Spanish Comm Region (ECD)
8 Jan 66 - 96? 625th Military Airlift Support Group (MAC)
redesignated Det 1 625 AMSS (MAC)
27 Apr 66 - 4 May 92 401 TFW F-100, F-4, F-16
25 Jun 66 - 31 Dec 76 98 Strat Wg KC-135
8 Jan 71 - 30 Jun 72 Mediterranean Comm Region
1 Apr 83 - 1 Oct 84 2186 Comm Sq
1 Oct 84 - 1 Nov 86 redesignated 2186 ISS
1 Nov 86 - 92 redesignated 2186 Comm Sq
15 Jan 84 - 4 May 92 7116 Tac Control Flt
Disposition: Returned 30 Jun 98
26 May 2000
Approval for US bases in Spain came as part of the Defense Agreement of 26 Sep 53.
In return for basing rights, the US agreed to provide Spain with an air defense force.
Built primarily for SAC bombers, Torrejon was one of three bases built in Spain.
The test and development center of the Spanish Air Force was located about 20 miles NE
of Madrid and the site was chosen for the base. Construction was carefully planned,
took over 4 years. Torrejon was activated on 1 Jun 57 and was ready for B-47s by
Sep 57, however, Spanish officials were concerned about conflicting air traffic
between the base and Madridís airport (a persistent problem for Torrejon) and the
base was not opened for flying until 1958.
SAC reflux operations began in Apr 58 and B-47 bomber units rotated through the base.
The 497 FIS , a SAC unit operating F-86s and later F-102s was assigned to Torrejon
in 1958 to provide air defense. The agreements between SAC & USAFE & the different
countries were complex, constantly changing and sometimes inconsistent. USAFE
provided air defense units for Morocco but SAC provided them for Spain. In an
attempt to streamline operations 16AF was reassigned from HQ USAF to SAC along
with the recently created 65 AD in July 57. However, in Jul 1960 the 65AD was
transferred to USAFE and in Apr 66 Hq 16AF was assigned to USAFE and the 401TFW
came to Torrejon.
Project Clear Water was a series of reductions in the 60s of overseas bases and
manpower. It effectively ended SAC operations in Spain. The interceptor squadron
left Torrejon in 1964 and SAC ceased reflux operations in Mar 65 but retained the
KC-135 wing at Torrejon until it moved to RAF Mildenhall in Jan 76.
The host unit at Torrejon became the 401 TFW however the Spanish Air Force retained
ownership of the base and had an active wing there. The 401 TFW had three squadrons
flying F-100s, then F-4 and then F-16s. The 625 MAS handled MAC traffic and passenger
service and Torrejon became the main terminal for the Mediterranean area after French
bases were closed in 67. The 1989 Comm Gp maintained a nationwide net of 8 comm sites
and provided air traffic control and comm support. In Jan 88 the US and Spain signed a
new agreement on Defense cooperation which required the 401 TFW to leave Spain by May 92.
Studies began on finding an alternative base for the unit.
During the Gulf War the 401TFW sent a squadron to Qatar and one to Incirlik to support
Allied operations. Torrejon Air Base supported 10,000 MAC sorties carrying 85,000 troops
and 130,000 tons of cargo through the base to the Gulf. Torrejon handled 80 percent of
the airlift missions. During the buildup and war, the base pumped 200 million gallons
of fuel to transiting aircraft.
During 1992, USAFE withdrew most of its forces from Spain. the 401st began inactivating
its squadrons and redeploying aircraft to other USAFE bases and to the US in July 1991.
The last F-16 aircraft left Torrejon on 24 March, ending 26 years of Air Force fighter
presence in Spain. On 4 May, in formal ceremonies, the 401st transferred to Aviano
without personnel or equipment. Headquarters Sixteenth Air Force also moved to Aviano AB
from Torrejon during 1992.
Torrejon AB drew down quickly once the fighter squadrons inactivated and by early April,
the base was a virtual ghost town. Air Force base operations closed on 1 Apr 92 and
thereafter USAFE air traffic control information was given only in Spanish. Throughout
the spring and summer, the Air Force continued to turn over buildings and facilities to
the Spanish Air Force. The 600ABGp was activated on 4 May 92 to continue the drawdown
and support the remaining personnel. The 1989th Communications Wing inactivated on
30 Sep 92.
After the inactivation of the 600th Air Base Group on 1 Oct 94, the only permanently
stationed US personnel at Torrejon were 10 members of Air Mobility Command plus five
local nationals to provide a limited enroute capability for airlift operations which
would soon move to Rota NAS, Spain.
The runway and taxiways at Torrejon had been heavily damaged by US transport aircraft
during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991. In 1993, USAFE returned the runway and taxiways
to the Spanish Air Force without a US commitment or Spanish request for repair or
restoration. But without repair, they would continue to deteriorate and would
eventually become unusable for USAF contingency requirements. In June 1994 a joint
agreement was signed and repairs were made. These repairs would keep the runway
operable at least through 1997, when the current Agreement on Defense Cooperation
with Spain expired . On 20 Feb 97 Air Mobility Command concluded that Torrejon was
no longer needed as an enroute support base.
The base was officially returned to the Spanish Air Force on 30 Jun 98 and remains
an active Spanish Air Force base.
Airforce Map of Madrid
Slide Show of Early Madrid.
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