West Texas Nostalgia: When Webb Air Force Base Was Open in Big Spring
Since I was born in Big Spring, I remember back when I was a kid and various trips to the doctor passing by the HUGE fences that surrounded Webb AFB and how exciting it was to get to see planes take off from the base. Nostalgic photos from Webb AFB below.
Because of a cut in defense spending back during the Carter Administration, the life of Webb AFB was squashed and the base was officially deactivated on September 30, 1977, and the base was turned over to the City of Big Spring.
But Webb AFB got its beginnings as an Army Air Forces Bombardier School built to train pilots for combat in World War II and officially activated on May 15, 1942, just 6 months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor which plunged the United States into WWII.
The site became Big Spring Air Force Base on October 1, 1951, and was renamed Webb Air Force Base a year later on May 18, 1952, in memory of Lt. James L. Webb, a Big Spring native and WWII combat pilot, killed in a crash off the Japanese coast in 1949.
The relationship between the base and the city of Big Spring was excellent and the city deeded the base site to the Air Force. Residents of Big Spring tried several times to have Webb designated as a permanent base but because of its location, it was only an undergraduate pilot training base which was one of the reasons for its closing in 1977.
Many of the buildings of the old Webb AFB remain to this day such as the Officer's Club, NCO Club, Base Hospital, Billeting Office, Control Tower, Base Theater, Base Exchange, Credit Union, Flight Line Snack Bar, T-38 and T-37 Squadron Buildings, and the Base Fire Dept. Most of those buildings are currently in use but for other purposes.
The memories of watching the jets taking off and landing will last in my memory forever even though the base has been gone most of my life.