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Plattsburgh AFB


Plattsburgh AFB

"PAFB" redirects here. For the military airport in Alaska with that ICAO code, see Ladd Army Airfield.
Plattsburgh Air Force Base
USGS aerial photo as of 4 May 1994
Owner United States Air Force
Location Town of Plattsburgh, near Plattsburgh, New York
Built 1954–1955
In use 1955–1995
Occupants United States Air Force
Elevation AMSL 234 ft / 71 m
Coordinates 44°39′14″N 073°27′56″W / 44.65389°N 73.46556°W / 44.65389; -73.46556Coordinates: 44°39′14″N 073°27′56″W / 44.65389°N 73.46556°W / 44.65389; -73.46556

Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 11,758 3,584 Asphalt/Concrete
Plattsburgh AFB
Plattsburgh AFB
Location of KPGB

Plattsburgh Air Force Base is a former United States Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) base covering 3,447 acres (13.7 km²) in the extreme northeast corner of New York, 20 miles (32 km) south of the Canadian border. It is located on the western shore of Lake Champlain opposite Burlington, Vermont, in the city of Plattsburgh, New York.[1]

The base closed on 25 September 1995, pursuant to the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990 (10 U.S.C. Sec. 2687 note) and the recommendations of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission. It is now a civilian airport and industrial complex, operated by the Plattsburgh Air Base Development Authority. The airfield is now known as Plattsburgh International Airport.


Major units

308th Bombardment Wing

380th Bomb Wing

497th Air Refueling Wing

820th Strategic Aerospace Division


Previous designations

  • Plattsburgh Air Force Base (1955-25 September 1995)

Major commands to which assigned

Major commands to which the base was assigned:

Major units assigned

Operational history



Early history

Missile operations

Assigned aircraft

Second half of the Cold War

Built during the Cold War, Plattsburgh AFB's runway is large enough to land the space shuttle. It was on a list of alternate landing sites for the space shuttle.[2] Space shuttle Columbia astronaut Michael P. Anderson, born at Plattsburgh AFB, was an Air Force pilot at Plattsburgh AFB when he got selected by NASA in 1994.

BRAC 1991 and closure

Accidents and incidents

Base culture

Earl Stevenson, TSGT USAF (Ret. dec.), the subject of the memoir, "Strictly a Loner: My Life and Times with Plattsburgh's Poorest Millionaire" learned to play the stock market from his commander at Vandenberg AFB in the late 1950s. After space-A hopping around the world, he stopped in Plattsburgh, New York in 1966 and began renting rooms in the Northern New York city. He was often seen at the Base Hospital, the NCO club (image in book) and base Thrift Shop. He also frequented the Skyway Plaza.[3]

Current status

After the base was decommissioned, the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation (PARC) was created to manage the 5,000-acre (20 km2) property. PARC split up the base into 165 parcels for redevelopment.[4]

On 16 and 17 August 1996, PARC hosted a massive music concert on the runway of the old decommissioned airbase featuring the band Phish. 70,000 people attended this concert known as the Clifford Ball[5] which added $20 million to the local economy.[6]

Current PARC tenants on former airbase properties leased by PARC include Wood Group Pratt & Whitney Industrial Turbine Services (the first and longest continuous tenant), Bombardier,[7] Composite Factory, Inc.,[8] ORC Macro,[9] Pratt & Whitney,[10] GSM Vehicles (vintage trailer restoration) and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO).[11]

The U.S. Air Force lists Plattsburgh among its BRAC "success stories."[12] The base's reuse and the circumstances surrounding it were chronicled in Flying High Again: PARC's Redevelopment of Plattsburgh Air Force Base, written by Marian Calabro and published by in 2008.[13][14]

While digging for new PARC construction was underway low level nuclear materials (such as contaminated protective clothing) were found buried. The levels of radiation were safe and the area was decontaminated.


Plattsburgh AFB is bordered by the city of Plattsburgh and the Saranac River to the north and the Salmon River to the south. It lies on the western shore of Lake Champlain on the New York-Vermont border.[1]


See also





  • 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 (1989). Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. ISBN 0-912799-53-6, ISBN 0-16-002261-4

External links

  • SAC Bases: Plattsburgh AFB
  • Plattsburgh Barracks
  • Plattsburgh International Airport
  • 556th Missile Sites
  • Brief video histories of PAFB and its redevelopment
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