1955: Former Ogden Arsenal, Hill AFB’s ‘West Area’

  • Published
  • 75th Air Base Wing History Office

At the same time Hill AFB worked to begin construction of its 13,500-foot runway in April 1955, the installation managed the acquisition of the land and facilities to its west which formerly comprised the U.S. Army’s Ogden Arsenal – almost doubling the size of Hill AFB. The U.S. Army established the Ogden Ordnance Depot as a result of the need to store surplus ammunition following the conclusion of the First World War.  

The U.S. Army renamed this munitions depot the Ogden Arsenal prior to World War II, during which the arsenal contributed to the war effort through the production of munitions. By the time the Department of Defense transferred jurisdiction of the arsenal’s real property holdings from the Department of the Army to the Department of the Air Force on April 1, 1955 these holdings consisted of real estate and facilities worth approximately $17 million, and included more than 3,000 acres and 631 buildings and structures.

The addition of which brought Hill AFB to approximately 7,000 acres in size with a total of 1,171 buildings and structures (including 133 ammunition igloos). The Air Materiel Command quickly centralized its air munitions organizations under the Ogden Air Materiel Area at Hill AFB in the latter half of 1955.

First, the headquarters of the 2700th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron relocated with its Detachment 3 to Hill AFB, which provided the sole capability for the entire USAF in the zone of interior to perform reconnaissance, detection, recovery, field evaluation, and safe disposal of all U.S. and foreign unexploded ordnance and explosives, including special, biological, and chemical warfare weapons.

Then came the 25th and 29th Ammunition Supply Squadrons. On October 1, 1955, AMC’s Materiel Control Division stood up the Supply Ammunition Branch at Hill AFB. Shortly after, the USAF established its Ammunition Services Office at Hill AFB. The new Supply Ammunition Branch began serving as the control point for direct supply action on requests and requirements for all USAF operational munitions functions.

This consolidation paved the way for Hill AFB to assume air munitions functions not previously possible. It allowed Hill AFB to become the focal point for all Air Force munitions logistics. From the vantage point of Hill AFB’s West Area Complex (former Ogden Arsenal), logistics support items could easily and quickly be transported to any part of the world in minimum time. Sensing the potential of the newly acquired area, leaders in the Ogden Air Material Area predicted that they would receive proposals for future assignments of great value to the USAF. The future soon proved this prediction entirely correct.