The Laughlin Heritage Corner - April

  • Published
  • By Robert Marcell
  • 47th Flying Training Wing

April is notable for many reasons. In April 1989, for example, Congress designated Laughlin AFB a remote facility for Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR)—making it the only facility so designated in Air Training Command (now AETC). April also saw the opening, twenty years ago, of the First Term Airman Center in 2000, the arrival of the much-improved B-26B-10 in 1943 (which was much easier to handle than the unimproved B-26), and the renaming of the base paper in 1962 to “NOTAM.” Even back then, though, the base paper was still distributed on Fridays!

This month we celebrate the following key anniversaries here at Laughlin:

- 30th Anniversary of the 87 FTS’s Activation at Laughlin

When?: 2 April 1990

What?: To prepare for the implementation of Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, ATC activated three new flying training squadrons at Laughlin—the 39 FTS, the 84 FTS, and the 87 FTS. The 39th was a forerunner to our Operations Support Squadron (it performed similar functions), while the 84th conducted Phase II training and the 87th conducted Phase III/T-1A training. Activation of the 39th led to the (temporary) inactivation of the 47th Student Squadron at that time.

- 30th Anniversary of the Creation of the “Grow Your Own” Program

When?: 9 April 1990

What?: Col Willard Grosvenor, the 47 FTW Commander in 1990, and the superintendent of the local school district signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a vocational education program to teach basic aircraft maintenance at Del Rio High School. The program was dubbed “Grow Your Own,” and it was designed to help young adults from Del Rio find careers working at Laughlin AFB as members of the civil service Maintenance Directorate.

- 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of “Club XL”

When?: 10 April 1995

What?: On this date, the wing collocated the officers and enlisted clubs, and named the collocated club “Club XL.”

April Fun Fact:

- Did you know that Laughlin AFB used to have its own railroad? Established on 30 April 1954, the Laughlin AFB railroad consisted of one engine and one mile of track. We owned no cars and we carried no passengers. One military and one civilian trainman were assigned to the railroad operating section of the Commercial Transportation function. Engine No. 1238 would pick up a boxcar, transport it to Base Supply for unloading, then go back to the other end of the track. On 2 February 1972, Laughlin’s rail operations were terminated and the base locomotive was shipped to Tooele Army Depot, Utah, for storage.
Every month, we’ll highlight new Laughlin history, new Laughlin stories, and new Laughlin anniversaries, so be sure to check back again for more in May!