Laughlin Heritage Corner: July

  • Published
  • By Robert Marcell
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Historian's Office

Happy birthday, Laughlin!

This month we celebrate our 78th year as a base: The installation that would become Laughlin AFB was officially established as an Army Air Forces Advanced Flying School under the Army Air Corps, Central Flying Training Command, on 2 July 1942.

It’s worth pointing out that we also became “Team XL” on this date, when the “XL” logo was first introduced on 2 July 1982. “XL” are the Roman numerals for “40,” and this logo was initially introduced in celebration of the base’s 40th anniversary. It has since become a defining part of who we are here at Laughlin AFB!

A few other noteworthy historical events that occurred in July include:

  • Comm Squadron (CS) and Security Forces (SFS) Unit Redesignations

When: 1 July 1994 (CS) and 1 July 1997 (SFS)

What: This month in 1994, the “647th Communications Squadron” became the 47th Communications Squadron. In 1997, the “47th Security Police Squadron” became the 47th Security Forces Squadron.

  • Laughlin’s 1st Female Instructor Pilot Reported for Duty

When: 5 July 1980

What: Laughlin's first female Instructor Pilot, or IP, 2d Lt Cyndhi Hughes, reported for duty at the 85th Flying Training Squadron (FTS).

  • The Last of the U-2s

When: 12 July 1963

What: The last of our U-2s left Laughlin on 12 July 1963. The U-2 reconnaissance and meteorological mission at Laughlin, overseen by the 4080th Strategic Wing, lasted from 1957 to 1963. Twenty-five years to the day of the last U-2’s takeoff from Laughlin, on 12 July 1988, the pilot of that U-2, Gen Patrick J. Halloran, was the Project Warrior speaker at Laughlin.

  • Laughlin’s 1st Commanding Officer Assumed Command

When: 15 July 1942

What: Col Edward W. Suarez was the first commanding officer of Laughlin, and he assumed command on 15 July 1942 to prepare the base for opening and use over its construction period.

  • 86 FTS Take 1st Place

When: 22-27 July 2007

What: Four 86 Flying Training Squadron (FTS) IPs competed in the Air Mobility Command Rodeo at McChord AFB, Washington. The 12 FTW (Randolph AFB, Texas), 14 FTW (Columbus AFB, Mississippi), and 71 FTW (Vance AFB, Oklahoma) all sent teams as well. The 86 FTS team took 1st place in the T-1 category!

Every month, we’ll continue to highlight Laughlin history, Laughlin stories, and Laughlin anniversaries, so be sure to check back again for more in August!