Van Nuys Air National Guard Base

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Van Nuys Air National Guard Base
Air National Guard.png
Van Nuys Army Airfield
Located at: Van Nuys Airport, California
146th Tactical Airlift Wing - Emblem.png
Emblem of the California Air National Guard 146th Tactical Airlift Wing (1966-1990)
Van Nuys ANGB is located in California
Van Nuys ANGB
Van Nuys ANGB
Coordinates34°12′34″N 118°29′23″W / 34.20944°N 118.48972°W / 34.20944; -118.48972 (Van Nuys ANGB)Coordinates: 34°12′34″N 118°29′23″W / 34.20944°N 118.48972°W / 34.20944; -118.48972 (Van Nuys ANGB)
Site history
In use1942-1990
Oblique westward view of Van Nuys Army Airfield, 12 September 1942.
195th FIS 4-ship F-86H about 1958. North American F-86H-10-NH Sabre 53-1382 in foreground 53-1505 also identifiable
195th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron emblem during the 1950s
115th Air Transport Squadron emblem from the early 1960s

Van Nuys Air National Guard Base is a former United States Air Force base, located at Van Nuys Airport, California. It was originally opened in 1942 during World War II. The Air Force closed its facilities at Van Nuys in 1990.


The airport was established sometime in the 1920s and 1930s as Van Nuys Metropolitan Airport. It was utilized by Timm Aircraft Corp. which built military trainer planes and cargo gliders.

World War II[edit]

In 1942, the War Department acquired the airport, purchasing the facility for $302,287.00. In addition to the airport, an additional 163 acres was purchased on the west side for a support base. The support base consisted of more than one hundred buildings, all intended to be temporary. Station buildings and streets were also constructed, the buildings consisting primarily of wood, tar paper, and non-masonry siding. The use of concrete and steel was limited because of the critical need elsewhere. Most buildings were hot and dusty in the summer and very cold in the winter. Water, sewer and electrical services were also constructed. Initially there was no paving to the streets, compressed earth served immediate needs. Known sub-bases and auxiliaries during World War II were:

The Van Nuys Army Airfield was placed under the jurisdiction of the IV Fighter Command with a mission to conduct P-38 Lightning operational unit training. On 12 August 1943, 364th Fighter Group was activated at the new base. The 441st Army Air Force Base Unit was established in 1944 to manage the ground facilities. P-38 pilot training was discontinued in May 1945, and the 481st Night Fighter Operational Training Group at Hammer Field, California assumed jurisdiction of the field. It was occasionally used as an auxiliary for P-61 Black Widow Night Fighter training.

At the end of the war the AAF Base Unit was inactivated on 31 October 1945 and the airfield was returned to civil use.

Air National Guard Use[edit]

By March 1946, Lockheed had moved its P-80 Shooting Star production flight test from the Lockheed Air Terminal, Burbank, CA, to the vacant Army Air Force Base Unit facilities at Van Nuys, and in September 1946 Lockheed moved its P-80 production flight test to the northeast corner of the airfield.

On September 16, 1946, the 62d Fighter Wing, 146th Fighter Group and 115th Bombardment Squadron (the former 115th Observation Squadron) were given Federal recognition, and flew their first missions out of the former Army Air Forces Base Unit facilities. In 1948, several units of the new wing moved to Burbank Airport, only to return to Van Nuys a short time later, after too little ramp space at Burbank proved a hindrance to accomplishing the wing’s missions.

In 1949, the City of Los Angeles purchased the airport from the War Assets Administration for $1.00 and a provision for a California Air National Guard facility for 40 years. Airport Renamed to San Fernando Valley Airport. Air National Guard was equipped with two squadrons of P-51s.

In February 1951, the 146th Fighter Wing was re-equipped with the F-86A Sabre. By July 1955 the transition from the F-51H Mustang to the Sabre was complete. The wing was re-designated a Fighter Interceptor Wing with an air defense mission for the Los Angeles area.

From 1946 through 1954 the 115th Fighter Squadron and the 195th Squadron, both part of the 146th Fighter Wing, flew P-51 Mustangs. The 115th Bombardment Squadron (Light) flew A-26 Invader light bombers from 1946 to 1952. The 115th was stationed at Van Nuys but during part of this period was assigned to the 126th Bombardment Wing at Chicago's O'Hare field. In 1955, the Air National Guard moved into a new Air National Guard base was completed just west of the old Army Air Forces Base Unit facilities.

In 1957 the airport was renamed Van Nuys Airport and the runway extended from 6,000 ft to 8,000 feet with Sherman Way underpass. 1970 brought a new name - the 146th Tactical Airlift Wing; a new command, Tactical Air Command; and a new aircraft - the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

By March 1990, all but a small remnant of wing personnel had transferred operations to Channel Islands Air National Guard Station at Naval Air Station Point Mugu. Shortly thereafter, the old Van Nuys facility was closed and turned over to the City of Los Angeles. On April 30, 1990, the flag at Van Nuys ANG Base was lowered for the last time during a special ceremony.

Known units assigned[edit]

  • 441st Army Air Force Base Unit, 1944-1945 (Ground station support)
  • 364th Fighter Group, 12 August 1943 to 11 October 1943
  • 474th Fighter Group, 1 October 1943 to 4 January 1944
  • 481st Night Fighter Operational Training Group, May–November 1945
  • 146th Fighter Group, California Air National Guard
Extended Federal recognition and activated, 16 September 1946
Re-designated: 146th Composite Wing, October 1950
Re-designated: 146th Fighter Wing, 1 January 1953
Re-designated: 146th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, July 1955
Re-designated: 146th Air Transportation Wing (Heavy), 1960
Re-designated: 146th Military Airlift Wing, January 1966
Re-designated: 146th Tactical Airlift Wing, 1970
Inactivated 31 March 1990
  • 195th Fighter Squadron, 1946-1948, 1949-
Re-designated: 195th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 1955
Re-designated: 195th Air Transport Squadron, 1960
Re-designated: 195th Military Airlift Squadron, 1966
Re-designated: 195th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 1970-1983
Designation re-assigned to: Arizona Air National Guard 195th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, 1983
  • 195th Weather Flight
Federally recognized and activated on September 29, 1946
Relocated to Channel Islands ANGS on March 1, 1990
  • 115th Bombardment Squadron, 1946-1948
Re-designated: 115th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 1949
Re-designated: 115th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 1955
Re-designated: 115th Air Transport Squadron, 1960
Re-designated: 115th Military Airlift Squadron, 1966
Re-designated: 115th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 1970-1983

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Maurer, Maurer(1982). Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Office of Air Force history (1982). ISBN 0-8317-1501-4

External links[edit]