Tag Archives: Keesler Air Force Base

Biloxi Blues

Back during WWII, the sight and sound of piston-engined aircraft and newly-minted Army Air Force airmen learning their paces became a fixture that has remained for over 75 years.

Keesler Field, founded in June 1941, was named after a Great War aerial observer from Mississippi who was killed over Verdun in 1918. It became both a basic training facility as well as an advanced school for gunners.

After the war, Keesler became an Air Force base and remained an advanced school for navaids and meteorology. A Biloxi institution, the base today is the home of the Air Force Reserve’s Hurricane Hunters and everyone knows people who work there. Hell, I turned down a DAF police job there once upon a time.

Fast forward to 2020, and the fresh recruits have returned.

From the USAF: 

For the first time since 1968, a flight of nearly 60 Airmen graduated USAF Basic Military Training outside of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Airmen from the 37th Training Wing Detachment 5 marched across the Levitow Training Support Facility drill pad at Keesler Air Force Base, May 15.

Due to safety concerns stemming from #COVID19, the Air Force sent new recruits to Keesler AFB to demonstrate a proof of concept to generate the force at multiple locations during contingencies.

“These changes are part of our operational mindset to fight through COVID-19 and mitigate force health risks.” -Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos, Second Air Force commander

All graduating Airmen from this flight will continue their technical training at Keesler AFB.

Military training instructors lead graduating Airmen onto the drill pad during a graduation ceremony at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., May 15, 2020. Nearly 60 Airmen from the 37th Training Wing Detachment 5 completed the six-week basic military training course. Due to safety concerns stemming from COVID-19, the Air Force sent new recruits to Keesler AFB to demonstrate a proof of concept to generate the force at multiple locations during contingencies. The flight was the first to graduate BMT at Keesler since 1968. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)