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Delaware Public Archives

Dover Air Force Base … The Early Years!


After the United States entered World War II in late 1941, the newly completed Dover municipal airfield was leased to the U.S. Army Air Corps and assigned to the Eastern Defense Command as a coastal patrol base. At this time a handful of soldiers were assigned to the growing Dover Army Air Field, with the C-47 arriving in 1943 to patrol Delaware’s coastline for enemy submarines. Later in the War, the base hosted Air to Air missile testing and pilot training squadrons in addition to safeguarding the eastern seaboard. The mission of the base changed over the years, and Dover is now home to a fleet of C-5 and C-17 cargo planes, able to provide crucial airlift support to not only to military conflicts but also to humanitarian crises around the world and here at home. Today there are more than 22 aircraft, 3,500 active duty military personnel, 1,200 civilians and 1,900 reservists attached to the base.

Please enjoy this selection of Dover Air Force Base photographs from our collections. The Delaware Public Archives has over 700,000 prints, negatives, slides and transparencies in our collections. They document almost every location and aspect of life in Delaware.

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