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New Records from Hill Air Force Base

Hill Air Force Base in Utah can trace its history back to 1934 when the US Army experimented with the idea of using Air Corps pilots to deliver airmail. Military officials identified a site just south of the inactive Ogden Ordnance Depot in Utah, as a good place to locate a base and appropriated funds for the construction of the Ogden Air Depot. A short time later the name was changed to Hill Field in honor of Maj. Ployer P. Hill, who died while test-flying a prototype for the B-17 Flying Fortress. In 1948, Hill Field was renamed Hill Air Force Base.

Hell’s Angels

Our new Hill AFB collection contains a variety of records including Unit Histories for several units including the 359th Bomb Squad from the 303rd Bomb Group. They were also known as Hell’s Angels, after their B-17 of the same name. Hell’s Angels was the first B-17 in the Eighth Air Force to complete 25 missions. In this photograph, her crew autographs the plane. The Knock-Out Dropper was the first to complete 50 and 75 missions, and Thunderbird was one of just of few B-17s to fly more than 100 missions. Hollywood actor Clark Gable even flew on a mission with the 359th. He is pictured here at RAF Molesworth in England.

You can also find historical reports for the 466th, 467th, and 468th Fighter Squadrons from the 508th Fighter Group. They were activated towards the end of WWII to provide long-range escorts for B-29s in the Pacific Theater. After Japan’s fighter defense weakened, the group was reassigned to air defense for the Hawaiian Islands.

There are additional histories in the Hill AFB collection, such as the Historical Report for the 537th Service Squadron based in Alliance, Nebraska. They repaired and reclaimed glider planes.  

The 216th Army Air Force Base Unit supported the 72nd Fighter Wing at Wendover Army Airfield and the Hill AFB collection contains records and photographs from that facility. The largest bombing and gunnery range in the world was located in Wendover and during WWII, it was the training site for the 509th Composite Group that carried out the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hill AFB Newspaper

The Hill AFB collection also includes an archive of the base newspaper, the Hill Fielder and other histories like the History of the Army Air Forces Western Technical Training Command, historical data for the Second Air Force and the Army Air Base in Salt Lake City, and the History of the Waycross Replacement Training Unit.

To date, the Hill AFB collection contains almost 63,000 records and is 50% completed. We are adding more images each day! Search the Hill Air Force Base collection on Fold3 today. 

19 Comments

  1. I didn’t see where Hill AFB was located, but my father in 1943 was chief aircraft inspector at Berry Field in Nashville, Tn. for the B-17’s headed straight for Europe. He found several cases of sabotage among the planes which he had to red tag, indicating that they couldn’t take off until the plane was okay’d by him.

    • Wow, I did not know that someone would sabotage, my father-in-law was a waste gunner on a B17, He flew on louie the creep, then flew on bit of lace, and get this when our Daughter was born we named her Lacey,not knowing he flew on the bit of Lace.

    • Wow, I did not know that someone would sabotage, my father-in-law was a waste gunner on a B17, He flew on louie the creep, then flew on bit of lace, and get this when our Daughter was born we named her Lacey,not knowing he flew on the bit of Lace.

  2. This really brings back memories as a young Army Private just out of tech school at Ft. Monmouth, N.J.. I caught a hop out of Long Island, NY to the west coast and Camp Stoneman, Calif before flying on over to Hawaii and my first military permanent assignment. I can remember being very concerned flying down through a mountain gorge and making a right bank and lining up with the runway at Hill Field. I was there only overnight but It is a memory that I’ve never forgotten.

  3. I live near HAFB and in fact spent 30 years working there. My parents both worked there, my Mother repaired carburetors for aircraft during the war years.
    But I am looking for a very close high school buddy that was stationed there in the Comm. Sq. in 1970-1971. We have lost contact with him and he is the last of our little group we cannot find. Any information on how to locate him would be appreciated.

  4. Is there any way I can check the records of WW11 to try and find a name my birth mother gave me to see if I can find a match. He was in Auckland in 1943.

  5. My Father was the Lead Engineer for ICBM Weapon Systems, Nuclear Survivability, and C3 Systems for the Titan II and Minuteman missiles at Hill AFB from 1965 until 1986. He oversaw all upgrades for the missile program there and at other bases across the U.S. He developed lithium batteries for use in the missile program long before they were “discovered” by other scientists. You can read about it in his biography, “Alaska to Africa: The True Story of the 18 Fosters,” on amazon.com. The book contains a chapter about Hill Air Base.

    • That is very cool about your Dad, I had a uncle that was one of the first US Airmail pilots that flew mail from Pasco Wa to Idaho,that was back in the 20s.

  6. To Scott VanAllen & Mary McDowell: there is a database available through your public library with all sorts of records: business, new movers, residential. You’ll need your library card number to access or go to the local cal library. Enter the name you are looking for – if it is unique enough, you’ll not need to put a town or state. Otherwise, make your best guess for a state to be more narrow.
    Judy Schwartz, MLS

  7. I was assigned (1973-1975) to the 1550th Air Training and Test Wing as an instructor pilot, functional check pilot, and squadron standardization flight examiner. The wing flew fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. These assets were used to train pilots through formal curricula administered by combat crew training squadrons (CCTS) and to test technolgies that were critical to our national security. I was qualified and certified in the TH-1F, TH-1N, and the TH-43F.

    The Wing has since relocated to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM.

  8. I attended kindergarten there in 1954. Learned to ride a bike without training wheels and got bit by a tick while at a base picnic. Oh, and I got clawed near my eye by a big hunting dog while assisting a friend. The dog was not mean, just as big as me. When he jumped up on me his claw almost got my eye. From there we transferred to Tripoli, Libya. The rest being history.

  9. Dennis Randle: We went to Wheelus in Tripoli after Hill AFB too. We were there from Oct 1959 to May 1961. When were you there?

  10. Initial Cadre F-16 driver in the 4 TFS, first operational F-16 squadron, 1980 -1984. Also an official “Lawn Dart” driver having ejected from F-16B 78-092 on 23 July 1980. Squadron Life Support Officer, Wing Flying Safety officer and FCF Pilot. Was the first F-16 pilot to get the jet home on the Back-up Fuel Control rather than becoming the first F-16 pilot to eject from 2 F-16s; Friday, January 13 1984 following an engine stagnation 4,000 feet above the Great Salt Lake during a weather penetration …

    Enjoyed every minute of my assignment there!

    • I saw your message on the F 16, when my husband and I both worked at a aerospace company, he used to designed the radar for both F16 F18 EF 1 11,we both enjoyed working there, although it always bugged him that I had a top secret clearance and he did not, he had a secret clearance …

      Karen Lashin

  11. My father Major (@the time) Frederick Gaynor was stationed there during WW II. Much to his chagrin, he was not a pilot. I think he managed a supply depot.
    Would be interested in hearing from others who were stationed there during WW II- or their descendants at this point, I guess.

  12. I was a lieutenant stationed at Hill AFB from 1957-60 as an ammunition officer in the 25th Ammunition Supply Squadron. At that time Hill was the headquarters for all nonnuclear munitions and the 25th Ammo was the operational squadron. I was assigned as assistant chief and project officer of the Test Branch, which preformed tests the Snark, Bomarc, Minuteman, Falcon, 16NS1000 JATO, among others.

  13. My brother-in-law, Floyd J. Villiard was stationed at Hill AFB as his final assignment and retired from there. I believe he was a prop specialist. His family settled in Layton, UT. Unfortunately we lost Floyd to cancer in 2018 at age 81. He was a good guy.

  14. Adrienne Potter: I went to first grade at Wheelus in 1956. My dad flew air rescue SA-16’s. We were only there a year and then transferred to Ramstein for two years. We lived off base and I have many memories of living there. Part of the time we lived behind the British Ambassador’s residence and we managed to break his son’s arm in a little rough play. The Australian Ambassador lived across the street and his son and I were visiting another kid whose dog had just had puppies. He was ahead of me when we went to see the new pups and mama took a little nip at him. It drew blood and he ended up getting 16 rabies shots in the stomach. Memories from a long time ago.