The naming of a military base is a historical event and next month the Tucson Air National Guard will celebrate just that.
The installation at Tucson International Airport will bear the name "Morris Air National Guard Base". Major General Donald Morris is credited with forming the fighter squadron -- now the 162nd wing. Morris died in 2016 at the age of 92.
The wing will host a dedication ceremony and officially announce the base name on November 4th.
In the mid-1950s, military units nationwide were converting to jet fighters, and Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater was able to transfer a unit to Tucson. He sent then Maj. Morris from the Phoenix Air National Guard to Tucson to form the new fighter squadron.
Maj. Morris and eight other Airmen from the Phoenix unit came to Tucson in 1956 to stand up the squadron. Their earliest facilities consisted only of a small hangar and farmhouse. In May 1956, the unit was granted federal recognition as the 152nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron, and the following month, the first F-86 Sabres arrived, and flying began shortly, thereafter. Morris went on to command the base for the next 15 years, laying the foundation for the unit.
Today, the base hosts the 162nd Wing, which has the strength of nearly 1,900 Airmen. The mission has also evolved into a robust international F-16 pilot training mission with more than 80 jets, as well as a remotely piloted aircraft program with persistent combat and reconnaissance capability, and an alert mission ready to respond at a moment's notice to protect our regional airspace.