Air Force Bases

Norton Air Force Base, California

Location: Located 3 miles east-southeast of San Bernardino, CA, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles CA.

Origin of current name: Named in honor of Capt. Leland Norton (1920-1944). While attacking a marshalling yard on his 16th combat mission, Captain Norton's A-20 was struck by antiaircraft fire on May 27th 1944 near Amiens, France. After order his crew to bail out, Captain Norton perished with his aircraft.

Date current name was assigned to base: March 2, 1950

Previous Names: Municipal Airport San Bernardino (under AAF jurisdiction), July 2 1942; San Bernardino Army Air Field, July 14 1942; San Bernardino Air Field, December 24 1947; San Bernardino Air Force Base, January 13 1948.

Date Established: March 1, 1942

Date Occupied: May 11, 1942

Construction Began: March 14, 1942

Base Units: 11th Station Complement, May 11 1942; 499th Base HQ and Air Base Sq, February 1 1943; 4126th AAF Base Unit, April1 1944 (redesignated 4126th AF Base Unity, September 26 1947; HQ and HQ Sq. San Bernardino Air Depot, August 28 1948); 2950th Air Base Group, November 10 1951; 2848th Air Base Wg, May 1 1953 (redesignated 2848th Air Base Group, October 16 1964); 63d Air Base Group, April 1 1967.

Changes in Capability: Preparation of flying facilities to support an air depot completed and first airplanes landed June 2 1942; all four runways opened for service December 19 1942; night flying began March 13 1943; facilities for overhauling gas turbine engines completed mid-1943; operated AAF Separation Center September-December 1945; jet overhaul operations began July 1 1951; San Bernardino Air Materiel Area became one of USAF's three jet overhaul centers by late 1953; runway lengthened to 10,000 feet and high-thrust jet test cells completed late 1954; base served as Titan and Atlas missile logistic support and storage point January 1962-November 1964; dispensary completed December 1967; MAC passenger terminal (replacing one built in 1944) opened June 1969; dormitories and hydrant fueling system completed February 1970; rehabilitation of control tower completed December 1976.

Changes in Status: Closed 1992

Base was Decommissioned on


The 2,400 acre Norton AFB was closed by the first round of BRAC, and ceased most of its military operations by 1992. The Air Force signed over the lease on the airport to the local redevelopment organization in 1999, though much of the rest of base remains in the Air Force's hands as this ongoing clean-up and conversion process continues. Some businesses have moved on base, and some films have been shot there (including "Volcano").