SAFB Key Events

1950 - 1956 Air Force Training Facility


October 15: Lt. Col. Kreeber, USAF, arrives on base to survey inactive naval training center and determines its suitability as an

Air Force indoctrination center.

November 14: Air Training Command assumes temporary jurisdiction of the base and designates it as Sampson AFB.

December 10: Rehabilitation of base begins with awarding of contract to Five-Bore-Malan Construction, Company.


January 16: Maj. Gen. Frank A. Armstrong assumes command.

February 1: First trainees arrive.

May 6: Base Hospital in Quinn Area opens.

May 7: Brig. Gen. Norris B. Harbold assumes command.

May 19: Sampson AFB observes its first Armed Forces Day program.

July 1:Thirty-one first classmen from the United States Military Academy at West Point arrive on base for participation

in the basic training program.

September 15: Sampsonaires 45-voice male chorus formed.


January 9: Construction of base firing range at Quinn area commences.

June 12: Last of base rehabilitation contracts completed.

July 19: Maj. Gen. Richard C. Lindsay succeeds Maj. Gen. Norris B. Harbold as commander.

August 22: 100,000th trainee, Charles J. Majon of Philadelphia, arrives at Sampson AFB.

October 20: Student leadership program initiated.

October 24: First Air Force Information Hour opens in Knight Building.

November 12: First base swimming pool opens in Ent Drill Hall.


January 28: Airstrip construction is started by C. J. Langenfelder and sons Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland.

February 9: Nine week basic military training course placed in operation.

February 14: Sampson AFB participates in Exercise Cold Spot with 9th and 18th Air Force Units.

June 27: First contingent of newly-commissioned Air Force ROTC graduates arrive for processing.

November 22: An L-20, first plane to use Sampson’s new air-strip, landed with Lt. Gen. Robert W. Harper and

Maj. Gen. Richard C Lindsay aboard.

November 1: Formal dedication of new USO headquarters in Geneva.

November 5: Ten week basic military training course implemented.

December 17: Faktor Aeronautical Museum opens.

December 21: Aircraft assigned to Sampson AFB and formerly stationed at Hancock Field, Syracuse, moves here.


January 18: Conduct first commercial airline movement from Sampson Airstrip.

February 1: Basic military training course increased to eleven weeks.

March 1: Chaplain (Lt. Col.) John F. Smeltzer, succeeds Lt. Col. Aubrey C. Halsell as Wing Chaplain.

March 31: Brig. Gen. Wycliffe B. Steele assumes command.

April 25: Mohawk Airlines inaugurates commercial air service.

April 26: First airmail received and dispatched at Sampson airstrip.

May 11: First meeting of the newly organized Non-Commissioned Officer Advisory Committee held.

May 15:Prior Service Military training course No. BT00014 placed in operation. Flights of prior service trainees entered a

15-day training program.

June 2: Sampson’s Trailor Park in Yarborough Area officially opened. T/Sgt. W.E. Melster was the first occupant to move

in and occupy a trailer space.

June 29: Student Council system revived and become a part of the basic training program.

July 1: The new industrial accounting system became effective in the Budget and Accounting Division of the Wing Comptroller’s


August 4: Centralized Base Clearance unit opened in Aldrich Area.

September 10: Civilian Service Center located in Building A-23 officially opened in appropriate ceremonies.

October 11: Sampson provided 142 airmen for reassigment to Parks Air Force Base, California . Basic military training program

reactivated there.

October 22: Manual telephone system converted to automatic dial.

Decenber 31: Non-commissioned Officer’s housing requirements were improved by the conversion of 18 apartments from one

to two bedroom units.


January 6: Student Leadership Program terminated by 3650th Basic Military Training Group.

February 23: Major General Carl A. Brandt arrived at Sampson Air Force Base for initial visit since his appointment as Commander,Technical Training Air Force.

March 24: The 3650th Installations Squadron redesignated the 3650th Installations Group and reassigned from the 3650th Air Base

Group to the 3650th Military Training Wing.

April 13: The 3650th Personnel Processing Squadron transferred from the 3650th Military Training Wing to the 3650th Basic
Mlitary Training Group.

May 21: Armed Forces Day observed jointly by Sampson Air Force Base and Seneca Ordnance Depot

June 15: Sampson Air Force Base joined surrounding civilian areas in observance of Operations Alert-1955.

July 5: Split-Clothing Issue and Dual Classification and Assignment Interview System were innovations introduced in the basic

military training program at this base.

September 9: Input to General Instructor School increased and the school went on a two shift system.

October 10: Last flight of prior service enlistee airmen graduated and Sampson discontinued providing this type of training

November 1: Staff Visitation Program placed in operation.

November 1: Sampson’s Finance Office discontinues financial services to military and civilian personnel assigned to Seneca

Ordnance Depot.

November 14: Teaching of Mathematics discontinued in Sampson’s basic Military training program.

December 1: A total of 330 housing units were administered as rental property under the Lanham Act.

December 5: Cross-training program for Tactical and Academic instructors placed in operation.

December 29: Sampson Air Force Base received permission to close down the General Instuctor School.


The following taken from the Geneva Daily Times--1956

5 January: Attend the ‘Keep Sampson’ Rally tonight, Hotel Seneca, 8 p.m.

19 January: Sampson Omitted in Fund Request--by Defense Department.

20 January: Sampson Meeting Tuesday; Senator Taber Pledges ‘Best Efforts’ With Air Secretary

23 January: (Senator) Ives Backs Proposal to Move Mitchel Air Base to Sampson.

24 January: Air Force ‘Far From Decision’ on Sampson.--Senator Ives, Taber Meet on Future of Air Base.

30 January: The $64 Dollar Question---What Will Happen to Sampson?.

15 February: Permanent Party to Pull KP, Guard Duty at Sampson---Not Enough Trainees

28 February: Mohawk Slices Flights in Half in Wake of Cutbacks at Sampson---Five Flights Daily

19 March: 1,200 Bed Hospital at Sampson Down to About 350 Patients--- Due to Trainee Cut Back

12 April: Sampson will Close - Air Force Announces

13 April: Base Awaits Closing Orders

The following plans were received by The Times from an unofficial source:

1. End trainee output this month and provide for the last trainee to leave the base by June 30

2. Evacuate Hospital by 31 July

3. Reduce civilian employment to 387 in July, 312 in August, 258 in September, and 203 in October

4. Reduce permanent party military strenght to 461 Officers and 2,382 Airmen by June 30

5. Transfer Airfield and its facilities to another agency

14 April: Sale of Sampson to Industry Seen Likely

28 April: ‘Operation Closeout’ at Sampson

28 September: Griffiss Air Base to Take Over Responsibilities for Sampson AFB as ‘Caretakers’

* Source: Portal To Air Power The Sampson AFB Story .

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