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  Archived Posts From: 2016


From Humble Beginnings: The First Thirty Years of Dover Air Force Base

Written on: June 17th, 2016 in Delaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesPhotographsResearch Room

(Dover, DE) On Saturday, July 2, at 10:30 a.m. Mike Leister, Director of the Air Mobility Command (AMC) Museum in Dover, will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives about the early years of the Dover Air Force Base. In 1940 the City of Dover accepted an offer to build a federally funded airport. By December 1941 the airport had become Dover Army Airfield. From anti-submarine patrols in obsolete aircraft to secret rocket testing and fighter pilot training the base flourished until it was closed in 1946. As the Korean War expanded the facility was reactivated and in 1953 it became an airlift base. Today Dover AFB is an indispensable part of our global transportation network, but how it all came about is a fascinating story.

Leister has been the Director of the Air Mobility Command Museum for 30 years. Among his many accomplishments he has founded two aviation museums and the Delaware Museum Association. He serves as a senior mentor for museum professionals within the USAF Heritage Program and occasionally for the Small Museum Association where he received their first Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a 2008 inductee into the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame. The AMC Museum is widely acknowledged as the gem of the USAF Heritage Program and the #1 “Thing To Do” in Delaware according to “Trip Advisor.”

The program is free to the public and will last approximately one hour. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail

Photo of Dover Army Air Field main entrance, April 15, 1943

Dover Army Air Field main entrance, April 15, 1943

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