Reese Air Force Base is named in honor of 1st Lt Augustus F. Reese, Jr., of Shallowater, Texas, who lived about ten miles north of the base. He was killed in action at Cagliari, Sardinia, May 14, 1943, while flying a P-38 on a voluntary mission to destroy a railroad supply train. Lieutenant Reese was honored when his name was selected for the base at the suggestion of a committee of Lubbock residents.
The land for Reese AFB, just west of Lubbock and 20 miles east of Levelland, was provided by the City of Lubbock. Construction began in July, 1941, and the Lubbock Army Air Field, as it was then called, was in operation by the end of that year, with cadets starting training in early 1942. The field was closed December 31, 1945, after 7008 bomber, fighter, and transport pilots had been trained as cadets.
For the next four years the field was used as a housing area for veterans and their families, and as a meeting place for National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and Naval units. The field was reactivated on August 1, 1949, and transfer of the 3500th Pilot Tng Wing from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, was completed October 5, 1949. The field was named Reese Air Force Base on November 5, 1949. Announcement was made on Armed Forces Day, 1950, by U.S. Representative George H. Mahon of Texas that Reese had been designated a permanent installation.
From January, 1955, to September, 1957, Reese used a modified version of North American's B-25 for its entire training. Early in September, 1958, the base began a change-over to training in the T-33, with the entry of Class 59-F. When Class 59-E, the last B-25 class, graduated on January 24, 1959, B-25 training officially came to an end. The passing of the B-25 actually marked the end of an era in Air Training Command, since Reese was the last basic school in ATC to use the famous old war bird for training student pilots.
In April, 1960, Reese was one of seven bases in Air Training Command chosen by the Secretary of the Air Force to conduct Undergraduate Pilot Training. The first class to enter the Undergraduate program and receive all of its training--pre-flight, primary, and basic pilot training--was Class 62-F, which arrived on March 13, 1961.
The T-38 Talon, world's first supersonic trainer, replaced the T-33 as basic trainer when Class 64-C moved into that phase of training on May 10, 1963. The T-33 began phasing out as a trainer at that time.