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By David Meade, 21st Space Wing
/ Published February 06, 2018
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – An aerial view of the Peterson Air and Space Museum. From its origin as the first passenger terminal and hangar for the original Colorado Springs airport more than seven decades ago, the Peterson Air and Space Museum has become a repository for the Air Force and the city's heritage. (U.S. Air Force photo)
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. - Cheyenne Mountain Complex is a military installation and nuclear bunker located at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee )
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chef Kirkland Dunning puts brisket in the smoker Aug. 10, 2016, at the Greenside Grill and Smokehouse. The smoker can hold up to 300 pounds of meat, and delivers patrons a hickory-smoked lunchtime dining option. The newly remodeled restaurant re-opened in April, offering fresh, unique lunch choices with a decidedly smoky flavor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Brady)
From indoor rock climbing to a community garden, there’s more to Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado than meets the eye. Whether you’ve been stationed here for a couple years, are brand new or still on your way, here are our top 10 facts about Peterson AFB you may not know.
Three major commands
Home to 53 mission partners, Peterson AFB hosts North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command, Air Force Space Command, and Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Strategic Command.
Grab a bite
There are 11 different locations to satisfy your hunger needs. Everything from burgers to bulgogi can be found on base by visiting the Aragon Dining Facility, The Club, the Base Exchange, The Greenside Café at the Silver Spruce Golf Course Clubhouse, and more.
You don’t have to trek into the Rocky Mountains to get your climbing fix. Hidden behind the weight room at the Peterson AFB Fitness Center is a full size rock climbing wall. Want to learn how to climb? They also offer climbing classes.
We may not have F-16 Fighting Falcons or C-5 Galaxies assigned here, but Peterson AFB is still the second busiest protocol runway. With three major commands, as well as nearby bases Fort Carson, Schriever AFB and the United States Air Force Academy, many distinguished visitors pass through here.
Learn to fly
Have you ever dreamed of soaring through the skies? If you long to be in that wild blue yonder, Peterson AFB’s Force Support Squadron can help you achieve flight. Our nationally recognized Aero-Club can have you flying high in no time.
Peterson AFB has a rich history with important ties to the defense of North America. To take a trip back in time visit our museum. The Peterson Air & Space Museum is the largest Air Force museum west of the Mississippi River. You can view static aircraft from the ages as well as old technology that was used at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station dating back to the 1960s.
The 21st Space Wing is the most geographically dispersed Wing in the Air Force. Its mission spans across 13 time zones with 22 locations in 11 states and nine different countries to operate 15 different weapon systems.
Older than the Air Force
The Air Force turned 70 last September but Peterson AFB has been around longer. The Peterson AFB we know started out as Colorado Springs Army Air Base and was established on April 28, 1942, at the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, which has served the city since 1926.
Home to Icons
Thule Air Base, Greenland belongs to the 21st Space Wing and is the Northern most air base in the world. Closer to home, look deep inside Cheyenne Mountain to find the famous underground facility Cheyenne Mountain AFS. The 721st Mission Support Group works diligently every day to ensure that personnel can work safely inside while protecting the outside. Unfortunately, they do not offer tours to see the Star Gate.
Camping with a view
Pike’s Peak, also referred to as America’s Mountain, creates the iconic backdrop of Colorado Springs and Peterson AFB. Families will soon be able to enjoy the view while camping right here on Peterson. The coming “FamCamp” site is scheduled to be finished in 2019. Currently Airmen and family members can enjoy the community garden, disc golf course and a nine-hole put-put course.
There is much to do on base as well as off-base in the Centennial State. Check ITT for trips, go to www.visitcos.com to see local events, or log on to www.nps.gov/colorado to plan a trip to one of the national parks nearby.