Located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the 81st Training Wing is host to 2nd Air Force, the 403rd Wing (AF Reserve) and the single largest employer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Keesler trains more than 28,000 students annually with an average daily student load of more than 2,700. The 81st TRW is a lead Joint Training Installation, instructing not only Air Force, but Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and civilian federal agency personnel. Keesler’s mission is enduring.
We provide a wide array of capabilities in over 160 career field specialty training courses from 8 operating locations in the continental United States. Our mission is not only to technically training warfighters, but to develop and inspire them.
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In early January 1941, Biloxi city officials assembled a formal offer to invite the U.S. Army Corps to build a base to support the WWII training buildup. The package included an early airport, the old Naval Reserve Park, and parts of Oak Park sufficient to support a technical training school with a population of 5,200 people.
On 6 March 1941, the War Department officially notified Mayor Braun that Biloxi had been selected. The War Department activated Army Air Corps Station No. 8, Aviation Mechanics School, Biloxi, Mississippi, on 12 June 1941. City officials wanted the base named after a notable figure in the local area's history, but it was War Department policy to name installations after service members killed in action. In late June, Mayor Braun received word that the new school would be named in honor of 2d Lt Samuel Reeves Keesler, Jr., of Greenwood, Mississippi. Lieutenant Keesler had died of wounds during World War I while serving in France as an aerial observer assigned to the 24th Aero Squadron, U.S. Army Air Service. On 25 August 1941, Army Air Corps Station No. 8 was officially designated as Keesler Army Airfield.
The 81 st Training Wing replaced Keesler Training Center in July 1993, taking on the mission of specialized technical training in electronics, computers, maintenance, weather, radar, precision measurement, network controllers, and personnel and information management for the U.S. Air Force, the Air Force Reserve, the Air National Guard, other DOD agencies and foreign nations.
The Second Air Force mission is to provide the best-trainined, combat-ready forces! To carry out this mission, Second Air Force manages all operational aspects of nearly 2,700 active training courses taught to approximately 150,000 students annually in technical training, basic military training, medical and distance learning courses. Training operations across Second Air Force range from intelligence to computer operations to space and missile operations and maintenance. Courses are primarily taught at four resident training wings - Keesler; Goodfellow, Lackland and Sheppard Air Force Bases, Texas; and a training group located at Vandenberg AFB, California. Aside from the resident bases, Second Air Force operates 92 training detachments around the world, which provide advanced aircraft maintenance continuation training. Headquarters Second Air Force accomplishes its mission through the work in four main arenas: Joint Expeditionary Tasking, Mission Support, Staff Judge Advocate and Safety.