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History of Maxwell Air Force Base

Montgomery is home to historic Maxwell-Gunter AFB.

In February 1910 Wilbur Wright opened one of the world's earliest flying schools on an old cotton plantation owned by Frank D. Kohn. The Wright brothers were given the land free of charge by some local business men who were excited over the prospect of having a flight school located here. In addition to the land the businessmen also agreed to build a hanger and provide transportation to and from Montgomery.

The Wright brothers left Montgomery and returned to Dayton, OH and a few weeks later on May 27, 1910 they sent a telegram back directing the school to be closed. The next day the bi-plane was disassembled and put on frieght cars and sent to Indianapolis, Indiana.

2 Lt William C. Maxwell In 1918 the army leased the land from local business leaders to use as an aviation repair depot where military planes were maintained and overhauled. It was affectionately known as "Wright Field," since it was the same site used by the Wrights in 1910.

The name of the field changed several times over the next few years until it was finally named Maxwell Field in honor of 2d Lt William C. Maxwell. Lt Maxwell was a native of Atmore, Alabama and was killed in the Phillipines on Augest 12, 1920 when he swerved his DH-4 aircraft and struck a flagpole to avoid hitting a group of children at play.

Maxwell AFB became flight operational on November 30, 1921 when the 22d Squadron (later Observation) moved to Montgomery.

On 12 March 1946, Maxwell was designated as Air University (AU). Throughout its history, the basic mission of Air University has been to develop future planners and leaders of the United States Air Force. It continues that proud tradition today as a major component of Air Education and Training Command.


Here are some of the aircraft that was assigned to Maxwell AFB over the years.

42nd Group

B-18 Aug 41-Oct 41

B-26 Oct 41-Mar 43

B-25 1942-10 May 46


42nd Wing

B-36 1 Apr 53-6 Sep 56

KC-97G 15 Feb 55-16 Dec 57

B-52C 16 Jun 56-Jan 57
B-52D Jan 57-7 Jul 59
B-52G 21 May 59-16 Nov 93

KC-135A 16 Oct 57-7 May 90
KC-135R 25 May 89-2 Mar 94

C-21 1 Oct 94-present


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