The book “Images of America: Luke Air Force Base,” by author Rick Griset, will be released from Arcadia Publishing Monday, March 2.
Luke Air Force Base, created in less than a year from desert scrub and farmland, stands some 20 miles west of Phoenix. Construction began March 31, 1941, months before the U.S. entered World War II, according to an Arcadia Publishing news release. That summer the Army Air Corps named Luke Field after World War I hero and triple ace Frank Luke Jr.
Some pilots from Luke Field’s first class flew from air fields in Hawaii during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
From the beginning, Luke Field trained fighter pilots, as it does today, Arcadia notes. Over the years the Luke Air Force Base was home to 14 primary fighter aircraft, graduated over 60,000 students, and accounted for millions of training flight hours.
Of the pilots who trained at Luke Field, a number became aces, including the all-time U.S. leading ace, Maj. Richard I Bong. For decades Luke Air Force Base has been home to more fighter aircraft than any other base in the United States, earning the moniker “Fighter Country.”
Mr. Griset selected the best images from Luke Air Force Base’s extensive historical photographic archives and called on the base’s records and most knowledgeable people to narrate this visual flight through the history of Luke Air Force Base.