Hill Air Force Base History

In July 1939 Congress appropriated $8 million for the establishment and construction of the Ogden Air Depot. In December of that year the War Department named the site “Hill Field,” in honor of Major Ployer Peter Hill, Chief of the Flying Branch of the Air Corps Material Division at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Major Hill had died as a result of injuries received from the crash of the Boeing experimental aircraft Model 299 at Wright Field, the prototype of what would later become the famous B-17 Flying Fortress.

The official groundbreaking ceremonies for Hill Field were held on January 12, 1940, although actual construction of the base had already begun. The first Commander of the Ogden Air Depot, Colonel Morris Berman, arrived at Hill Field on November 7, 1940, marking the beginning of official operations at the field.

On September 26, 1947 the Army Air Corps became the United States Air Force, ending an association with the Army that had lasted 40 years. Following an Air Force-wide pattern of renaming “fields” as “bases,” Hill Field became Hill Air Force Base on February 5, 1948.

From modest beginnings, Hill AFB now ranks as Utah’s largest employer. The presence of the installation injects tremendous growth into the Utah economy. Hill Air Force Base has a storied history. From the early days during the 1940’s through the current day, HAFB has been one of the top installations of the United States Air Force.

Click on one of the images below to see a detailed timeline of each decade of Hill Air Force Base.