Remembering the War that Saved the World

The National Cold War Museum, located on Eaker Air Force Base, will be recognized as a major tourist attraction in Arkansas that will provide an immersive and authoritative experience in informing, interpreting and honoring the legacy of the Cold War.

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Air Force Jet Plane

The Vision

Never Forget

For those Americans not alive during the Cold War, it’s difficult to imagine living under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. But that was the reality of the Cold War – a time we cannot afford to forget. That is the purpose of the National Cold War Museum, to create a place where these historical events will never be forgotten and the human experiences will be preserved for and shared with generations to come. The museum will tell the story of the brave men and women who guarded the fragile peace between two powerful nations.

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History of the Base

BLYTHEVILLE AFB OPENED

Blytheville Air Force Base opened in 1942 as Blytheville Army Airfield, a World War II pilot training facility. The Strategic Air Command (SAC) program was established in 1946 to oversee the Army Air Force’s long-range bombing forces and to conduct long-range offensive operations in any part of the world. That same year, the Blytheville base was designated a Strategic Air Command operation.

Photo of military personnel in front of Blytheville Air Force sign.

"Alert Mission" Developed

In 1957, plans were developed for an “alert mission” that would allow bomber crews to become airborne within 15 minutes and able to quickly strike the Soviet Union, providing a true deterrent to military aggression by the Communist nation.

United State Air Force Bomber Plane dropping bombs above the clouds.

Strategic Air Command

By April of 1958, the Tactical Air Command at Blytheville Air Force Base began its conversion to the Strategic Air Command alert mission. SAC created the 4229th Air Base Squadron to facilitate the operational control of the base at Blytheville. The new SAC alert facility would include a bomber alert crew readiness building and an alert apron where aircraft could be constantly on standby. With the completion of a weapons storage facility and the arrival of B-52 bombers and KC135 jet tankers, the mission would be at full operational strength by 1962. The SAC alert mission would continue operations at Blytheville Air Force Base for the next 28 years – through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and the “new” Cold War weapons build-up in the 1980s.

United States Air Force fighter planes in attack formation in the sky.

Renamed Eaker AFB

By the time the base was renamed Eaker Air Force Base – after World War II General Ira Eaker – in May of 1988, the Cold War was winding down. The mission of SAC was beginning to wane as tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union eased due to new communications and cooperation between the two countries.

United States Air Force planes on the landing strip at the base.

Cold War Ended

With the signing of the Treaty of Conventional Forces in 1990 and the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty a year later, the Cold War was officially over. By September 1991, the Strategic Air Command mission would be inactivated, thus retiring the B-52 fleet and effectively ending air force activity at Blytheville/Eaker Air Force Base.

The crowd at the Berlin Wall in Germany the day it fell.
A blue print of the base.

Phase Development

1

Study, Research, Evaluation

Strategic information gathering and research for the museum conducted. Team members assembled, direction for development and fundraising begins.

2

Blytheville Air Force Base Exhibit

Opening of the first major on-site exhibit and welcome area for operations of The National Cold War Museum project. Scheduled to open in early 2020. Major fund development is launched with individuals, corporations and grantmakers.

3

The National Cold War Museum Opening

Doors will open to the museum that honors and remembers the war that saved the world. On-site experiences including a Welcome Center, self-guided tours, Alert Tower, B52 bombers. Cold War Legacy Gallery, and more.

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A guy on a motorcyle riding under the US Hwy 61 Arch.
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