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Hill Air Force Base celebrates 80th anniversary

  • Published
  • By Richard W. Essary
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- In 2020, Hill Air Force Base will celebrate its 80th anniversary with a series of events and activities to honor the base’s innovations and achievements along with the mission platforms that have been operated and supported throughout the decades.

“Hill Air Force Base’s rich heritage over the past 80 years was founded on hard work, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, and excellence,” said Col. Jon Eberlan, 75th Air Base Wing commander. “As we have done from the beginning, we continue to generate world-class readiness and provide combat air power anytime, anywhere.”

Celebratory activities will take place throughout the year and carry the theme “80 Years of Excellence” beginning with the Hill AFB 80th Anniversary Celebration held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Hill Aerospace Museum.

This inaugural event will include a number of featured guests, displays and special activities to commemorate the base’s history. The event will be free and open to the public.

Event schedule:

9 a.m.
• Museum opens

10 a.m.
• Remarks by base officials and 80th coin and lithograph unveiling
• Presentation by retired Air Force Lt. Col. Jay Hess, a Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war

11 a.m.
• Unit demonstrations/displays

1 p.m.
• Presentation by retired Air Force Col. James Sullivan, an SR-71 Blackbird pilot

2 p.m.
• Presentation by retired Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen, the famed Candy Bomber

Then June 27-28, the public will be invited to Hill AFB’s Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show: 80 Years of Excellence. This free event open to the public will feature the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration squadron, the F-35A demonstration team, and dozens of other military and civilian aerial performances and static displays.

“This year, we honor the past and the incredible contributions of Hill Air Force Base to our nation’s defense,” Eberlan said. “It’s important we thank our community and the state of Utah for their continued support, and that we work to inspire the next generation of military and civilian Airmen to carry on the tradition of excellence.”

Hill AFB traces its roots to 1934 when the operation of a temporary Air Corps depot in Salt Lake City, in place to support airmail operations, brought attention to senior military and civilian leaders, that northern Utah could be a possible site for a permanent air depot.

Later, Congress appropriated $8 million for construction of a base in July 1939 and by December of that year the War Department named the site "Hill Field" in honor of Maj. Ployer P. Hill.

Official groundbreaking for construction of Hill Field occurred Jan. 12, 1940.

For more information about 80th events and activities, visit