As the host unit for Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, the 42nd Air Base Wing's mission is critical to national security; it provides the foundation for success for Air University, the intellectual and leadership center of the Air Force; the 908th Airlift Wing; the Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate; and more than 30 tenant units.
The Wing ensures Airmen are ready to deploy in support of U.S. military operations worldwide and takes a proactive approach to promoting their professional and personal growth. The Wing is also responsible for the safety and security of the base, which it accomplishes through force protection, maintaining and modernizing facilities and infrastructure, and seeking efficient new ways of conducting operations.
With a population of more than 12,500 active duty, reserve, civilian and contractor personnel, the Maxwell-Gunter community has a significant economic and cultural impact on the River Region.
By the 1920s, Montgomery became an important link in the growing system of aerial mail service. It was in the early 1930s when the Army Air Corps Tactical School moved to Maxwell and Montgomery became the country's intellectual center for airpower education.
In 1994, the 42nd Air Base Wing, which had its own history of bombardment and air refueling missions since the early 1940s, was transferred to Maxwell Air Force Base from Loring Air Force Base, which closed that year.
The location of Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base is home to a proud tradition of aviators and airpower advocates, dating all the way back to the Wright Brothers' flying school, which was built on this site in 1910. In May of that year, the first recorded heavier-than-air night flights in aviation history occurred here. One newspaper article written at the time noted that the Wright flyer was seen "glinting now and then in the moonlight."