The Corps provides support to Historical Barksdale Air Force Base


SWF Public Affairs
Published Feb. 6, 2023
Updated: Feb. 6, 2023

An old water tower with a Fleur-de-Lis dominates the landscape as one enters Barksdale Air Force Base.

The Fort Worth District, US Army Corps of Engineers has a small contingent of folks supporting the warfighters at Barksdale Air Force Base, a picturesque military installation in the heart of Bossier City, La.  

The District’s Eastern Area Office, led by Area Engineer, Gary Westby, coordinates their activities with their Air Force counterparts from Barksdale’s Civil Engineering Office.

The base features a historic Acadiana-style housing complex arrayed with grand houses of different pastel colors of light blue, pink, off white and light green.

An old water tower dominates the landscape as one drives through the center of the base, while Magnolia trees, the state flower of Louisiana accentuate the Southern charm and splendor of the base.

But did you know that Barksdale Air Force Base was originally an Army post? The installation opened in 1932 as Barksdale Field, named in honor of 1st. Lt. Eugene Barksdale, a WWI aviator and test pilot. The installation later became an Army Air Corps flying school in November of 1940.

Barksdale Field was re-established as Barksdale Air Force Base in February of 1948 after the United States Air Force became a separate military branch.

A base established over 90 years ago with many of the original buildings still standing can pose some significant renovation and upgrade challenges. Many structures are on the historic registry which presents a different set of challenges when making renovations and repairs.

In addition to innate design and contracting capabilities, Barksdale taps the expertise of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command to design and build projects. Each organization provides unique strengths that the base can capitalize on, according to Barksdale Air Force Base civil engineering officials.

Although currently there are no ongoing construction projects at Barksdale, there are two projects that are currently being advertised and a few other projects in the design phase.

“The Fort Worth District is advertising the Joint Global Special Operation Center/Joint Nuclear Operation Center, a $25 million project, with bids due in February 2023. We are also working with an AE on the design for the Ground Base Strategic Defense building where the design is approximately 35 percent complete,” added Westby.

As with many other aging and historic structures, the infrastructure at Barksdale has undergone some upgrades to bring them up to current environmental standards, but still more work remains. Currently, the Eastern Area Office is working a few environmental compliance projects to support these efforts.

For example, the Eastern Area Office is conducting a base wide Hanger Fire Suppression Evaluation project to ensure harmful chemicals are no longer on the premises. At the conclusion of the project, the Corps will provide findings and recommendations to bring the hangers into compliance with federal regulations.

“The Eastern Area Office will also administer the renovation of an existing hanger, a $50 million Corrosion Control project,” said Westby. “The goal of this project is to renovate the existing aircraft wash facility to bring it into conformance with current Air Force standards for Corrosion Control Facilities.”

Providing support to other services has its challenges due to differences in terminology, regulations and procedures. So, it is vital that the Corps personnel at the Eastern Area Office partner and collaborate continuously with their Air Force counterparts at the Civil Engineering Office.

Westby and his team will continue to build upon their relationship with the base civil engineers, airmen and family members as they provide enhancements and renovations to this unique and historic installation.