Installation Info: Zip Code: 85309, Area Code: 623, DSN: 896
The largest fighter aircraft training base in the world, Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz., 15 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix is home to the 56th Fighter Wing and the 944th Fighter Wing (Reserve). Named for the first aviator to receive the Medal of Honor posthumously, the base honors Lt. Frank Luke Jr. During World War I, the "Arizona Balloon Buster" destroyed 14 German observation balloons in the skies over France when attacking the heavily defended balloons was considered suicidal. At age 21, he was fatally shot in a gunfight in 1918. The Dysart School District operates an elementary school on base; older children attend schools in the same district. The 20-bed Luke AFB Hospital provides health care.
About 3 million people live in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Sports fans follow teams in all four major sports as well as state universities that sometimes contend for national titles. Local attractions include the Petrified Forest and Monument Valley, where rock monoliths tower from the valley floor. About 200 miles away, the Grand Canyon offers a rainbow of desert colors and hues, with helicopter and airplane tours for the adventurous. Base recreation includes: Officers and Enlisted clubs; bowling; pool; library; youth and fitness centers; tennis; volleyball; softball; parks; skiing; auto, arts and crafts hobby shops.