by Staff Sgt. Darren Scott
460th Space Wing Public Affairs
1/28/2016 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Students
from William Smith high school in Aurora, Colorado, visited Buckley Air
Force Base Jan. 27 to learn a little bit about the base's history
during World War II.
Christopher McCune, 460th Space Wing historian, talked to 25 students
about Buckley AFB's role throughout history. McCune has been the wing
historian for a little over one year and said it was the first time he
has had the pleasure of leading a tour himself.
"The teacher actually called me about three or four weeks ago, asking
about the possibility of bringing the kids onto the base," McCune said.
Ryan Clapp, William Smith High School teacher, says the base was an
obvious choice to visit based on what the students are studying.
"We've been looking at local Word War II history, bringing the war to a
more personal level," said Clapp. "Naturally, our next door neighbors at
Buckley AFB seemed like perfect candidates."
The students traveled to Buckley AFB as part of a day-long field trip,
which also included a trip to the Wings Over the Rockies Museum in
Denver. McCune taught the group about the wing's current space-based
missile warning mission and gave them an idea of what Buckley AFB was
like more than 60 years ago using a presentation, historical photos and
"There was a lot going on here during the second World War," said
McCune. "It wasn't just an armament training school. We had basic
training going on here. They went through all the same drills that any
basic training curriculum did at that time period, including combat
skills training, bayonets, marching, field skills and everything else."
McCune also revealed that there was once a women's Army Auxiliary Corps
and a segregated African-American unit on Buckley AFB. The history of
the base mirrored significant moments and changes in history that were
taking place all over the nation.
Clapp said the group enjoyed the visit and was very thankful for McCune's time and expertise.
"Few of our students have ever been on base, and it was a fantastic
opportunity to connect the sometimes abstract Word War II on a local
level," said Clapp. "Christopher McCune was incredibly generous with his
time in relating the history he's unearthed."
McCune hopes this visit won't be the last. He would like to reach out to
local schools as the historian, give presentations or host visits just
like this one.
"I've already had teachers asking me if I can put them in touch for a visit," said Clapp.
"It goes back to a roll as diplomats to the local community," McCune
said. "What we do here still affects the local community in a lot of
ways. There's also the impact of the importance of providing these kids
with an idea of what things were like during this time period in
history, which is extremely significant in the development of where this
country is today."