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Lieutenant Luke was shot down at Murvaux between Verdun and Stenay, France, on 29 September 1918, after he had destroyed three enemy balloons. began excavation for the first building at what was known then as Litchfield Park Air Base.
Surviving the crash of his Spad, Lieutenant Luke drew two pistols and fired on German soldiers, killing several of them before he was killed. Army sent a representative to Arizona to choose a site for an Army Air Corps training field for advanced training in conventional fighter aircraft. Another base known as Luke Field, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, released its name so the Arizona base could be called Luke Field.
Approximately 60 hours of flying instruction covered formation flying, navigation, and instrument flying, as well as a bit of aerial acrobatics.
A World War II film "A Guy Named Joe" included some footage filmed at Luke.
By 1946, however, the number of pilots trained dropped to 299 and the base was deactivated 30 November that year.
During World War II, Luke Field was the largest fighter training base in the Army Air Forces, graduating more than 12,000 fighter pilots from advanced and operational courses earning the nickname, “Home of the Fighter Pilot.” The base was under the control of the 37th Flying Training Wing (Advanced Single-Engine), Western Flying Training Command, AAF Flying Training Command.
During the years of World War II, more than 17,000 pilots trained at Luke Field, making it the largest single engine advanced flying training school in the U. More than a million hours of flying were logged, primarily in the AT-6 Texan, along with some transitioning to P-40 Warhawk fighters and later the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt.
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Luke Air Force Base (IATA: LUF, ICAO: KLUF, FAA LID: LUF) is a United States Air Force base located 7 miles (6.1 nmi; 11 km) west of the central business district of Glendale, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States.