384 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI Although the War Department called for the deactivation of the base in 1946, events leading up to the Korean War led to its reopening as a contract flying school in 1950. By 1955, Strategic Air Command had assumed control of the base, which was enlarged to include another runway and a 480-unit family housing project. Soon thereafter, in 1957, the Columbus base was designated the home to a B-52 and jet refueling squadron. Throughout the 1960s, the base was home to important Air Force Strategic and Bombing Wings, which played significant roles in the Pacific and Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. The town grew as a result. Between 1950 and 1980, the population expanded STARK AEROSPACE Stark Aerospace, Inc., a subsidiary of IAI North America, was established in 2006 with the mission to advance aerospace and defense technologies, products, services, and systems to enhance the security of the United States and add value for its stakeholders. Stark Aerospace is headquartered in Columbus at the Golden Triangle Regional Global Industrial Aerospace Park. The 120,000 square foot state-of-the-art production facility produces a wide range of aerospace composite, metal, mechanical, and electrical assemblies. Stark’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Division produces the ArrowLite small UAS system and supports the U.S. Army Hunter MQ-5B UAS. The Sensors Division assembles and repairs Plug-In Optronic Payloads (POP), including variants of the POP300 (D, HD, I, LR) used on the Army RQ-7 Shadow UAS. Also in Columbus, Stark Defense Services is comprised of highly qualified and trained former Special Operations Forces operators working to provide field services and develop technical manuals, operator checklists, and training curriculum and courseware for Stark products. from 17,000 to 27,000. Even today, the Columbus base remains an important part of the town and vibrant force in the local economy. There were more than just structural economic changes happening postwar. Because the war had made electrification available to rural areas of these counties for the first time, Clay Hills residents were able to partake of the explosion in the United States’consumer goods economy postwar. In Starkville, Harry Lawson McIngvale, Sr., took advantage of the situation to sell and repair appliances for locals. McIngvale, a Starkville native and Mississippi A & M graduate, had been a civilian employee PHOTOS COURTESY OF STARK AEROSPACE