92 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE Keesler Air Force Base is proud of its seventy-six years of heritage and is home to the 81st Training Wing and the 403rd Air Reserve Wing. When Keesler first opened in 1941, it was the Army Air Corps’ schoolhouse. Today, Keesler graduates are assigned to expeditionary air, space, and cyber forces all around the world, supporting both combat and non-combat missions. Keesler is also home to the world-famous Hurricane Hunters, who investigate and collect data from tropical storms, keeping Mississippi Gulf Coast residents and our nation safe and informed. The base was named after aerial observer, 2nd Lieutenant Samuel Reeves Keesler Junior. Lieutenant Keesler was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and killed in action on October 9, 1918, during World War I. Today, Keesler trains an average of nearly 3,100 students per day and graduates more than 27,900 students a year in a variety of technical and administrative fields. The people who make up Team Keesler are its most important resource. As of 2016, Team Keesler was made up of more than 114,000 military members, civilian personnel, retirees, and their family members living in the region. Team Keesler is very proud of its heritage and the significant role it plays in training the country’s present and future war fighters. Keesler remains committed to having a world-class installation with the best trained Airmen in the world’s best Air Force. PHOTOS COURTESY OF KEESLER AIRFORCE BASE