Located on what was once a sleepy southern cotton field, Barksdale Air Force Base has grown to become one of the largest military bases in the United States. Today, the base covers more than 22,000 acres in Bossier City. BAFB was dedicated on February 2, 1993, and named in honor of Lt. Eugene Hoy Barksdale, an American active in the R.A.F during World War I. Lt. Barksdale was officially credited with the destruction of five enemy aircrafts. After the war, he became a test pilot and lost his life while testing an observation-type aircraft over McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio.
Barksdale serves as the headquarters for the Air Force Global Strike Command, Mighty 8th Air Force, 2nd Bomb Wing, 307th Bomb Wing, the 8th Air Force Museum, and is still home to the 917th Fighter Group and Air Force and Navy Reserve components. In 1996, the U.S. Senate passed a bill funding military construction at Barksdale Air Force Base, allowing continued modernization and efficiency in the coordination of troops, missions and B52 bombers. Barksdale remains on the forefront of military readiness. In 2011, Barksdale was chosen as one of two finalists for the 2012 Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence, which recognizes "the outstanding efforts of the people who operate and maintain Department of Defense installations and who have done the best with their resources to support the mission," according to Air Force instructions.
Barksdale Air Force Base employs over 17,000 active and civilian personnel with a payroll of over $488 million. Current total estimated economic impact to the Bossier Parish region is nearly $1 billion.