Holloman AFB was originally established in 1942 as Alamogordo Air Field six miles west of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Initial construction began at the airfield February 6, 1942. The base was re-named in 1948 after Col. George Holloman, a Rich Square, N.C., native, who was a pioneer in early rocket and pilot-less aircraft research. Personnel from Holloman AFB have participated in numerous operations and conflicts such as: Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Allied Force, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operations Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and many more. Holloman personnel also provided presidential support for President Clinton's visit to China in June 1998 and the 49th Medical Group deployment of an air transportable hospital to Guyana to support deployed U.S. military personnel and Guyana citizens in July 1997. Holloman personnel also assist White Sands Missile Range personnel in supporting the White Sands Space Harbor as an alternate runway for NASA space shuttle missions. The space shuttle Columbia landed at WSSH March 30, 1982 and 1,400 Holloman personnel supported that landing.