Torrejón Air Base opened officially on 1 June 1957 with SAC activating the 3970th Strategic Wing on 1 July 1957. The base hosting Sixteenth Air Force as well as SAC's 65th Air Division (Defense) where it cooperated with Spanish Air Force units in the Air Defense Direction Centers (ADDCs). The 65th Air Division directed base construction, and the establishment of off-base housing and radar sites. The division's fighter squadrons flew air defense interceptions over Spanish airspace.
With the phaseout of the B-47 from SAC in the mid-1960s, the need for SAC European bases diminished. The Sixteenth Air Force was turned over to United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE) on 15 April 1966 and the strategic focus changed to tactical. Prior to 1966, Torrejón AB hosted TDY squadrons of tactical aircraft rotating from CONUS TAC bases which would perform 30-day rotations to Aviano Air Base Italy and Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.
With the USAFE takeover of the base, Tactical Air Command transferred the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing from England Air Force Base Louisiana to USAFE on a permanent basis to Torrejón on 27 April 1966, to perform host functions at the base and to support the rotational TDY duty to Italy and Turkey for NATO alerts.
Operational squadrons were:
- 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron (blue tail stripe)
- 613th Tactical Fighter Squadron (yellow tail stripe)
- 614th Tactical Fighter Squadron (red tail stripe)
This book tells the history of Torrejón Air Base from 1953 to 1992.