Rich J. Nolan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




In 1954 the Air Force decided to locate two air bases in North Dakota. After deciding on locations at Fargo and Bismarck, the Air Force then changed the locations to Grand Forks and Minot. The decision created an uproar in the state as each major city fought to receive a base. Another controversy erupted over the site selection within Grand Forks County when the Air Force changed the locations from its original choice.

A wide variety of research sources were used in the the paper. The papers of United States Senator Milton R. Young were extensively used. Government documents in the form of court cases, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers documents, and Congressional were greatly utilized. The author examined numerous newspapers and conducted many personal interviews. A large number of secondary sources were also employed, including numerous books and articles on the development of the Air Force in the 1950's.

Based upon its required mission and goal at that time, the Air Force selected the correct sites in North Dakota for the two air bases. The controversy broke out as each North Dakota city competed for a base and the Air Force failed to explain all the factors in selecting each site.