Dover Air Force Base was established in March 1941, when the United States Army Air Corps determined the need for a training airfield, and assumed jurisdiction over the municipal airport at Dover, Delaware. Construction of runways, hangars, taxiways and a control tower began immediately, and the airfield opened on December 17, 1941. With the end of WWII, the number of personnel at the base was reduced to a housekeeping unit, until reactivated by the Military Air Transport Service in 1954. Since that time, it has developed into one of the largest military freight terminals in the world, and is home to the 436th Airlift Wing (the Eagle Wing) and the 512th Airlift Wing (the Liberty Wing.)
The Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs at Dover AFB is the Department of Defense's largest joint-service mortuary facility, and the only one located in the continental United States. The remains of fallen members from all five branches of the service who are killed in combat are processed here and prepared for burial before being escorted to their final destination (as determined by the survivors.) The Joint Personal Effects Depot, which supports recovery and redistribution of the personal effects of wounded and killed personnel from all arms of the military, is also located at this site.
The city of Dover is located in Central Delaware in Kent County, and is the state capital. Dover is approximately 90 miles south of Philadelphia, PA; 40 miles south of Wilmington, DE; and 90 miles east of Washington, DC. While its population is significantly less than that of Wilmington, Dover encompasses a larger geographical area than any other city on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Dover supports four school districts and five colleges. The Dover Public Library and the Delaware State Library are available to residents at no charge.
Kent County has rich green farmlands bordered by coastal marshes; and these wetlands are home to thousands of Canada geese, egrets and other migratory birds. Local roads are dotted with colorful produce markets, charming historic towns and waterside fishing villages.
Dover boasts a traditional small-town atmosphere and is a city of Colonial, Georgian and Victorian homes, where horse-drawn buggies from the nearby Amish community are a common sight on city streets. You can enjoy a stroll along brick sidewalks, browse in specialty shops and tour the many historic museums and government buildings. On "The Green," you can stand on the very corner where, in 1787, delegates to Delaware's Constitutional Convention were the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution, making Delaware the "First State." Numerous events are held around the city, ranging from 4th of July fireworks to art festivals, and Christmas Caroling on the Green to holiday parades.
The First State Heritage Park is the state's first "park without boundaries," which links historical and cultural sites in Dover. Major park sites are open throughout the week.
Calm lakes, inland bays and the open waters of the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean provide excellent boating and sailing. Access to these waters is provided by 50+ boat ramps found at the more than 30 public millponds and at tidal areas. In fact, there are three beaches (Bowers Beach, Kitts Hummock and Pickering) within a ten-minute drive of Dover.
If camping's your thing, Killen's Pond State Park camp ground is located approximately 12 miles Southeast of Dover. In addition, there are state parks within an hour's drive of Dover which offer canoeing, kayaking, hiking and camping.
For golfers, Dover Par 3 and Driving Range is located right in Dover, and there are two public courses nearby (Jonathan's Landing in Magnolia and Garrisons Lake Golf Club in Smyrna).
Dover Downs hosts NASCAR and Craftsman Truck racing as well as harness racing and a premier slots and gaming facility. Every year during the NASCAR season, the population of Dover expands from 30,000 to 200,000+ with racing enthusiasts from throughout the United States. With premium hotels available and RVs in abundance, Dover is a flag bearer for NASCAR fans every June and September. Harrington, Delaware boasts Midway Slots and gaming along with harness racing excitement, and is the home of the annual State Fair.
Like the beach? Forty miles south of Dover in Sussex County are five seaside resort towns, each with its own unique personality, offering access to the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. For bargain hunters, there are over 140 outlet stores along Route 1, as well as numerous antique shops and boutiques. And remember, shopping is tax-free throughout Delaware!
Delaware's climate is moderate year round, and it has four distinct seasons. Average monthly temperatures range from 32 to 76, and about 57% of our days are sunny. Annual precipitation is approximately 45 inches.
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