The airport was Roswell Army International Airfield during World War II, and Walker Air Force Base during the Cold War. When it closed, the 4,600 acre base was the largest of the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command. Roswell International Air Center (RIAC) was developed after the closure of Walker Air Force Base on June 30, 1967.
Walker AFB was named after General Kenneth Newton Walker, a native of Los Cerrillos, New Mexico. He was killed during a bombing mission over Rabaul, Papua New Guinea on January 5, 1943. Though intercepted by enemy fighters, his group scored direct hits on nine Japanese ships. General Walker was last seen leaving the target area with one engine on fire and several fighters on his tail. For his actions, General Walker was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. The base was renamed in his honor on January 13, 1948.
In 1966 the Air Force announced that Walker AFB would close. This was during a round of base closings and consolidations as the Defense Department struggled to pay the expenses of the Vietnam War within the budgetary limits set by Congress.
RIAC is also known for the Roswell UFO incident, an event that allegedly occurred on July 4, 1947. It is alleged that a “flying disk” crashed during a severe thunderstorm near RIAC at Corona, New Mexico.
The site was used for several years to launch stratospheric balloons for Air Force projects.
RIAC also serves as a storage facility for a number of retired Airbus A300-600R wide body jetliners formerly operated by American Airlines.
The airport was used by Felix Baumgartner to launch his record-breaking freefall jump from the stratosphere on October 14, 2012.
Air Center Director
Scott’s love of aviation began when he was very young. His father took him to a small airport and left him with a friend at the airport while he was taking flying lessons. He’s been hooked ever since. Scott earned his private pilot license in 1989. While he was researching how to get into a pilot job, he discovered the Air Traffic Control occupation.He had a 24 year career as an Air Traffic Controller, working at 3 different air traffic control facilities in Louisiana and New Mexico, eventually moving into management in 2007. While in the FAA, Scott volunteered for several temporary assignments including EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI, working as a controller and supervisor for 7 years. Scott retired from the FAA as Air Traffic Manager of the Roswell Air Traffic Control Tower in 2013.
The day after retiring from the FAA he began work for the City of Roswell as the Airport Property Manager. In 2015 Scott moved into the Air Center Manager position and in 2016 was made Interim Air Center Director. In 2017 Scott was chosen as the permanent Air Center Director.
Mr. Stark is involved in the airport professional community and his local community serving as:
- Vice President of the New Mexico Airport Managers Association.
- New Mexico Director for the South Central Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives.
- Volunteer firefighter and Assistant Chief for the rural fire department in Arabela, NM.
Air Center Deputy Director
Steve is an experienced business development and planning professional. He brings a multiple-disciplined background to the Roswell Air Center.
Steve served in the U.S. Air Force as member of RED HORSE, whose mission is to move quickly to support special operations or contingency operations worldwide. He has extensive experience in the in regulatory-compliance sector. Other experiences include organizational and team development, best practices coaching, project and program management, social enterprise development and professional writing.
Steve says, “I am a highly energetic, adaptable, multi-disciplined leader. I utilize long-term approaches to achieve goals and objectives. I am operationally patient in addressing complexities, systems and people. I strive to inspire and influence environments where people feel valued while energizing a truly sustainable operation.”
Airport Security Coordinator
In the current role, Karavdic provides leadership, training and information to the Roswell Air Center. His additional experiences also include Security Threat Assessment, Disaster preparedness and response, and a variety of other safety-related areas.