U.S. Air Force officials announced the air defense headquarters at Geiger Field was being raised from squadron to wing status.
The change means that Geiger would direct other squadrons to be brought to Spokane and other Northwest bases.
Officials also confirmed plans to base fighters out of Geiger without specifying which aircraft they plan to bring. The change also means that fighters at Larson Air Force Base in Moses Lake will be directed by the wing stationed at Geiger.
Some 44 U.S. soldiers were killed when a U.S. Air Force transport crashed into a mountain in South Korea.
The troops had just finished a brief rest in Japan and were returning to action when the crash of the C-119 Flying Boxcar occurred.
The plane was carrying 37 service members and a crew of seven. The crash was deemed the worst transport disaster since the Korean War began.