Bigger Skies

Copyright 2017, Scott D. Murdock


I seem to visit Wyoming and Montana every year, and 2016 was no exception. Another fire lookout visit was on my agenda, so adding a few days to explore old military sites seemed appropriate.

Friday, 19 Aug 2016

On this trip I covered some unfamiliar ground in Wyoming, seeking out a few closed Wyoming National Guard armories.

Sergeant George B. Hittner NG Armory WY 41-47-48, 107-14-28 This armory in Rawlins was built in 1957 and was closed in 1999.

Riverton NG Armory WY 43-00-53, 108-22-52 This armory closed in 1999.
(General view)
(General view)

Colonel Jack A. Toth NG Armory WY 43-39-12, 108-12-16 This armory, in Thermopolis and named in honor of Colonel Jack A. Toth, also closed in 1999.
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Signage)

My destination for the night was Worland, Wyoming.

Saturday, 20 Aug 2016

More adventure, heading west through Wyoming then north into Montana.

Sergeant First Class Myron H. Burt NG Armory WY 44-30-47, 109-01-58 This armory, in Cody, was built in 1962.
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Entrance)
(Entrance signage)

Bridger 16MM6 Mini-MUTES MT (CJFQ) 45-12-45, 108-55-22 This electronic scoring facility was activated 1 Jul 1992, and disposed of 1 Jul 1996 It supported the Powell Electronic Scoring Site.
(Former access road)
(Gate)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(View inside fence)
(Electrical panel)

My destination for the night was Bozeman, Montana.

Sunday, 21 Aug 2016

From Bozeman I went north.

Rimini War Dog Reception and Training Center MT 46-31-24, 112-15-26 This base, sometimes known as Camp Rimini, trained sled and pack dogs for the Army. The land was acquired by use permit in Nov 1942, and the facility was declared surplus on 1 May 1944.
(General view from road)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Concrete remnants)
(Concrete remnants)

I drove on to Missoula, and met Dave Fields for lunch. Dave runs the Minuteman Missile web site, so we had an enjoyable time comparing notes and adventures. It was good to meet him in person after years of exchanging e-mails. From Missoula I headed north to my base camp in Columbia Falls, and prepared my gear for the next two days of backpacking.

Monday and Tuesday were devoted to hiking up to Baptiste Lookout and back after an overnight stay. On Wednesday I attempted to visit Eureka GFA MT, but normal access was closed due to fire conditions in that area.

Thursday, 25 Aug 2016

I checked out of my lodging in Columbia Falls and headed south.

Fort Missoula MT (HHUL, 30555) 46-50-30, 114-03-35 This post was established in 1877 and served until it was inactivated on 30 Sep 1999, a victim of the 1995 BRAC process. At the end of World War Two, the fort occupied 7,590 acres and was home to the Northwest Branch, US Disciplinary Barracks. Two portions of the fort were resurrected the day after base closure in 1999: The US Army Reserve controls the 0.88 acre Fort Missoula Cemetery, and the Montana Army National Guard controls the 13.71 acre Fort Missoula Army National Guard Training Site (since renamed as NG Fort Missoula - FMS 02), both established 1 Oct 1999.
(Facility T1 Post Headquarters)
(Facility T201 Noncommissioned Officer Quarters)
(Facility T203 Garage)
(Facility T310 Quarters)
(Facility T312 Clothing Repair)
(Facility T316 Post Engineer)
(Facility T322 Quartermaster Storehouse)
(Facility T323 Root Cellar)
(Facility T327 Oil Storage (L), T328 Motor Pool (R), T380 Garage (C))
(Facility T347 Guard House)
(Alien Detention Center barracks)
(Family housing units)

My destination for the night was Butte, Montana.

Friday, 26 Aug 2016

Today would be spent on the highway, heading back into Wyoming and covering a lot of ground.

Gillette LORAN-C Transmitter Site WY 44-00-11, 105-37-24 This Long Range Navigation site, with a 700' guyed radio mast, closed on 8 Feb 2010.
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)

My destination for the night was Gillette, Wyoming.

Saturday, 27 Aug 2016

I made an early start since I had a lot of stops planned.

Newcastle NG Armory WY 43-51-02, 104-11-33 This armory was constructed in 1960, and ceased use by the National Guard in the 1990s.
(General view)
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(General view)
(Detail)

Newcastle NG Stables WY 43-50-59, 104-11-34 These stables were constructed in 1936 as a WPA project. An adjacent riding hall was started, but never completed. The National Guard allowed Weston County to use it for a museum starting in 1966.
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)

Lusk NG Armory WY 42-45-42, 104-27-09 This armory was built in 1927 and served until the late 1960s.
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Detail)

Wheatland NG Field Maintenance Shop WY 42-03-09, 104-57-41 Originally built by Wyoming's Department of Transportation as a maintenance shop, it was traded to the National Guard in about 1955, then used as a Field Maintenance Shop. At an unknown date it was leased to the city of Wheatland but remains state property.
(General view)
(General view)

I stopped for the night in Wheatland, Wyoming. On Sunday I motored home. This ten-day adventure put 2,977 miles on the Outback.


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