Before Snow Flies

Copyright 2011, Scott D. Murdock


I've been wanting to revisit the Dalhart air fields for well over a year. I had the trip planned for autumn 2010 but I didn't get to it in time. The snow fell, and winter happened. After a couple of false starts in summer 2011, I finally took the trip in early autumn. Most of this trip is revisits rather than first-time visits.

Friday, 7 Oct 2011

I departed Denver at 0600, heading east then south.

La Junta AAFld CO This was a pilot school during W.W.II, under Army Air Forces Training Command. It was declared surplus 30 Jun 1945. I was pleased to find the 5-vault concrete portion of a Norden bombsight storage and maintenance building (I had overlooked this in 1998). Located at 38-03-00, 103-30-45, this is now La Junta Municipal Airport (LHX). I was also pleased to find three structures in the weapons storage area, including a Richmond magazine -- the only one I have ever seen at an airfield.
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains detail)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains detail)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains detail)

(Foundation)

(Hangar)

(Hangar)

(Hangar)

(Hangar)

(Concrete supports)

(Building)

(Building)

(Hangar door tracks)

(Ordnance building)

(Ordnance building)

(Ordnance building)

(Richmond magazine)

(Richmond magazine)

(Richmond magazine)

(Richmond magazine)

(Richmond magazine)

(Richmond magazine)

(Richmond magazine detail)
(Richmond magazine detail)
(Segregated storage magazine)

(Segregated storage magazine)

(Segregated storage magazine)

(Segregated storage magazine)

(Segregated storage magazine)

(Rifle range target butt remains)

(Rifle range target butt remains)

(Rifle range target butt remains)

La Junta Radar Bomb Scoring Site (RBSS) CO (7910, MNDJ) This site had a large building with connecting ports for equipment trailers. In 1998 the building was signed "LEMAY TECH OPS FACILITY" but in 2011 it had a business name on the wall. It is located at the east end of the La Junta airfield ramp, at 38-02-36, 103-30-13. Unfortunately the compound was locked up, so I photographed from outside the fence. The present facility dates to about 1990, although adjacent land may have been used by the Air Force since the late 1940s. The site was closed 7 Dec 2001.
(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(Sign)
(Sign)
(Sign)
(Sign)
(Sign)
(Building)
(Building)

La Junta Mini-MUTE 1MM5 CO (MNDB) This small emitter site at 37-57-58, 103-23-22, supported La Junta RBSS. It was activated 14 Sep 1993 and disposed of 15 Apr 2002. It had been remediated after closure. The title "Mini-MUTE" is a variation on the acronym MUTES, which stands for Multiple Threat Emitter System.
(General view)
(General view)
(Debris)
(Debris)
(Debris)

La Junta Mini-MUTE 1MM6 CO (MNDD) This small emitter site at 37-59-57, 103-09-23, supported La Junta RBSS. It was activated 14 Sep 1993 and disposed of 15 Apr 2002. The perimeter fence was still in place, though the site was entirely behind another barbed wire fence.
(General view)
(General view)
(Gate)

Granada Relocation Camp CO (Also known as Camp Amache) Thousands of American citizens of Japanese heritage spent W.W.II in this prison and others like it around the country. Technically, it was not a military installation. The War Relocation Authority oversaw the camps; but the design was along the lines of Army P.O.W. camps, and Army Military Police guarded the prisoners. Located at 38-02-55, 102-19-45, this is now accessible to the public and does have interpretive signage.
(Entrance)
(Foundations)
(Foundations)
(Foundations)
(Foundations)
(Foundations)
(Building)
(Water tank)
(Water tank and building)
(Water supply building)

Lamar Communications Facility Annex CO (MSTH) This small communications site at 37-55-21, 102-36-40, was a high-frequency relay facility from some time before 1975 until it was inactivated 17 Jul 1987. The Air Force signs were still in place for my 1998 visit, but were gone by 2011. The reasons for collocating this site with an AT&T site are not clear. This time I was allowed to photograph inside the fence, though not inside the buildings. Prowers County currently controls the property, and I was told this unusual water tank on the property will be outfitted as a cosmic ray detector! Tanks like this one are components of the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory's Northern Site.
(Main building and storage building)

(Main building, with AT&T Main Station in background)

(Main building)

(Main building)

(Main building and storage building)

(Main building)

(Main building)
(Butler metal building on repurposed foundation)
(Butler metal building on repurposed foundation)

(Butler metal building on repurposed foundation)
(Butler metal building on repurposed foundation)

(Butler metal building on repurposed foundation)
(Butler metal building on repurposed foundation)

(Butler metal building on repurposed foundation)
(Butler metal building on repurposed foundation)
(Butler metal building on repurposed foundation)

(Storage building)
(Storage building)
(Cosmic ray detector tank for the Pierre Auger project)
(Cosmic ray detector tank for the Pierre Auger project)
(View from AT&T Main Station)

Lamar AT&T Main Station CO This property, while not military, provided essential communications to the military. The reasons for the collocated Air Force site are still not clear. This site had a large, nuclear blast-resistant microwave tower, and also an underground L-4 coaxial cable switching station. I observed one nuclear blast detector on the grounds, and a set of former Ground Entry Point antenna. I was told by a Prowers County employee that AT&T hadn't used the facility in many years, and the county had leased the aboveground portion of the building for its Head Start program. The facility, at 37-55-28, 102-36-39, looked unchanged from my 1998 visit.
(Gate)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Building)

(Ground Entry Point antennae)

(Nuclear blast detector)

(Tower and fence)

I settled into a motel in Lamar for the night. This was a 10.5 hour day, covering 363 miles.

Saturday, 8 Oct 2011

From Lamar, I hit the road at 0600 for a long day of driving with only a couple of stops. This was my first visit to Texas in nearly three years!

Amarillo AFB TX (1277, AGWF) This was a training base during W.W.II, home to Basic Training Center #12 and Airplane Mechanics School #4 of the Army Air Forces. It continued to serve Air Training Command until inactivated 1 Jan 1969, and also had a Strategic Air Command presence. I had seen the airport in 1998, but on this revisit I found much more of the Air Force built environment. Located at 35-13-10, 101-42-45, this is now Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (AMA).
(SAC maintenance docks)

(SAC maintenance docks)

(SAC maintenance docks)

(SAC maintenance docks)

(SAC 70-man alert facility)

(SAC 70-man alert facility)

(SAC 70-man alert facility)

(W.W.II hangars)

(W.W.II hangars)

(W.W.II hangars)

(W.W.II hangars)

(Radar facility, former ADC M-88 site)

(Ordnance area)

(Engine test cell)

(Engine test cell)

(Engine test cell)

(Chapel)

(Chapel)

(Chapel)

(2 Elevated water storage tanks, northeast part of base)

(2 Elevated water storage tanks, central part of base)

(2 Elevated water storage tanks, central part of base)

(Fuel Pumphouse)

(Fuel Pumphouse)

(Building)

(Building)

(Building)
(Building)

(Building)

(Building)

(Building)

(Building)

(Building)

(Building)

(Building)

(Building)

Childress AAFld TX This was an Army Air Forces bombardier school during W.W.II. My first visit was in 2002 -- and both times I was at Childress it poured rain! My goal this time was to confirm an extant Norden bombsight storage & maintenance building. I verified the concrete vault portion, and the surrounding building looked vintage also. The building was tucked away in a fenced compound. Located at 34-25-55, 100-17-20, this is now Childress Municipal Airport (CDS).
(Hangar)
(Hangar)
(Building)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building)

I drove back to Amarillo for the night. This was a 10 hour day, covering 508 miles.

Sunday, 9 Oct 2011

I headed northwest from Amarillo at 0730. I had seen the Dalhart airfields back in 1998, and in 2010 I noticed what appeared to be a distant, grainy view of a Norden bombsight storage and maintenance building in the background of one of my photos. That's what spurred this trip!

Dalhart Aux Fld #2 TX (1890) Located east of town at 36-05-40, 102-25-20, this field supported Dalhart AAFld during W.W.II. It was retained by Air Material Command as Dalhart Air Force Auxiliary Field #2, in a non-maintenance or inert status, until the late 1950s. It is now known as Miller Airfield (25TS), and appeared unchanged since my 1998 visit.
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Chimney)
(Elevated water storage tank structure)
(Elevated water storage tank structure)

(Hangar structure)

(Hangar structure)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

Dalhart Aux Fld #1 TX (1889) Located west of town at 36-01-20, 102-41-20, this field supported Dalhart AAFld during W.W.II. It was retained by Air Material Command as Dalhart Air Force Auxiliary Field #1, in a non-maintenance or inert status, until the late 1950s. I'm not sure what the property is currently used for, but access was wide-open with no signs. It appeared unchanged since my 1998 visit.
(General view)
(General view)
(Elevated water storage tank structure)
(Elevated water storage tank structure)
(Elevated water storage tank structure)
(Building)
(Building)
(Chimney)

(Foundation)
(Foundation)
(Foundation)
(Hangar remains)
(Hangar remains)
(Hangar remains)
(Hangar remains)
(Hangar remains)
(Hangar remains)

(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains detail)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains detail)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains detail)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains detail)

Dalhart AAFld TX Located just southwest of town at 36-01-30, 102-33-10, this was a 2AF bomber training base during W.W.II. It is now the Dalhart Municipal Airport (DHT), and appeared unchanged since my 1998 visit.
(Hangars)
(Hangars)
(Hangars)
(Hangar)
(Hangar)
(Building)

(Elevated water storage tank structure)
(Elevated water storage tank structure)
(Foundation)
(Foundation)
(Foundation)
(Foundation)
(Foundation)
(Celestial navigation building foundation)
(Celestial navigation building foundation)
(Celestial navigation building foundation)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)
(Norden bombsight maintenance and storage building remains)

La Junta Mini-MUTE 1MM4 CO (MNDF) This small emitter site at 37-19-12, 103-21-15, supported La Junta RBSS. It was activated 14 Sep 1993 and disposed of 15 Apr 2002. It had been remediated after closure.
(Gate)

(General view)

(General view)

(Debris)

(Debris)

I made it back to Trinidad CO for the night, covering 387 miles in 9 hours.

Monday, 10 Oct 2011

I motored out of Trinidad at 0730, heading north.

Pueblo AAB CO Located at 38-17-30, 104-29-45, this is now Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB). Not much remains from this airfield's W.W.II service as a 2AF bomber training base, but I did notice a tower I had overlooked in 2002. Although now supporting a beacon light, this may have been the W.W.II control tower.
(Hangar)
(Hangar)
(Tower)
(Tower)

I made it home to Denver in 5 hours and 235 miles. Total was 1,493 miles for this trip.


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