Let the Games Begin!

Copyright © 2000-2009, Scott D. Murdock
8 Oct 2002 - Added Alamo Downs Aux Fld and Krueger Aux Fld. Removed Rector Mun Apt and Rich Field, as they will list in a separate report.
10 Nov 2002 - Added photos. Added 854th AAF Specialized Depot, Alamo Field, and Tyler AAFld.
11 Nov 2009 - Upgraded photos, and added additional photos. Removed Navasota Intmed Fld which I had misidentified.


Introduction

This report consolidates several base finding trips I made in early 1994, when I was still stationed at Randolph AFB.  The journeys described here mark the beginning of my quest to visit and document our AAF and USAF installation heritage.  I also list other visits I made at various times during Jan - Apr 1994.  All locations in this report are in Texas. 

It's worth mentioning that Randolph AFB itself is a scenic, historic base.  This view of the base administration building (the Taj Mahal) is a familiar sight to visitors.  Randolph also has some great-looking 1930s hangars lining the aprons on each side of the base, and two Very Heavy Bomber (VHB) hangars built for B-29s.

Be advised, the highway references are from my original trip planning notes and were not verified or updated to show the as-driven route.  Use my directions only to get a general sense of the route, not as your primary navigation tool.   Remember kids, I’m a professional.  Don’t try this at home.

Putting this report into context, my first actual research visit to a closed base was several months earlier.  After beginning to seriously research former USAF bases, I visited the former Edward Gary AFB, in nearby San Marcos, on 13 Jun 1993.  This was a turning point for me; seeing the old hangar, control tower, and the other vintage buildings.  I knew then I would be visiting lots of old bases in the future.  On that same day, I also visited Seguin AF Aux Field, making me realize how much current USAF infrastructure I had been unaware of.  So, I was very busy in the second half of 1993, pulling together information to allow the trips that follow.


Victoria / Port O’Connor Trip

Saturday, 5 Feb 1994

Departed San Antonio at 0700.  Took highway 87 to Victoria, detouring near highway 447 to find the former Nursery Aux Fld (A.K.A. Foster Aux Fld #4), 28-58-15, 97-03-45.  Now used as a cattle feedlot, the access gate was marked "Airport Pasture."  This had been an auxiliary field to Foster Field during W.W.II, and was brought back into service as Foster AF Auxiliary Field #1 (2129), from about 1952 until 1958.

Continued on 87 to Victoria, then took highway 59 toward Goliad.  The former Aloe AAFld is on the right before you get to highway 175, at 28-47, 97-06.  It’s an industrial park now, with plenty of development since the war, but the airfield pavement is still quite prominent.

Then back on highway 59 toward Goliad.  About 1.8 miles past Fannin State Park, turn right for Aloe AF Aux Fld (A.K.A. Fannin Aux Fld #10), 28-41-30, 97-17.   The runways are now used for open storage of oilfield pipe. I took what would later become my trademark Locked Gate Photo.

Then it was back on 59 past Victoria, to Victoria Regional Airport (VCT), formerly Foster AFB (2127, GWZN), 28-51-25, 96-55-05.  Many of the buildings looked relatively unchanged from their AF days.

Connect to 616 southwest to 185, and take 185 through Seadrift to Port O’Connor.  There, I visited the former Matagorda Island Dock Annex, PLPE, 28-26-18, 96-25-05.   It is now used by the Park Service to ferry their personnel and park visitors to Matagorda Island State Park (the island park encompasses the former Matagorda Island AF Range, and is only reachable by boat).  I took some information on the park and the ferry schedule for future use.

From there, I made my way through Port Lavaca to Palacios. Northwest of town, I found Palacios Municipal (PSX), 28-43-30, 96-15.  I saw no obvious clues to its heritage as Palacios AAFld, although this hangar looks old enough to be W.W.II vintage.

From Palacios, I went back through Victoria and Cuero to Yoakum.  Made a failed stab at finding Yoakum Intermediate Field, but I had fouled up my location notes and missed it. [Note: I returned to Yoakum with better maps on 27 Feb 1994 and found it!]

From Yoakum, I took Alt 77 south to 183, then north to Gonzales, and the municipal airport northeast of town, formerly Gonzales Aux Fld #1, 29-31-30, 97-27-30.   It is now Gonzales Airport (T20).

Back on 183, then Alt 90 west to Seguin and Seguin AF Aux Fld, VGJT, 29-34-15, 97-54-45.  This is still an active auxiliary field, FAA code SEQ, serving Randolph AFB.

Then to I-10 west and back to the big city. Returned to home base at 1900 – 12 hours and 542 miles later.  This was my first dedicated full-day base finding mission.  But it would certainly not be my last.


Uvalde / Eagle Pass / Laughlin Trip

Sunday, 13 Feb 1994

Departed home at 0820.  I headed west to Uvalde and visited Garner Field.  This was a contract flying school during W.W.II, operated by Hangar Six, Inc. for the Army Air Forces.  Still an airport, it is now Garner (UVA), 29-13, 99-45. A historical marker describes the field’s mission, but incorrectly calls it Garner AAFld.

Then I headed farther southwest toward Eagle pass, and found the former Eagle Pass AAFld, now the Maverick County Industrial Park and Bowles Airport (5T9), 28-51-20, 100-30-40.  After its AAF use in W.W.II, the airport served as an auxiliary field to Laughlin AFB until approximately 1990. 

Eagle Pass AFS was built in the 1950s on the former Eagle Pass AAFld cantonment area. For a while, it coexisted next to the auxiliary field. This station was a long-range radar site, and it was located at 28-51-40, 100-31-41.

Closer to Spofford, I found the access road gate to Laughlin Aux Fld, MXDS, FAA code T70. It is 3.5 miles south of FM 1908, 29-08, 100-28. This is a new (early 1990s) auxiliary of Laughlin AFB, and replaced the Eagle Pass auxiliary field.

Pushing on, I visited the former Fort Clark. This is an example of an airfield operated by Army Ground Forces during W.W.II.  Located in Brackettville, this former Army base is now a retirement community called Fort Clark Springs.  A W.W.II layout plan shows the Airport adjacent to the Polo Field on the larger Drill Field & Landing Field.  The airport is still active (though quiet) as Fort Clark Springs Airport (74TX), 29-18, 100-25.

Arriving at Del Rio, I found probable paving remnants of Val Verde County Airport, 29-22-30, 100-49-25. Formerly an auxiliary of Laughlin, most of the airport area had been developed fairly recently.

Paid a short visit to the active Laughlin AFB, 1201/MXDP. This is still a flying training base, FAA code DLF, 29-21-30, 100-47.

After checking out the facilities on Laughlin, I pointed the Volvo east and made it home at 1950, totaling 532 miles in 11.5 hours.


Brownsville / Laredo Trip

Saturday, 19 Feb 1994

Hit the road at 0630. Took I-37 then 77 past Kingsville to Harlingen, and Rio Grande Valley IAP (HRL), 26-13-30, 97-39. This is the former Harlingen AFB, 1161.

From there, I took 499 to 77, and 77 to Brownsville. Then, 48 to 4 to Brownsville-South Padre Island IAP (BRO), 25-54-30, 97-25-30. Formerly Brownsville AAB, this airport is just a couple miles north of the most southern point in Texas.

Cruised 77 to San Benito, to 1561 to 803 to 510. Took 510 past Bayview, to Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport (T31). At 26-09, 97-20-30, this was formerly Laguna Madre Field. I found different types of hangars, and I couldn't resist parking my car on a closed runway.

Back on 510 to 345, then 345 to San Benito to 77. From there, took 77 to 83, then 83 toward McAllen. In Pharr, I took 281 north through Edinburg and past Faysville about 2 miles. The former Edinburg Aux Fld (A.K.A. Moore Aux Fld #1) is now Edinburg Rio Grande Airport (25R), 26-26-30, 98-07-45.

281 south to 1925, 1925 to 681. North on 681, Moore AB is on the left, 26-23, 98-20. It is now Moore Field Airport (7R7) owned by the US Department of Agriculture.

Worked my way over to Mission, and took 83 west past Sullivan City. I looked for the former Rio Grande Aux Fld (A.K.A. Moore Aux Fld #3), 26-20-15, 98-35-45, but found a locked gate at the former access road.

Motored up 83 to Laredo, and stayed in the Holiday Inn. Chocked the wheels at 2130, after a grueling 673 miles in 15 hours.

Sunday, 20 Feb 1994

Didn’t bail out of the Holiday Inn until a leisurely 0915. First stop was Laredo IAP (LRD), formerly Laredo AFB, 27-32-30, 99-28. I found an assortment of buildings and a water tower from the Air Force days.

From Laredo I took 59 to 35, 35 north to 1472, and 1472 north toward Eagle Pass. This was an adventurous drive, as 1472 quickly changes from pavement to dirt as you go north. I was a tad bit uneasy about driving my 14-year-old car on this desolate dirt road, out in the middle of nowhere. I had intended to locate Chupadera Springs ranch and airstrip (W.W.II auxiliary field of Laredo AAFld), but I miscalculated the location and turned back too soon without finding it.

Oh well, 1472 south to Laredo, then 35 north to San Antonio. Cut the engine at 1615, making it a short day of 361 miles in 7 hours

This two-day trip totaled 1034 miles, in 22 road-hours. This was my first overnight base-finding trip, as well as my first thousand-miler.


Waco / Killeen / Temple Trip

Saturday, 26 Feb 1994

Departed home at 0620. Took I-35 north to Killeen, and followed the signs to Fort Hood. I drove past the Army's active Fort Hood AAF, KZVP, which was called Camp Hood Landing Field in W.W.II. This is another example of a W.W.II airfield belonging to the Army Ground Forces, not the Army Air Forces.

Back to 190 east to 317, then north on 317 to Draughon-Miller Regional Airport (TPL), 31-09-04, 97-24-32, formerly Temple AAFld.

Continue North on 317; north to McGregor, right on 84. Found McGregor MAP (F60) on the left, 31-29, 97-18-45.  This was formerly McGregor AF Aux Fld, 1167 (A.K.A. Blackland Aux Fld #1).

Back to 84, go east through Waco to Prairie Hill, then south on 339. Found Prairie Hill AF Aux Fld, 1165 (A.K.A. Waco Aux Fld #5), 31-38, 96-47. It is now the Student Training Field of American Truck Driving School. When the airfield was disposed of, the northwest corner of the property was retained by the USAF and became the Prairie Hill Radio Beacon Annex. It was active for several years, and the radio beacon building still stands.

Back on 84 towards Waco. Take 2418 north to TSTC Waco Airport (CNW), 31-38, 97-04. This was formerly James Connally AFB, 1163.  Many buildings of Air Force vintage are still standing including a double-cantilever hangar.

Back to 84, Lakeshore to 3051 to 1637, to Waco Regional Airport (ACT), 31-37, 97-13. Back in the W.W.II era, this was Blackland AAFld, and some old buildings remain.

Drove 1637 to 3051 to Lakeshore, past I-35 to L340, to 3400. Take 3400 (turns into 434) southeast past Downs and Downsville; go left .5 mile before 2643. About 2 miles farther, on the left, is the site of the former Riesel Aux Fld, 31-26-15, 97-02.  It is now farmland.

Back to 3400, to L340, to I-35. Headed south toward Austin. I was turned away from the closing Bergstrom AFB, 30-12, 97-40, by the contract gate guard. Nostalgia doesn’t mean much to those guys!

South on I-35 to San Antonio, set the brakes at 1920. Total trip 13 Hours, 535 Miles.


Houston / Galveston Trip

Saturday, 12 Mar 1994

Out of the apartment at 0615. I-10 towards Houston; go south on 6 just outside of Houston to Galveston, onto I-45, then right on 342 to Scholes Field (GLS), formerly Galveston AAFld, 29-16, 94-52.

Back to 342, then 45 north to Houston. Exited at Ellington Field (EFD), 29-36-30, 95-09-56. The former Ellington AFB, 1132/FWJH, still has an Air National Guard presence, and several buildings from its active duty past are visible near the museum.  Some old munitions igloos were nearby.  I even visited the tiny BX.

Then I worked my way over to Laporte, and Laporte Municipal Airport (T41), 29-40-15, 95-03-45. This was formerly Preston Aux Fld #2, and adjacent to the airport is the La Porte ANG Station, MNWA.

The last event of the day was a Naval detour.  I toured the Battleship U.S.S. Texas. Then I meandered my way back to highway 6, then I-10, then home.

Back in the apartment complex at 2115, total of 615 miles, in 15 hours.


Bryan / Easterwood Trip

Saturday, 19 Mar 1994

Locked the apartment in San Antonio at 0630, took I-35 north to Round Rock, then 79 to Hearne Airport (T72), 30-52, 96-37. This was formerly Hearne AF Aux Fld.

From Hearne, I took 50 south to 21, then 21 to Bryan and Texas A&M Flight Test Station Airport (83TX), 30-39, 96-28.  This was formerly Bryan AFB, 1113.  Different types of hangars, buildings, control tower, and some family housing are reminders of the past. The parking apron now has test antennas instead of aircraft.

On to Bryan, then south on 6 and west on 60 to Easterwood Field (CLL), 30-35, 96-22-15.  This used to be Easterwood Aux Fld.

Next stop was Austin, where I switched gears for some non-military fun. I walked 4 miles in the park along Town Lake, browsed Half Price Books on Guadalupe, ate dinner at Kerby Lane Café on South Lamar. Ah, Austin -- love that city!

Made it back to my San Antonio crash pad at 2200. The day’s trip took 15.5 hours, covering 509 miles.


San Angelo / Abilene / Sweetwater Trip

Saturday, 26 Mar 1994

Wheels in the well at 0615, from San Antonio. Took I-10 west to Sonora, then 277 north to San Angelo. First stop of the day was Goodfellow AFB, 1146/JCGU, 31-25-50, 100-24-20. This was my first visit since about 1979.  Goodfellow has seen extensive modernization over the years, but a few older hangars remain to remind visitors this used to be a flying installation.

From Goodfellow, I took 388 east to 2334. The field of farmland northeast of this intersection was Goodfellow Aux Fld #4 (A.K.A. Lane Aux Fld), 31-27-30, 100-17.

From there, 2334 south to 87, then 87 east two miles; make a left and Goodfellow Aux Fld #7 (A.K.A. Wall Aux Fld) is on the right, 31-24-15, 100-14. The area is now partly a field, and partly covered with trees and brush.

Back on 87, west past 2334 two miles and go left. Ahead about 2.5 and 3 miles on the left are roads leading to Goodfellow Aux Fld #6 (A.K.A. Van Court Aux Fld), 31-20-45, 100-18. This one has an interesting use, as a drag strip! Unfortunately, it was not race day and the place was empty.

Once again back to 87, west one mile and turn left. Go about 1.2 miles and the farmland on the right used to be Goodfellow Aux Fld #1 (A.K.A. Oates Aux Fld), 31-21-45, 100-20.

Keep going away from 87 to 1223. Go right, then make an immediate left. Ahead about 5.5 miles on the right is a brushy area that used to be Goodfellow Aux Fld #3 (A.K.A. Robbins Aux Fld), 31-32-45, 100-30-30.

Continue west past 277 on 584, and navigate VFR to Mathis Field (SJT), formerly San Angelo AAFld, 31-21-30, 100-30-30.  This hangar dates from the W.W.II era.

Take 584 north to 87, 87 north to 208. Make a right on 208 and go north of town, one mile past 2105. The road jogs right, then left. The former Goodfellow Aux Fld #5 (A.K.A. Pulliam Aux Fld) is the overgrown area on the left, 31-34, 100-26.

Back to 2105, go west to 87. Take 87 north to Grape Creek Road. Goodfellow Aux Fld #2 (A.K.A. Broome Aux Fld) was the area on the right, 31-19, 100-25.

South on 87 to 2105, east to 277, north to 70, then 70 to Sweetwater and Avenger Field (SWW), 32-28, 100-28. Avenger Field was a W.W.II contract flying training school, significant for its role in training Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs).  In the 1950s a radar station, Sweetwater AFS, was built on the cantonment area of the airport, at 32-27-49, 100-28-20.

Hop on I-20 and go east to Abilene, take 277 south to 1235, then the dirt road to Camp Barkeley (Dyess Small Arms Range Annex, FNXA), 32-19-30, 99-52. Camp Barkeley was a huge Army training base in W.W.II. Part of the large original rifle range was still owned by the Texas National Guard, and the AF leased this for small arms training by Dyess AFB.  (Us range troops never called it the small arms range annex, we just called it Camp Barkeley.)

Then it was north on 277 to see what had changed at Dyess AFB, 2563/FNWZ, 32-25, 99-51, since 1985. For one thing, there was a new small arms range next to the old six-point pistol range I knew so well. For another, the 1950’s vintage barracks (oops, I mean dormitories) I lived in back in the late 1970’s had been remodeled with outside entry doors instead of the internal hallways. I sure hope they replaced those awful "swamp coolers" with real air conditioning! Back on 277 south, took a quick glance at the gate to Dyess Nike Site DY-50L, 32-16-15, 99-57-30, and headed back to San Angelo.

Arriving back on Goodfellow AFB at 1915, I obtained a billeting suite (for $5.75) and crashed for the night. Drove 624 miles in 13 hours.

Sunday, 27 Mar 1994

Got up at a leisurely hour and put it in gear at 1045. Took 277 south to Eldorado AFS, ELAW, 30-58-42, 100-33-10. The huge PAVE PAWS antenna arrays are visible from quite a distance. It was an active installation, so I didn’t stray too close to the fence.

Cruised I-10 east back to San Antonio, but I wasn’t quite finished. Headed north on I-35 to San Marcos; then took 80 and 142 east to Lockhart; then 183 south to Lockhart Municipal Airport, 29-51, 97-41. It is still in use as Lockhart (50R).

Then back to 142, west to 80 then I-35, then headed home to San Antonio. Short day, only 8.5 road hours, covering 464 miles.

Total coverage of the two days was 1088 miles, in 21.5 driving hours.


Mop Up I

Saturday, 16 Apr 1994

Cassin Field, San Antonio
Cade AF Aux Fld, San Antonio
Macdona Aux Fld, San Antonio
Yturri Aux Fld, San Antonio


Mop Up II

Saturday, 23 Apr 1994

Alamo Field, San Antonio
Alamo Downs Aux Fld, San Antonio
Camp John Wise, Olmos Park (San Antonio)
Dodd Field, on Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio
Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio


Other Visits During Jan – Apr 1994

854th AAF Specialized Depot (East Kelly), San Antonio
Brooks AFB, San Antonio. Hangar 9 is the only W.W.I Air Service hangar still standing.
Camp Mystic, Hunt
Castroville Aux Fld, Castroville
Clear Springs AF Aux Fld, New Braunfels
Davenport AF Aux Fld, San Antonio
Diltz Aux Fld, Floresville
Edward Gary AFB, San Marcos. The present airport and the Gary Job Corps Center have split the former base.
Gray AFB, on Fort Hood, Killeen
Hondo AB, Hondo
Kelly AFB, San Antonio
Krueger Aux Fld, San Antonio
Lackland AFB, San Antonio
Martindale AF Aux Fld, San Antonio
Medina Annex (Lackland Training Annex), San Antonio
Rio Medina Aux Fld, Rio Medina
San Antonio AFS, on Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio
Stinson Field, San Antonio
Tyler AAFld, Tyler
Zuehl Aux Fld, near Seguin


Summary

This was a busy time for me!  I was about to PCS to Barksdale AFB, so I wanted to see plenty of the former Air Force infrastructure in south and central Texas before I moved "Up North."  I covered some territory.  In a two-month period, 4 Feb - 4 Apr 1994, I put 7665 miles on my 1980 Volvo.


GO TO TRIP REPORTS PAGE


GO TO MAIN PAGE