I spent two weeks working on Dyess AFB, another travel opportunity courtesy of my job. The Abilene area is a pond I've just about fished out, but I managed to find a few new places to visit, and paid my return respects to some others.
Sunday, 5 Mar 2006
The best thing about visiting Dyess AFB? I didn't have to fly -- I just drove over in my own car. On the way, I looked for a few water system sites that served Dyess AFB Atlas missile sites. And, I made arrangements with my friend Larry Sanders for a visit to his Atlas site.
My first objective was a series of three water system annexes. Dyess Water System Site #4 and Dyess Water System Site #5 eluded me. Neither was visible from the nearest public roads. They may have lost the original pump house buildings, leaving only the ground-level well structures.
I had better luck with Dyess Water System Site #7, finding it right where I expected it, 32-10-38, 99-46-04. Two wells were visible near the metal pump house. These horses wondered why I was there.
I made a revisit to Dyess Missile Site #6. Larry provided a guided tour. Topside, the hardened HF and hardened UHF antenna locations are still extant, as is the topside mount for the sight tube. Some stainless steel fittings still shine in the Texas sun. Larry has continued to clear debris to make the property look more like it did back in its active days. We entered the launch control center from the distinctive entryway. Inside, he has kept up the gradual improvements. I always enjoy the view inside an Atlas F silo.
I had to make a nostalgia detour to the gate at the portion of Camp Barkeley later reused as Dyess Small Arms Range Annex.
After this, I settled in at the Dyess AFB Temporary Lodging Facility.
Sunday, 12 Mar 2006
This was my one day off during this trip, so I used it to good advantage. I went into town and found Abilene's National Guard Armory. This armory building was constructed in 1955. It is still active, but according to the 2005 BRAC report, Texas plans to close it in the near future.
Since it was not far from my path, I decided to visit Fort Griffin, 32-55-35, 99-13-30, a nineteenth century frontier fort and now a state park. The fort was active from 1867 to 1881. The ruins of several stone buildings stand. The flagpole may be a replica.
I visited Arledge Field several years ago, but since it was on the way I stopped in to see my favorite type of hangar. Another hangar stands nearby. Coleman Flying School, Ltd. operated the airfield as a contract flying school for the Army Air Forces during W.W.II. During the war the field, at 32-55, 99-44, was purchased by the Defense Plant Corporation (DPC), who called this Plancor 553.
The town of Stamford was home to Rainey Park Housing, 32-56-16, 99-47-14. The housing is long-gone and a church exists on part of the property. This housing, also known as Plancor 1770, supported Arledge Field during W.W.II.
Stamford's National Guard Armory was built in 1954. This classic 1950s armory building was disposed of by the State of Texas in 1992.
Thursday, 16 Mar 2006
Our work finished up in the morning, and I drove home in the afternoon.
The Mineral Wells National Guard Armory was built in 1955 and is still active.
Weatherford's National Guard Armory, still in use, was built in 1958.
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