Arkansas Adventure

Copyright © 1999-2010, Scott D. Murdock
12 Oct 2002 - Added Pocahontas Aux Fld.
16 Nov 2002 - Added photos.
23 May 2010 - Added additional photos, upgraded existing photos.

I lived near Arkansas, but was pretty sure I'd be moving away soon.  I decided to explore the Air Force installations in The Natural State while it was still convenient.

Sunday, 3 Nov 1996

Wheels in the well at a leisurely 0700.  From Haughton, Louisiana, I headed through Texarkana and Malvern, Arkansas on my way to Pine Bluff.  First stop of the day was Grider Field (PBF), 34-11-15, 91-56-00.  Grider was a contract flying school during W.W.II, and is still an active airport.   I was pleased to find that one W.W.II barracks was marked as a historical tribute. Hangars include the 184-foot demountable type

Pressing on, I followed the signs to Almyra and the former Prairieville Aux Fld, 34-24-30, 91-27-30, now Almyra Airport (M73).

From there I went to the former Roe Aux Fld, 34-39-00, 91-23-30.  It is still an airfield, Clarendon (4M8), used by Custom Air, Inc.

Onward to Stuttgart, and the former Stuttgart AAFld, 34-36, 91-34.  This is now the Stuttgart Municipal Airport (SGT).  Some W.W.II-era structures still stand, others are mere remnants.   A truck driving school uses part of the airfield ramp.

Motoring on through Hazen, I found skydiving in progress at the former Hazen Aux Fld, 34-45-30, 91-38-15.  It is now Hazen Airport (6M0). 

From there I headed to Little Rock.  After  looking around the base, I secured billeting on Little Rock AFB, NKAK.  The base is modern, with lots of open area and some hilly terrain.  It's not flat and cramped, like many bases. 

Today's drive covered 420.7 miles in 10 hours.

Monday, 4 Nov 1996

I started the day with visits to Wing History Office and Civil Engineering.  I was looking for a map of Little Rock's 18 Titan II sites, but was unable to obtain one.  Departing base at 1015, I looked for three of the missile sites based on some very sketchy location information, but had to call No Joy.  

Switching back to the map, I headed to Newport and visited the former Newport AAFld, 35-38-30, 91-11-30.  It is now Newport Municipal (M19), and all that remains from the W.W.II era is the airfield pavement and this crumbling wall.  A truck driving school was a major tenant on site.  I was told this hangar was civilian-built, after W.W.II.

After Newport, I headed north to Walnut Ridge, first stop the former Walnut Ridge AAFld, 36-07-30, 90-55-30.  It's now Walnut Ridge Regional (ARG), with a variety of businesses occupying the former base. Water storage tanks and a pumphouse still stand. 

On the airport grounds, I found a 1950's era cinder block building at 36-07-43, 90-55-52, which the occupants confirmed was part of the former Walnut Ridge AFS.  Some metal buildings were nearby, as was a family housing area.   I was told the radar antennas had been across the flight line, on the northeast part of the airport.  There, I found V&B Manufacturing, occupying what looked like new industrial metal buildings.  Some nearby metal buildings looked military, and fire hydrants were dated 1958.  After gaining permission to look around, I was quite pleased to find the distinctive foundation remains from a radar tower.  It was about 75 yards south of my car, parked at 36-07-48, 90-55-09.

Next stop was the former Pocahontas Aux Fld #1, 36-14, 90-57, now Nick Wilson Field (M70).  This was an auxiliary to Walnut Ridge AAFld in W.W.II.

I headed back to Little Rock AFB for the night, after driving a mere 316 miles in just over 8 hours.

Tuesday, 5 Nov 1996

Tooled over toward Memphis, then headed north.  First stop:  Eaker AFB, BWKR, 35-57-30, 89-57-00.  It was recently closed, although still carried on Barksdale AFB's property books as it worked through the disposal process.  The new name is Blytheville International Airport (BYH).  Many of the base's facilities sat empty and unused, but some buildings were occupied by commercial enterprises. The weapon storage area's entry control point was secure, but some side gates to the area were wide open, so I had a windshield tour of the bunkers -- no line badge required!  The alert area "Christmas tree" was in use by a truck driving school.  The alert facility entry control point looked a little unkempt by SAC standards, and the alert facility showed a large addition. The base theater looked lonely with no movie posters displayed, and the base chapel is still in fine condition. An unused weather radar tower is seen here with the flightline control tower.

After Blytheville, I crossed the border to Arnold, Tennessee and found the former Dyersburg AAFld, 35-54-00, 89-24-30.  A small part of the airfield is still an active airport, Arnold Field (M31), but most of the former airfield is disrepair.  I drove on an old runway, and in spots the pavement was buckled and rough.  A Norden bombsight storage building remains and is marked with a sign. 

At this point I was fairly close to Missouri, so I ventured north over the border to Malden.  I found Malden Municipal Airport (MAW), the former Malden AB, at 36-36-20, 89-59-20.  I noted hangars, elevated water storage tank, and a parachute loft on the grounds. The remaining buildings are a mix of W.W.II and 1950s vintage.

From Malden, I headed south and spent the night in West Memphis, after an 11-hour drive of 524 miles.

Wednesday, 6 Nov 1996

On the road bright and early.  First stop, West Helena, Arkansas.  Still known by its W.W.II name, Thompson-Robbins Field (HEE) is at 34-35, 90-40.  I noticed different types of hangars, some old building foundations, and the site of the flagpole. I had several views of my favorite type of hangar, the 184-foot demountable, a common type at W.W.II contract flying schools. The flightline had a mix of hangars and a beacon. Saddles for an aboveground fuel oil tank sat next to a building.

Backtracking to Little Rock, I paid a brief visit to Adams Field (LIT), 34-44, 92-14.  I noted a nice hangar, probably W.W.II vintage.

Then I headed south to Texarkana.  Texarkana Field was used in W.W.II by Air Transport Command and as an auxiliary of Stuttgart AAFld.  Now it is Texarkana Regional - Webb Field (TXK), 33-27-15, 93-59-30. 

Located adjacent to the airport is the former Texarkana AFS, 33-27-20, 93-59-53.  This radar site is fairly intact.  A radome is still in place on the search radar tower, although it appeared disused and the fenced area around the tower was filled with junk.  Most of the buildings on the site are in decent condition and used by various businesses and organizations.

Yikes, it's Wednesday and I have class tonight -- gotta get home!  I made it back to Haughton at 1540; covering 447 miles in 10 hours.  Total trip was 1,708 miles in four days.