Career Change Scramble

Copyright © 2003-2010, Scott D. Murdock
1 Jul 2010 - Added additional photos.

After several months of unemployment, I finally landed a new job.  The job required a move from the Dallas-Fort Worth area to the San Antonio area -- back to our old stomping grounds.  In my last month "up north" I managed to squeeze in a couple of overnight research trips.  I wanted to take advantage of this base of operations before heading south to a nicer climate.

Saturday, 4 Jan 2003

Getting an early start at 0535, I headed up US 287 to Wichita Falls.  Then, US 277 north to I-44, and local roads in the vicinity of Cache, Oklahoma.  My first stop of the day was an Atlas F missile site, Altus AF Missile Site #4Signage at the main gate called it Cache FFA Livestock Barn & Fairgrounds.  Access to the silo cap was wide open.  I observed two Quonset huts and the personnel entryway.  Like the other 11 Altus missile sites, this one was designated in 1960 and disposed of in 1968.

I didn't get as close to the silo at my next stop.   Near Hobart, I located Altus AF Missile Site #2.  The access road was wide open, but the inner gate had no trespassing signs, which I respected.  The personnel entryway and two Quonset huts were visible from outside the gate.

Now it was time to switch gears and locate a navigation aid site north of Sentinel.  The Burns Flat VORTAC is operated by the FAA, which claims that the USAF owns the site.   I haven't confirmed this through USAF documents.  Getting to this site was fun; melting snow had turned the dirt county road into a slippery mud pit!  After this stop, I had to pause and clean mud from my windows before I took to the highway.  Great fun!

Heading north, I passed through Woodward on my way to Boiling Springs State Park, 36-27-15, 99-18-10.  In the 1942 - 1944 time frame, this was known as Dispersed Service Group Training Station or 1 AAF Service Group Training Center, under Air Service Command.  In 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed many of the park facilities, like the stone building next to the swimming pool.  The park is named for some springs that bubble up through sand.  Another nice feature is a small lake.  I have not determined exactly what the AAF did here.

Cruising back through town, I stopped at West Woodward Airport (KWWR), 36-26, 99-32.  During W.W.II this was Woodward AAFld.  It occasionally listed under Will Rogers Field.  One hangar looked like it might date from the war days. 

Just a few miles to the west, I found Gage Airport (KGAG), 36-17, 99-46-30.  This was Gage AAFld during W.W.II, although I couldn't find many clues to that era.  In 1943 it was sometimes listed under Will Rogers Field, and in 1944 - 1945 it listed as an auxiliary to Liberal AAFld, KS.

From Gage, I headed south toward Willow and found Altus AF Missile Site #11.  The access road was blocked and marked with no trespassing signs.  A single Quonset hut was visible on the site, with the ends partly demolished.  The personnel entryway was also visible.

Motoring toward Mangum, I located Altus AF Missile Site #10.  Both Quonsets and the silo doors were visible from the locked gate.  As a bonus, I found a theodolite mounting post. A remote water system site was next to a nearby road.

The sun was setting as I headed toward Altus AFB, 1093, AGGN.  I secured a room in the VOQ and settled in for a good night's sleep.   I covered 605 miles today, in thirteen hours.

Sunday, 5 Jan 2003

Another early start, and I arrived at my first target just as the sun was coming up.  From Altus, I drove to the vicinity of Pampa, Texas, and found the remains of Pampa AAFld, 35-32, 100-44.  Most of the airfield is fenced off and used for farming.  The runway patterns are faintly visible in aerial photos, but the ground is now farmland.  The most obvious remnant of AAF use is the concrete water tower.  This base was a pilot school from 1942 - 1945.  It was declared surplus in 1946, transferred to the Corps of Engineers in 1947, and then redesignated Pampa AF Auxiliary Field #1 in 1948.   It remained on the AF property books until at least 1952.

Also near Pampa, I sought out Thompson Auxiliary Field #2, at 35-37, 100-59-45.  Now Perry Lefors Field Airport (KPPA), this was an auxiliary field under Pampa AAFld during W.W.II.

And just a few miles away I found the former Pampa AF Auxiliary Field #2, at 35-27-12, 100-58-55.  During W.W.II this was another of Pampa AAFld's auxiliary fields.  Originally called Reeves Auxiliary Field #1, it took on the AF auxiliary field designation in 1948 and stayed on the books until at least 1952.  The airfield is now farmed.  Aerial photos still show the runway patterns, though I could not discern them from ground level.

Time to head back into Oklahoma and cross the remaining Altus Atlas (try saying that three times, fast) sites off my list.  Near Granite, I found Altus AF Missile Site #12.

Then, near Lone Wolf, I found Altus AF Missile Site #1.

Motoring back toward Altus AFB, I looked for a former communications site.  I found the former Altus Communications Annex (Receiver), 5866, AGGQ, at 34-40-45, 99-14-39.  From the gate, it looked like the building had been modified for ranch use.  A few wood poles were standing; they probably supported antenna elements.   This 39.15-acre site was active from 1956 until 1979.

Driving south of the base a few miles, I found the former Altus ILS Outer Marker Annex, 5823, AGNF, at 34-33-54, 99-16-26.  The building, enclosed in a rectangular fenced area, looked abandoned and was in poor condition.

Time to start working my way back toward home.   Passing near Tipton, I paused at Tipton Municipal Airport (1O8), 34-27-30, 99-10.  This was Tipton Auxiliary Field #1, under Frederick AAFld, during W.W.II.

State Route 5 then took me from Tipton to Chattanooga Sky Harbor Airport (92F), 34-22, 98-41.  As Chattanooga Auxiliary Field #4, this was another W.W.II auxiliary of Frederick AAFld.

From there I passed through Frederick (I didn't stop at the former Army air field, but I could see it in the distance) and visited Grandfield Municipal Airport (1O1), 34-14-30, 98-44.  This was Grandfield Auxiliary Field #3 under Frederick AAFld during W.W.II.  I haven't been able to confirm it, but this may have also been a W.W.I auxiliary field under Call Field.

From there, I took US 70 to I-44 to US 281, and headed back to the Metroplex.  Wrapped up the day in just over thirteen hours, covering 638 miles.  Total trip was 1,243 miles, and the Forester averaged 24.7 miles per gallon.

Saturday, 11 Jan 2003

This was going to be a long day, so I departed Arlington early at 0520.  I took a series of U.S. and interstate highways to the vicinity of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  This is an area of hilly terrain -- parts of the drive resembled the path of a roller coaster.  My first stop was the former Spring Valley Communication Site GWEN 660, VZKR.  This site was sometimes called Fayetteville, and it served the Air Force from approximately 1983 until disposal in 2000.   The equipment shelters, signs, and main antenna are still in place.  This is one of a few GWEN sites with a 306' tower instead of the usual 299' tower.  As I departed the site, I was almost eight hours into my day.

Getting to the next stop meant more hilly, twisting driving.  I found the recently-vacated Everton Radar Bomb Scoring Site, KERP.  When activated in 1993, this was called Harrison Radar Bomb Scoring Site.   It was renamed in 1998.  The RBS trailers are gone, but the compound at 36-08-11, 92-56-26 is still fenced and has USAF signs.

The driving was even slower getting to the next location.  At 36-00-24, 92-22-58, I found the recently-vacated Everton Mini-Mute Site (4MM1) RBS, KERA.  Activated in 1995, this site was also renamed from Harrison to Everton in 1998.  Now I was 12 hours into my day, but I still had one more stop.

Near Bee Branch, at 35-24-51, 92-23-49, I found the former Little Rock AF Missile Site #16, NKCV.  This Titan II site was assigned to Little Rock AFB in 1961 and disposed in 1997.  The site was secured and marked as private property.  Little Rock AFB had 18 missile sites, and although the weapons were clearly SAC assets, the real property jurisdiction and accountability transferred from SAC to TAC in 1970, then to MAC in 1974.  So, TAC and MAC actually "owned" the sites during those times. 

By now, I was out of daylight and ready to stop for the night.  I secured lodging along the interstate, well-positioned for an early launch on Sunday.  Today covered 639 miles, in just over 13 hours.

Sunday, 12 Jan 2003

First stop was Little Rock AF Missile Site #9, NKCN, at 35-08-42, 92-15-16.  This one was assigned in 1960, disposed in 1990.   The site is private property, gated and signed.  I didn't want to wait around for daylight, so my photos are a bit dark.

Moving on, I located Little Rock AF Missile Site #1, NKCE, at 35-12-35, 92-07-28.  Access to this site was wide open, so I was able to go past the parking area and former security gate to the silo area.  I noticed the slab from a Quonset hut just prior to the parking area, and a communications manhole cover near the silo itself.

Driving east past Rose Bud, I found Little Rock AF Missile Site #2, NKCF, at 35-18-54, 92-01-09.  It was assigned in 1960 and disposed in 1996.  The site was secured and marked with signs.

Continuing on, I located Little Rock AF Missile Site #5, NKCJ, at 35-15-38, 91-51-25.  It was assigned in 1960, and disposed in 1990.  It was blocked and signed.

Okay, one more missile site before we move on to other things!   At 35-08-33, 91-54-03, I found Little Rock AF Missile Site #6, NKCK.  Assigned in 1960 and disposed in 1997, this one was also gated.

Weaving around on some back roads, I found the Little Rock ILS Outer Marker Annex, NKHX.  This is an active installation, in use since 1958.

Heading closer to Jacksonville, I sought the former Little Rock Communication Annex Transmitter, NKBQ, at 34-55-11, 92-05-06.  This facility was assigned in 1958, and was active until some time after 1975.  It is now marked as Pathfinder Phyllis Padgett Voss Park, although another worn sign indicates private property.  The transmitter building was visible from the road; antennas would have been behind the building and to the left.

From there, I headed south through Little Rock to the general aviation side of Adams  Field (LIT).  I had visited Adams Field before, but today I looked for a few small installations that were contiguous with, or later superimposed on, Adams Field property.  These installations were close together; in fact I photographed them all while standing in one spot!  To help visualize the layout, I marked a TerraServer image with the approximate boundaries of each installation.

Coexisting next to, and supported by, Adams Field in W.W.II was the 839th AAF Specialized Storage Depot.  This 20-acre installation at 34-43-59, 92-14-42, featured a large warehouse building and a smaller administrative building. 

In 1955, Little Rock Radar Bomb Scoring Site, 3151, was activated.  It was inactivated in 1961.  The 3.5-acre installation was just north of the northeast corner of the 839th, at 34-44-04, 92-14-35.  Layout plans from the era show a C.A.P. Annex as a separate but contiguous parcel adjoining the RBSS, at 34-44-05, 92-14-31.  It's not clear if the CAP (probably Civil Air Patrol) annex was truly a separate installation, or if it was included in installation 3151.

The Air National Guard obtained another piece of land, north of the 839th and west of the RBSS, at some time after W.W.II.  In 1965, it was transferred to the USAF and became Little Rock Storage Annex #4, ABJZ.  Located at 34-44-04, 92-14-43, it was disposed of in 1969.

Well, this wrapped things up in Little Rock, so I jumped on I-30 and pointed the Subaru toward home.  My last tourist stop of the day was the airport in Sulphur Springs, Texas, at 33-09-35, 95-37-16.  Before and during W.W.II, this was Sulphur Springs Intermediate Field, Site 7B on the DL-LV airway.  Airfield directories from 1943 and 1944 show this field as authorized for Army use.  The buildings at the airport all looked newer than W.W.II.

I would have made it home relatively early, except for an unusual snowstorm that swept across north Texas.  I encountered flurries near Texarkana, and by the time I hit Greenville it was heavy snow, wet roads, a steady wind, reduced visibility, and a temperature of 32.  Rather than share those conditions with the idiots who were still driving 80 mph while ten feet from the car ahead of them, I called a weather divert in Greenville.  So, I only covered 444 miles in 9 hours on this day.  Monday morning, I drove the remaining 83 miles home, in an hour and a half.  This trip was 1,166 total miles, and the trusty Forester averaged 24.9 miles per gallon.