Abilene Roundup

Copyright © 1999-2010, Scott D. Murdock
22 Nov 2002 - Added photos.
12 May 2010 - Added additional photos, upgraded existing photos. Added DY-10L TX which I had mistakenly omitted.

This trip was designed to visit as many of Dyess AFB's off-base installations as possible.  I also worked a couple of W.W.II contract flying schools and the Abilene municipal airport into the game plan.  I even prowled a former AFB looking for a stray Nike site.

Saturday, 3 Jul 1999

Departing at 0620, I took a somewhat indirect route from Arlington to Abilene.  First I cruised south to visit Hamilton Airport, 31-40, 98-09, a W.W.II contract flying training base.  It's still used as an airport, and no obvious traces of W.W.II use were present.  From there, I took Texas highway 36 toward Abilene.

The next stop was Dyess Missile Site #4.   One Quonset hut was visible on site.  Dyess AFB was ringed by 12 ICBM sites.   Each was home to one Atlas F silo, operational from 1961 to 1965. 

Continuing on Farm Road 604, I found Dyess Missile Site #5.  Gated, and posted.

Dyess Missile Site #6 was later used as a landfill by Lawn.  Gated and locked, with a sign stating the landfill had closed in 1993.

Now it was time to detour south from Farm Road 604, and follow some county (dirt) roads to the approximate center of the former Abilene Bombing and Gunnery Range, 32-02-58N, 99-48-22W.  Nice and scenic, and no traces of AAF use that I could see.

Back to the paved Farm Road 604, and on to Dyess Missile Site #7.  Also gated and locked.

Now it was time to venture a bit south, to Winters, and head east on Farm Road 1770.  Found Dyess Missile Site #8.   Some houses and mobile homes are on the property.

Heading back north and onto US 277, I found Dyess Missile Site #9Gated and locked, with a "Positively no trespassing" sign.

Meandering to the west took me to Dyess Missile Site #10.  Another gated and posted property.

I then searched Farm Road 1235, northwest of View, for any sign of the Dyess Radar Annex.  No clues.  If anyone has any information on the Dyess Radar Annex, published location 6 miles south-southwest of View, please email me.   Same goes for the View Radio Relay Annex, location unknown.

While I was in the neighborhood, I drove by Dyess Small Arms Range Annex (Camp Barkeley).

I headed south near Tuscola to find Dyess TVOR Annex #1.  It was easy to spot because it is still an active FAA VOR, with the distinctive white antenna.

Then I tried to find the former Dyess ILS Outer Marker Annex, at 32-20N, 99-50W.  I couldn't get to the exact location, but from the road I could see the tall wood poles, evidence from the site's early use as a radio range.

Headed back north through Buffalo Gap toward Dyess AFB, I found the access gate to the Dyess ILS MM Annex, since redesignated as Dyess South Weather Station TX.

Cruised across town, in search of the Abilene Radio Range Station. I couldn't get to the location, 32-28-24N, 99-40-58W, on public roads, and no poles were visible.  I'm not sure if this radio range was controlled by the Army Air Forces or not, but it may have been since the nearby municipal airport served it's country during W.W.II. 

I made a brief visit just north of Abilene Municipal Airport, validating what USGS maps indicated -- the parking lot of the Abilene Zoo sits on what used to be the north end of a runway at the airport.  The northwest end of another former runway is a parking lot for ball fields next to the zoo.  At some point in time after W.W.II, the airport was restructured to the south of its original siting.  The City Coliseum sits on the edge of the former ramp area.  This airport was listed as "Abilene Army Air Field (old)" in a March 1943 airfield directory; the same directory lists the future Dyess AFB as "Abilene Army Air Field (new)."  By the May 1943 directory, this airport was called "Abilene Air Terminal."

Picked up Farm Road 1082 and took it north to the site of Dyess Missile Site #1.  Another locked gate.  Gee, I'm gonna have fun sorting out all these photos of gates.

I paused at Nike Site DY-10L for a quick photo of the gate.

I motored back to the west of Fort Phantom Lake, in search of Dyess Radio Beacon shown on a 1952 layout plan of Dyess.  As best as I could estimate, the beacon site should have been about 32-34-30N, 99-53-40W.  I drove the closest roads in a rectangle around this area, which is farmland.  No evidence of the former NAVAID site.  This one is still a mystery -- was it ever built, or just planned?

I ended the day at Dyess AFB, paying all of $13.50 for a suite.   Stopping at 1820, I drove 535 miles in 12 hours.

Sunday, 4 Jul 1999

Wheels in the wells at 0630.  First item on the day's agenda was to head north on Farm Road 707 to Dyess Missile Site #11.   Another locked gate, with a Quonset hut visible in the distance.  

Found my way back to US 277 and headed north past Corinth; headed west on Ranch Road 1636 to Dyess Missile Site #12.  The gates were open, but the signs left no doubt strangers were not welcome.

Continuing on US 277 to Stamford, I found Arledge Field, a W.W.II contract flying school.  A few wooden buildings and a set of hangars were reminders of the wartime days, as was the circular sidewalk with a flagpole mount in the center.

Took State 6 and US 180 to Anson, and shortly after turning south on US 283 I passed Dyess Missile Site #2

From there, I drove towards Moran.  The Morand NEXRAD Site was obvious from a distance because of the large white radome.  There were no visible USAF markings on the site.  Although near the town of Moran, HQ ACC seems to prefer the name Morand -- they activated this site as Moran in late 1993, then issued another order in early 1994 amending the name to Morand.  Go figure.

Time to head south to I-20 and backtrack a few miles to locate Dyess Missile Site #3 on Ranch Road 18.  A telltale Quonset was visible on site.

Before I settled in for a couple hours on the interstate, I returned to Elmdale Air Park, 32-26-43N, 99-38-55W.  This was never a military installation, but is the site of my one and only parachute jump, way back in 1977.  (Static line from 3,000 feet out of a Cessna 182.)

Headed east on I-20 until I neared Mineral Wells, then I headed north to the former Wolters AFB armed with coordinates for Nike Site DF-70, courtesy of satellite imagery from TerraServer.  Both the launcher and control sites are on TX ArNG property, not accessible from public roads.  The closest I was to DF-70L was a gate at 32-50-37N, 98-03-55W, and the closest I got to DF-70C was a gate at 32-50-28N, 98-02-41W.  Some target markers were visible in the distance, and I discovered they were 1,000 yard targets for the George Tubb Memorial Range, operated by the Fort Wolters Shooting Sports Club.  The entrance to this range is at 32-50-15N, 98-02-13W.  The fence line of the former munitions storage area is behind the firing line, several of the igloos are visible.

On the way south to the Interstate, I stopped at the Millsap L-3 Repeater Hut.   It sits just off the east side of County Road 113, at 32-44-32N, 98-00-21W.   Not an Air Force property, this was a tiny part of AT&T's huge contribution to our Cold War communications infrastructure

Ended the trip at 1530, covering 451 miles in 9 hours.  Total mileage this trip was 986 miles, in 33 hours.