West Texas 2000

Copyright © 2000-2010, Scott D. Murdock
26 Apr 2010 - Added additional photos, upgraded existing photos.

Saturday, 24 Jun 2000

An official function of the Atlas ICBM Historical Society was the impetus for this trip, which I then expanded to make the weekend even more productive. 

Out of the starting gate at 0615, my first stop of the morning was the former Colorado City AF Auxiliary Field (2242, EDPZ), 32-28, 100-55.  It is now the Colorado City Municipal Airport (TX50), and is a quaint little general aviation field.  This road is actually the parallel taxiway.

That was the most western point of this trip; from there I turned around and headed to Roscoe.  I found the former Avenger Auxiliary Field #1, 32-29-50, 100-32-15, now farmland; and the former Avenger Auxiliary Field #2, 32-27-40, 100-38-15, also now farmland.

Continuing on to Sweetwater, I visited Avenger Field, 32-28, 100-28, formerly a W.W.II contract flying school and still a municipal airport under the same name.  I had hoped to resolve the location of the former Dyess Medical Storage Annex (FPDT).  This installation consisted of leased storage space in the side bays of hangar 4.  I had no luck confirming which hangar had been called #4 back in the mid 1960s, though it seems logical it was the one farthest to the west, at 32-27-57, 100-28-27.  

I paid particular attention to remnants of Sweetwater AFS (3314, WNWC), 32-27-49, 100-28-20, which was built on part of the Avenger Field site.  This former radar site was taken over by Texas State Technical College as their Sweetwater Campus; they have demolished many of the old USAF buildings and replaced them with modern school facilities.  Still standing from the AC&W days are the operations building (though camouflaged under brick veneer to match the newer buildings), recreation building, dining hall, one dormitory (I was told it is to be demolished soon), the foundation of the headquarters building, and the three tennis courts (now one tennis, one basketball, and one volleyball).  The swimming pool had been demolished fairly recently.  There was no visible trace of the search or height finder towers.

I drove past the former Sweetwater Family Housing Annex (WNWQ), 32-27-36, 100-27-18.  It had an institutional look about it, and I am told it is now a minimum-security prison operated under contract by Texon.

Another drive to the east took me to Dyess AFB (2563, FNWZ), 32-25, 99-51, where I had a billeting reservation.  Checked in, stowed my gear, and headed south of town for the main event of the day. 

The purpose of this trip was an open house at Dyess Missile Site #6, covered in the Dyess Missile Sites trip report.

After the missile site open house, I headed to Dyess AFB for the night.  I got to the room at 2115, dog-tired and dusty.  15 hours of fun, covering 415 miles.

Sunday, 25 Jun 2000

This was going to be a short day, so I gave myself the luxury of sleeping in.  I didn't check out of the room until 0900!  My first objective of the day was a former Army site between Palo Pinto and Mineral Wells, Dempsey Army Heliport, used by the helicopter training program at Fort Wolters.  I found the location easy enough, at 32-46-26, 98-16-21.  Several hangars, a water tower and a control tower were easy to see from the highway.  The faded sign indicate it is now the Dempsey Strategic Storage Center, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).   

In Mineral Wells, I looked for the location of a W.W.II era airport, listed only as Mineral Wells, 32-47-45, 98-06-00, and showing Army use in some airfield directories.   It is now a complex of athletic fields for a school.  (Note: This is completely separate from the municipal airport, also used in W.W.II and still in use).

Since I was in town, I made a quick windshield tour of Wolters AFB, 32-49, 98-05.  Ironically, it was strictly a non-flying base when under USAF control in the 1950s -- but a major helicopter flight training base for the Army during the Vietnam War (as Fort Wolters).  The National Guard Training Area was not in use and locked up, so I did not get a chance to visit the Nike launcher and control sites.

Heading back into the Metroplex, I looked for Carswell Ammunition Storage Annex (DDPK), 32-46-25, 97-31-10.  I thought this was still operated by the Air Force Reserve Command, but the signs were non-military and farming equipment was stored just inside the gate.  Status questionable, but it was still gated and locked.

The former Carswell Communications Annex (Transmitter) #2 (3130, DDPQ), 32-48-40, 097-24-55, is now a city park.  The roughly square parcel of land is now sliced in half diagonally by highway 820!  Two buildings, now marked as a senior citizens center, look like they are of USAF vintage.

Last stop of the day was the Keller Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar; formerly site Z-231 in the SAGE system.  I arrived home at 1500, only covering 268 miles in 6 hours.  Total miles for the weekend, 683.