United States Penitentiary, Atwater stands on a portion of the grounds of the former Air Force Base. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History's Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004. The 328d Bomb Squadron was inactivated 3 May 1994 and the wing was placed on non-operational status. The three Boeing B-52B Stratofortresses at March AFB, 18 January 1957. The Air Force has cleaned up contaminated soil and groundwater in tandem with development of the property by the County of Merced. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. a long 12'000ft and 150ft (3600m x 50m) wide Spaceshuttle Runway! From the time of activa- tion until the present, the 47th Air Division has set an example for other SAC units to follow. In 1948, the entire wing deployed to Kadena AB, Okinawa, becoming the first Strategic Air Command bomb group to deploy in full strength to the Far East. During the summer of 1945, when most other air fields were winding down, Merced was expanded to accommodate the large air tankers then programmed to come into service. Building 752 ::::: Thousands of blueprints and vellums in storage. A federal to federal transfer of 649 acres allowed construction of a federal penitentiary on an isolated part of the former base. It was hidden two kilometers directly underneath Menachite Mountain, part of the Highland Mountains in the Viery Territory. With the unit's departure, the 447th was inactivated. The facility was renamed Castle Air Force Base on January 13, 1948 as part of the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate military service. The day the Swedish Air Force Saab 37 Viggen saved the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Today was just two pilots routine, regular mission to fly their SR-71 aircraft at high altitudes while gathering imagery on key Russian bases — such as the Soviet Navy’s Northern Fleet … Find the perfect Castle Air Force Base stock photos and editorial news pictures from Getty Images. It is bigger and more protected than a hardened aircraft shelter (HAS). 6, Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990, militarymuseum.org Merced Army Air Field, Castle Field, militarymuseum.org Merced Auxiliary Field, militarymuseum.org Ballico Auxiliary Field, militarymuseum.org Howard Auxiliary Field, militarymuseum.org Athlone Auxiliary Field, militarymuseum.org Potter Auxiliary Field, militarymuseum.org Merced New Municipal Airport Auxiliary Field, militarymuseum.org Mariposa Auxiliary Field, "Pilot who flew B-52 around the world turns 100", "Our View: Don't change high-speed rail deal now", oea.osd.mil Converting Military Airfields to Civil Airports, "Google set to lease Castle site for self-driving car program", https://web.archive.org/web/20140714231313/http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/10/16/3280244/former-air-force-one-lands-in.html, https://web.archive.org/web/20140523225719/http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/01/24/3458766/google-set-to-lease-castle-site.html, Strategic Air Command in the United Kingdom, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Castle_Air_Force_Base&oldid=991818145, Installations of the United States Air Force in California, Buildings and structures in Merced County, California, Formerly Used Defense Sites in California, Strategic Air Command military installations, Initial United States Air Force installations, Transportation buildings and structures in Merced County, California, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2008, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Army Air Force Basic Flying School, Merced, CA, 20 September 1941 â 7 April 1942, Merced Army Flying School, 7 April 1942 â 8 May 1943, Merced Army Airfield, 8 May 1943 â 17 January 1946, Castle Field, 17 January 1946 â 13 January 1948, 89th Air Base Group, 3 November 1941 â 15 December 1942, 90th Base HQ and Air Base Sq, 13 June 1942, 3026th AAF Base Unit, 1 May 1944 â 30 June 1945, 482nd AAF Base Unit, 19 July 1945 â 15 August 1947, HQ I Staging Command, 7 October 1945 â 3 April 1946, 2nd Strategic Support Squadron, 16 May 1951 â 1 September 1956. The 444th was inactivated on 16 November 1947. In 2011, Google leased 60 acres (24 ha) in order to test the development of their new project, the self-driving car, which has become Waymo. As of 2008, local government plans to convert the dormant facility to civilian commercial use has become an active political issue. The wing began aerial refueling operations in October 1950, providing aerial refueling and navigational assistance for the July 1952 movement of the 31st Fighter-Escort Wing from the United States to Japan, the first jet fighter crossing of the Pacific Ocean, during the Korean War. Many pilots and crews were trained here during the war including a number of Women's Air Service Pilots (WASPs).. Castle Air Museum has amassed the entire collection of U.S. Air Force jet fighters from America's first operational jet fighter the Lockheed P-80 to the amazing General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon … Castle Air Force Base (1941â1995) is a former United States Air Force Strategic Air Command base in California, located northeast of Atwater, northwest of Merced, and about 115 miles (185 km) south of Sacramento. Travel. Stratotanker in Action ::::: KC-135 and F-106 Delta Darts painted on the wall inside the barracks-bunker.  The former Base is expecting Google to pay approximately $456,000 in rental fees for both of these projects over the course of one year. The huge plane dwarfed earlier bombers and the 93rd, along with all other B-29 and B-50 bomb groups, was redesignated as "Medium." Customize, add layers and zoom in & out your animated radar with our interactive radar map. On 27 June 1949, the Air Force Reserve 's 447th Bombardment Group was activated at Castle … on a desert bomb run. B-52s bombed the Iraqi Republican Guard and targeted Iraqi chemical weapons, nuclear, and industrial plants during Desert Storm, JanuaryâFebruary 1991. "Former Air Force One Lands in Atwater." Article from izismile.com. Interior Ivy ::::: Abandoned perimeter building. The Pointy Room ::::: Inside a second story rec-room in the abandoned dormitory building. Saved by Daryll Bradshaw. It was converted to civilian use in 1995, but it has some still restricted areas that are spectacular relics of the war on American soil that never happened. Dr. Catherine Halsey had an office in CASTLE Base's Omega Wing, as did Colonel James Ackerson. The University of California, Merced maintains a research site on the former base, which was its first facility before construction of the main campus in Merced. There were three initial operational squadrons (328th, 329th, and 330th) which absorbed the equipment and aircraft of the inactivated 444th BG. Merced California Bakersfield California Somewhere Down The Road Strategic Air Command Innocence Lost Air Force Bases Road Trippin Before Us. The Little Rascals) member, Bobby "Weezer" Hutchins was killed in a mid-air collision on 17 May 1945, while attending flight school during WWII. Castle Air Museum. I was involved in building an addition to the deep underground military base at Dulce, which is probably the deepest base… It, along with the 509th Composite Group at Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico, was all there was of Strategic Air Command at that time. Image locations include; the “War Room”, the nerve center of the base, a blast-proof, partially underground, barracks-bunker where B52 and KC135 crews lived on 24-hour alert, an engine test structure and a few of the dozens of abandoned dorm buildings. ready forces at Castle and Walker Air Force Base. Fulkerson said the Subterra Castle site, built in 1959, was one of nine missile silos that formed a ring around Topeka, Kansas. An underground hangar is a type of hangar for military aircraft, usually dug into the side of a mountain for protection. Our History Education Newsletter. Castle Air Museum's haunted B-29 Superfortress Raz'n Hell Thursday, August 13, 2009 Atwater , Castle Air Museum , ghost sighting , haunted aircraft 2 comments Located outside the small town of Atwater, in Merced County lies the Castle Air Museum which was part of the former Castle Air Force Base. Castle Air Museum is an excellent day trip/visit! Make a Donation Become a Volunteer Aviation Pavilion Memorial Brick Campaign Aircraft Sponsorship Launch the Intruder Launch the F-4 Bunny Phantom. Air Combat Command ::::: The War Room overlook. Cheyenne Mountain is a triple-peaked mountain in El Paso County, Colorado, southwest of downtown Colorado Springs. Travel Ideas. The Central Valley base in unincorporated Merced County was closed in 1995, pursuant to a Base Realignment and Closure Commission decision following the end of the Cold War and the disestablishment of Strategic Air Command (SAC). This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/. From April 1968 to April 1974, the 93rd operated a special B-52 replacement training unit to support SAC's B-52 operation in Southeast Asia. Another 186 acres were sold. Shaw, Frederick J. On 28 July 1947, the 93rd Bombardment Wing, (Very Heavy) was established and took over responsibility from the group. In November 1956, the wing made non-stop B-52 flights of some 16,000 nautical miles (29,600 km) around North America and to the North Pole. The wing won the SAC Bombing and Navigation Competition and the Fairchild Trophy in 1949, 1952, and 1970, and the Omaha Trophy as the outstanding SAC wing in 1970. USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. Ravenstein, Charles A. For instance, Castle Air Force Base in Sacramento, California used to be the home to a Bombardment Wing, Air Refueling Squadrons, and Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons. The 93d Bombardment Wing (Medium) received its first Boeing B-47s in May 1954, but its involvement with the new Stratojet was curtailed on 29 June 1955 when the wing received the first production line Boeing B-52B Stratofortress, making it the first SAC bomb wing to receive the new aircraft. However, the 93rd continued to supervise the closure of Castle AFB. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC, This page was last edited on 1 December 2020, at 23:57. At 1:00 p.m. PST, five Boeing B-52B Stratofortress eight-engine jet bombers of the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command, 93rd Bombardment Wing (Heavy), departed Castle Air Force Base, near Merced, California, on a non-stop around-the … Gen. Frederick Castle, who had been killed in action two years earlier. As the original name indicated, it provided basic air training for beginning pilots and crewmen. 1 at Castle Air Force Base, … (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942â2002. Although most of the wing's components were used for B-52 and KC-135 aircrew training between 1956 and 1995, one or more of its units sometimes participated in tactical operations, including tactical bombardment and aerial refueling. About. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Warren, Minot, and Malmstorm Air Force Base in Montana. They offer guided tours thru this airplane on Saturday and Sunday- the cost is in addition to the entrance fee. It offers visitors of all ages a glimpse of what the future of aerospace might hold. Responsibility for the 450 Minuteman missiles in existence falls to three different Air Force Bases — F.E. The airfield was opened on 20 September 1941 as the Army Air Corps Basic Flying School, one of the fields utilized to meet the needs of the 30,000 Pilot Training Program. On 1 June 1992 the 93d was relieved from assignment to SAC and was reassigned to the newly formed Air Combat Command (ACC). Close coordination and teamwork have pro- duced results in which per- sonnel of the 47th can take pride. Scramble! Also, the 328th and 329th Bomb Squadrons deployed to U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand where they flew combat missions over Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during the Vietnam War. Once home to the Air Force’s B-52 program, the base was named Castle Army Air Field in 1946 to honor Brig. [note 1] Protected by massive amounts of granite, reinforced concrete, plates of Titanium-A armor, and EMP-hardened metal,it was virtually bombproof, well defended, and nigh-impenetrable. Photo of United States Air Force tunnel boring machine at Little Skull Mountain, Nevada, USA, December 1982. Secret ::::: This backlit marker board was used for tracking the planes in the air and on alert, hidden behind curtains inside the War Room. Our Collection Indoor Museum Tour Air Force One Press Videos. 5 Mary 2014. Checkpoint ::::: High security gatehouse, bypassed and forgotten. "Google Set to Lease Castle Site for Self-Driving Car." It also implemented the objective wing organization and was redesignated as the 93rd Wing (93 WG). Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Print. Manning, Thomas A. Castle Field was renamed Castle Air Force Base on 13 January 1948, this following the establishment of the USAF as a separate military service in September 1947. It was then redesignated as the 93d Bomb Wing, its B-52G aircraft given the ACC tail code of "CA" and the marking of blue tail stripes. The 447th remained active until 16 June 1951 when the group was activated and the aircraft and personnel sent to Far East Air Forces as replacements for combat losses during the Korean War. It is now known as the Castle Airport Aviation and Development Center. For this purpose, it set up the 4017th Combat Crew Training Squadron which was supposed to handle all B-52 crew training for the next few years. Read more here. Maurer, Maurer (1983). Shortly afterwards, nationwide base closures under the BRAC process targeted numerous USAF installations, especially former SAC installations, to include Castle AFB. Each base … Engine Test Building ::::: Far away from everything else. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. Bomb Run ::::: Amateur airbrush rendering of low flying B52s avoiding surface to air missiles (fired by men on camels!) Disaster Tracking ::::: Castle was a Strategic Air Command base. The underground operations center for the North American Aerospace Defense Command was built during the Cold War to monitor North American airspace for missile launches and Soviet military aircraft… They have 71 aircraft, including Air Force 1 used by Reagan and Clinton! However, the 93rd Bomb Wing continued to supervise the closure of Castle AFB. Merced Sun-Star [Merced] 24 Jan. 2014: n. pag. Image 2 - Headquarters - "Nerve center of SAC's global strike force is its headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska. On 1 September 1991, the 93rd Bombardment lost its operational KC-135 unit, the 924th Air Refueling Squadron, and its KC-135 aircrew formal training unit, the 329th Combat Crew Training Squadron. Support Us. Castle Air Force Base (1941–1995) is a former United States Air Force Strategic Air Command base located northeast of Atwater, northwest of Merced and about 115 miles south of Sacramento, California. There are many rumors of secret military tunnels in the United States. Merced Sun-Star 16 Oct. 2013:n.pag. Project Loon is a program that creates an aerial Wi-Fi network, using balloons to loft relay equipment to high altitude. , In 1994 Igor Pasternak leased a hangar from the former Castle Air Force Base to build his Aeros 50, a seventy-eight-foot long blimp for use in advertising. 71. All Rights Reserved. The Castle Air Museum remains at the site. Google is also leasing a hangar at the former Air Force base in order to continue testing a new project, Project Loon. Aside from sitting under a mountain of granite, an extremely hard rock, the base is protected by 25-ton blast doors, and some rooms sit on massive beds of … Rogers, Brian (2005). For the civil use of this facility and airport information, see New Castle Airport New Castle National Guard Base is a United States Air Force installation under the control of the Delaware Air National Guard, located at New Castle Airport in New Castle County, Delaware. In addition to aerial refueling, Castle-based KC-135 tankers ferried personnel and equipment, while B-52s deployed to strategic locations worldwide, including Saudi Arabia. When Castle Air Force Base closed in 1995, the Foundation assumed all responsibility for managing and displaying the museum''s collection of 44 planes which are on loan from the Air Force, among them a B-24, a B-36 and a SR-71. Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates. Explore. After basic training at Lackland Air For Base in Texas, he was assigned to the Security Police Squadron at Castle Air Force Base in Merced, Calif., and spent approximately three years there. Castle Field was renamed Castle Air Force Base on 13 January 1948, this following the establishment of the USAF as a separate military service in September 1947. The end of the Cold War brought many changes to the Air Force, and Castle AFB was selected for closure under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 during Round II Base Closure Commission deliberations (BRAC 91). On 1 June 1992, pursuant to the inactivation of Strategic Air Command and the establishment of the new Air Combat Command (ACC), the 93rd Wing was transferred from SAC, reassigned to ACC, and renamed the 93rd Bomb Wing (93 BW). Find the best castle air force base around and get detailed driving directions with road conditions, live traffic updates, and reviews of local business along the way. On a wall in the Ready Room. The SPARTA… The three B-29 squadrons inactivated at Atwater on 6 May 1946 with the 10th Reconnaissance Squadron relocating to Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona where it turned in its RB-29 aircraft. This work was shot in February and May, 2008. Mueller, Robert (1989). Reactivated from caretaker status, 1 May 1947. The 444th operated from Merced for about six months with the 678th BS being re-designated as the 10th Recon Squadron and its aircraft being converted to the RB-29 configuration. Our Gang (A.k.a. It is TOTALLY worth it!! The airfield was opened on 20 September 1941 as the Army Air Force Basic Flying School, one of the fields utilized to meet the needs of the 30,000 Pilot Training Program. The Convair B-36 Peacemaker entered SAC's inventory in 1948. Select from premium Castle Air Force Base of the highest quality. Multiple colors and sizes available. Merced Army Air Field became Castle Field on 17 January 1946, named for Brigadier General Frederick Castle. Web. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. , Note: Base directed to revert to "minimum operations on caretaker status;' 1 Oct 1946; base under administrative control of Colorado Springs Army Air Base, Colorado, 1 Nov 1946-1 luI 1947. The 93rd Bomb Group, however remained active. During 1947â1948, it flew Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, but soon received the upgraded version of the B-29, the Boeing B-50 Superfortress. It was converted to civilian use in 1995, but it has some still restricted areas that are spectacular relics of the war on American soil that never happened. 1, Merced New Municipal Airport Auxiliary Field No. Membership Contact Us Donate. When Castle Air Force Base closed in 1995, the Foundation assumed all responsibility for managing and displaying the museum's collection of 44 planes which are on loan from the Air Force, among them a B-24, a B-36 and a SR-71. Sign from, the now closed, Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, CA. Patton, Victor. It was one of the few wings in SAC to concurrently operate both the B-47 and B-52. After the war ended, Merced was home to several air tanker squadrons and remained a training center for pilots and air crews. ::::: Imagine flight-suited crews sprinting out of this tunnel to their idling nuke-laden jets. On Christmas Eve 1944, Castle remained at the controls of his burning B-17 Flying Fortress over Europe while his crew bailed out, then was killed when the aircraft exploded; he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Many pilots and crews were trained here during the war including a number of Women's Air Service Pilots (WASP).Auxiliary air fields used by Merced Army Air Field d… Merced Municipal Airport Auxiliary Field No. The air force base and museum are near Atwater but are not in the city limits. Auxiliary air fields used by Merced Army Air Field during the war were: With the end of the war 444th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) arrived on 15 November 1945 from West Field, Tinian with four squadrons (344th, 676th, 677th, and 678th) of wartime B-29s. The wing became SAC's primary B-52 aircrew training organization, incorporating KC-135 aircrew training for the air refueling mission in mid-1956. On 1 October 1946, the base was put on "minimal operations on caretaker status," with control of the facility under the Colorado Springs AAF. The 93d Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) was activated at Merced on 21 June 1946, starting a nearly 50-year relationship with the airfield. A building that once housed service members on the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater is among 55 uninhabitable buildings on the property. At Castle AFB 7 groundwater wells were tested and 3 were found to be above the Lifetime Health Advisory of 70 ppt. The mountain serves as a host for military, communications, recreational, and residential functions. The base remained in this status until 1 May 1947 when it was reactivated. The 93rd Bomb Wing was inactivated on 30 September 1995 with the closure of Castle AFB, but was subsequently redesignated as the 93d Air Control Wing (93 ACW) and reactivated at Robins AFB, Georgia on 29 January 1996. The 93d Bomb Wing was inactivated on 30 September 1995 with the closure of Castle AFB. They could be in the air in minutes. Castle is named for Brigadier General Frederick W. Castle, who died on Dec. 24, 1944 flying his 30th bombing mission. Castle AFB was a Cold War era Strategic Air Command installation in central California. Merced AAF, November 1942 The first flight of a B-52B model was on 25 January 1955 and initial delivery to the 93rd Bomb Wing (H) at Castle AFB, CA occurred in the summer of 1955. Merced Sun-Star. The three-story administration building shown here is connected by underground ramps to a three-story control center buried 45 feet beneath the earth. The 93d was SAC's primary B-52 training organization and retained some of its B-47s until 1956 for crew training purposes. It provided basic air training for beginning pilots and crewmen. An underground hangar complex may include tunnels containing the normal elements of a military air base - fuel storage, weapon storage, rooms for maintaining the aircraft systems, a communications centre, … With BRAC closure of Castle AFB confirmed, the 322d Bomb Squadron was inactivated on 3 May 1994 and the wing was placed on non-operational status. Pasternak subsequently moved his blimp building operation to Montebello, California. This is on display at the Castle Air Museum there. ----- t ' • • . CD-ROM. With the establishment of the US Air Force, the field was renamed Castle Air Force Base effective 13 January 1948. On 27 June 1949, the Air Force Reserve's 447th Bombardment Group was activated at Castle and equipped with the B-29s formerly of the 93d Bomb Wing. Ray Allen, a military child, was born at the base on 20 July 1975. Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Castle AFB was a Cold War era Strategic Air Command installation in central California. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. Lost America © 2020. Apr 16, 2015 - Abandoned dormitories at Castle Air Force Base in California. Click individual item below to view selection. Our guide was Larry- a retired pilot. Out Of Time ::::: Dead digital clocks dangle from the wall inside the War Room. Juniper Tower ::::: "The Summit" base dorm complex. This list is incomplete. Former US Air Force base in Merced County, CA, US, For the civil use of this facility and airport information, see. (1984). On 1 May 1947, Castle Field was reactivated under Strategic Air Command. Apr 16, 2015 - Abandoned dormitories at Castle Air Force Base in California.  It has been identified as the preferred location for the central maintenance facility of the proposed California High-Speed Rail system.. Photo submitted Warren Conner enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1966 during the Vietnam War. On the Quad ::::: Built in 1990 at a cost of $8,385,290 and abandoned in 1995 when the base was decommissioned. 1 CASTLE AIR FORCE BASE > CALIFORNIA 1.0 DECLARATION FOR THE RECORD OF DECISION SITE NAME AND LOCATION Castle Air Force Base Merced County, California STATEMENT OF BASIS AND PURPOSE This decision document represents the selected interim remedial action for Operable Unit No. The 93rd was one of SAC's first ten bomb groups. Until the late 80's, B52, KC135 Stratotanker and other aircrafts were based here. Yawger, Doane. The underground Air Force base housed “an intercontinental ballistic missile that had a nuclear warhead 32 times more powerful than … source: UNDERGROUND BASES AND TUNNELS, by Richard Sauder The Summit ::::: Architectural rendering of one of the base dorm complexes, found in a storeroom. Wooden Console ::::: Inside the surprisingly low tech War Room. Countryside Vacation .. From 1953 to 1955, the wing flew Boeing KC-97 Stratofreighters. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947â1977. In August 1990, the wing operated an aerial port of embarkation (APOE) for personnel and equipment deploying to Southwest Asia during Desert Shield. When the mission of B-52 training became too great a task for just one squadron, the Wing's other three squadrons took over the flight training role and the 4017th assumed responsibility for ground instruction in 1956. (U.S. Air Force) 16 January 1957: Operation POWER FLITE. Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. The 93rd was a former Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator group which was assigned to Merced for Boeing B-29 Superfortress training. Only the B-36 groups were "Heavy.". Underground Castle ::::: The partially underground, barracks at Castle AFB, where air crews lived on 2 week shifts. MARIETTA - A planned underground Pentagon facility below Kennesaw mountain, a few miles from Dobbins Air Force Base, to be used as a "defense" installation for the surrounding 13 states region, was reported by Richard Sauder. \ INTERIM OPERABLE UNIT NO. WunderMap Radar. All-jet Boeing KC-135 tankers came on line in 1957.
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