reply to post by jazy510
reply to post by jazy510
Loring AFB was carved out of the woods of Maine in 1953. It was named after Maj. Charles J. Loring, Jr., an Air Force jet fighter pilot who won the
CMO in the Korean War the hard way, posthumously. It was the closest Air Force base on the east coast to Europe. It was originally built with a
capacity of 100 B-36 Peacemaker bombers. (That would be 25 squadrons in 5 groups in 1 wing).
The Nuclear Weapons Storage Area at Loring once operated as a separate, top secret facility. Originally called Caribou Air Force Station, the remote
area to the northeast of Loring’s property was the first U.S. site specifically constructed for the storage, assembly, and testing of atomic
A parallel ribbon of four fences, one of which was electrified, surrounded the heart of the storage area. This area was nicknamed the “Q” area,
which denoted the Department of Energy’s "Q" level security clearance required to enter.
Loring AFB was first targeted for closure in 1976. The Air Force's primary rationale at that time was the poor condition of Loring AFB's facilities.
It was estimated that Loring AFB needed up to $300 million in facilities improvements. Between 1976 and 1979, considerable debate took place over the
strategic importance of Loring AFB, resulting in a reversal of the Air Force decision to close the base.
When the decision to keep Loring AFB open was made in 1979, Congress committed itself to upgrade the base facilities. Beginning in 1981, nearly $300
million in military construction and operations and maintenance funds were spent to upgrade the facilities.
In 1991, the Secretary of Defense identified six SAC bases for closure and Loring AFB was one of the six bases on the list. The official base closure
date was September 30, 1994.The 9,472 acre base property is now administered by the State of Maine, Loring Development Authority. The base site is now
called the Loring Commerce Center and is marketed as an "aviation and industrial complex and business park". As of the census of 2000, there were
225 people residing on the base.
I served at Loring from late 1954 to mid-1955. The overall 42nd Bomb Wing (H), (1953-1994) and its subsidiary 42nd Air Refueling Squadron (1955-1994).
The base was home at first to the 10 engine B-36 Peacemaker (Apr 1 1953-6 Sep 1956) and later, to the KC-97G Stratotanker (15 Feb 1955-16 Dec 1957).
I was in the 42nd A&E (armaments and electronics) Squadron. I worked on both the B36 and the new Boeing KC97s we received in late 1954. (“K”
meaning tanker for in-flight refueling). It did not refuel the B36 (which needed no in-flight refueling), but rather B52s flying from other SAC bases.
The ground at Loring was covered with snow by September 30, and I did not see brown earth until the next June! I have been told it snowed 150 inches
the winter of ‘54-‘55. I do recall driving off base to pick up six pizzas for me and my barrack mates. While I waited for the pizzas, a snowfall
blocked my car and the road. Fortunately for me, the other customers pushed my car back to the road and I fell in just behind a snow plow which led me
back to the base with little lost time!
The coldest temp I experienced was either -45 F. or -50 F. depending on who tells the story. In fact, it could have been both because there is no
place more windy than an airport flight line!
Limestone was about 7-8 miles from New Brunswick. We GIs had just discovered Canada’s Moose Head beer. We’d drive over to Edmonsonton (try saying
that fast 3 times) and imbibe. Canada being Canada, we had to “rent” a hotel room where Room Service would bring us 1 beer per person, per order.
COD. The rent was very nominal.
I enjoyed my short tour there. I was enrolled in the NCO Academy where I learned to do the Manual of Arms with an M1 rifle. Not fun but not too many
AF types have that experience. I was reassigned to Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS, as an instructor. What a change!
Aerial photograph showing Weapons Storage Area (originally called Caribou Air Force Station), from Master Plan of Caribou AS. Photograph, probably
taken in the 1960's.