Posted 5 years ago
Alameda Naval Air station was closed in the '90s and is a military historians wonderland, frozen in time (for the most part in the 1940s at the close of WW2, but with a dash of '60s nd '70s thrown in for good measure). I go there to the monthly Alameda Antiques fair, one of the best in the country.
Yesterday I brought my bike and a friend and I spent several hours biking the whole base, around old barracks and community buildings, fuel depots, train tracks, officer housing and of course the rows of massive now abandoned hangars which at their peak housed a mighty air force. Standing empty these huge hulks look like a movie set.
One hanger door was open and we went in. There were two guys working on the shell of an airplane, the A7 Corsair which used to be on the pedestal at the western entrance of the base until a couple of years ago. They're part of a group trying to restore it, and told us a little about it. It was built in 1968, and flew until it had a hard landing on the Alameda runway in the late '80s, and was too structurally damaged to fly. It also flew off the USS Carl Vinson.
The most interesting thing was being inside this gigantic hangar, the 2nd oldest on the base, and trying to imagine the scene there at the peak of WW2, with thousands of workers and hundreds of prop planes moving in and out on their way across the Pacific.
The cool sign in the foreground, NARF, says "metal and process div" behind the stop sign. NARF stands for Naval Air Rework Facility. Too bad they couldnt have called it Special Naval Air Rework Facility, or SNARF. Thats a sign I'd love to own.