Over the years, many military installations have been closed down. In what form they get handed back to the local community varies. Close to us is Alameda. This was once a big base for the Navy with many ships based there and an airfield that was home to many operational aircraft. The whole thing is now closed with the runway having garnered most attention as the location for many a stunt by the Mythbusters. The layout of the base is still much as it was beforehand though. The hangars are still there now being home to local businesses.
The aviation theme shows itself in some relics of the past. Gate guardians are common at air bases and Alameda has a few. Drive into the old base along one main road and you go around a grassy circle which has an A-7 mounted on a plinth in the middle. It is loaded up and looks pretty dramatic. Another gate near the water has an A-4 Skyhawk mounted just inside. It has the name of some local dignitaries painted on the side.
Another Skyhawk is not far away. This one is not on the base itself. Instead it is mounted outside a local school. The Jet is not as dramatically painted as the others but it is still a pretty cool thing to have outside your school if you are an aviation nut like me. It actually looks like it could do with a repaint before too long. It’s good to see that they are still on guard duty, even if the thing they were guarding is no more.
Many airbases have a selection of historic aircraft on display to show something of what has gone before on the base. Sadly, they are often unavailable to shoot when you visit. Davis Monthan AFB has quite a few different planes on display and, fortunately, the location of the Fallen Hawg ceremony during Hawgsmoke was in front of the display A-10. While everything was being set up, we had some time to kill and I was allowed to wander around the other planes.
The selection included some obvious DM aircraft like the A-10 and A-7 (even if it was actually a Navy A-7E that they had repainted). A U-2 was a slightly more surprising one to see. I’m not sure how that qualifies but I wasn’t complaining. The F-105, F-100 and F-4 all looked good too. Not only was it nice to be able to shoot them but it gave us something to do since we had got in place pretty early!