A year or two ago, a buddy of mine found this place, and we went there to check it out. It is located east of what is now Mather Airfield, or something like that. It used to be inside the perimeter of Mather AFB, and is not terribly far from the old SAC alert pad. It is also just south of the golf course.
We still debate about what this place was for. It has earthen bunkers for some kind of storage, dug-in firing positions for riflemen, an observation tower (which is now lying on its side), several different types of other buildings, and its own high fence with looped barbed wire on top.
I told another friend (Marc Andrew Matteo) about the place and he went out and took these excellent photographs of it. It is a shame that kids have vandalized this relic of the Cold War, but I am glad that it is open and accessible for inspection by history buffs like me and my friends.
If you worked in this facility, I would love to hear from you. Drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is an aerial image of the facility, showing all of the structures and most of the perimeter road. If you look closely inside the perimeter road, you can just make out the fence.
Here is a closer view of just the bunker area. Notice the tower (upright when this image was made), the faces of the bunkers where the entry doors are located, and those strange concave basins that are visible in one of the later photos.
Here is the first bunker we encountered, coming down the main road from the entrance. It is also probably the most interesting one. I did not really notice these strange basins, when I was there. I did not start to think about them until I saw this photo. I have no idea what they are.
When we walked into this bunker, I was startled by an owl. The owl seemed kind of strange. It took off and flew slowly and a bit awkwardly, straight into the wall at the back of the bunker.
This is the inside of one of the bunkers. You can see a door in the back. I do not remember looking inside, but I must have. I am curious if there is some physical connection from this back room to the cylinders that you can see coming out of the back of some of the bunkers. You can see one clearly in the previous photo.
You can see that the floor is strewn with debris. A couple of the bunkers had clearly had this debris burned in them, and were filled with the charred remains and horrible smell.
This is the main entry point. I think this is looking out the gate, back towards the airfield. It has been a while though, and I can't make out the detail in the distance well enough to be absolutely certain that this is not a view looking back into the bunker facility.
This is a shot of the perimeter fence. When I was there, it was unbroken and ran all the way around the facility. My friend and I actually walked the entire perimeter road around the outside before going in. I think I remember a sign here and there stating that the fence was electrified, although it was not hot when we were there. Wish my other friend had taken a photograph of one of those, but I don't think he walked the outside, where the signs face... assuming I am not just remembering stuff that was not actually there? :)
This is a closer shot of the pedestrian entry point. Given how complex it is, I assume that vehicle entry was only when something actually needed to be moved in or out, and that personnel going on and off duty must have passed through this area and had their personal vehicles parked in the lot outside the gate. That is the lot where we parked, before beginning our exploration.
Bullet-proof glass window and rifle port? Who knows? A lot of my theories about the function of this place are based more on what I want them to be than any actual knowledge of such facilities. I sure hope some old vet who worked here will see this and email me.
This is an especially interesting shot. I do not recall noticing the labels on the inside of these doors, when I was there. Clearly this was not just a big food storage depot. And if this flimsy shack was for storing explosives, then what were the earthen bunkers for? Also, notice the chord and pulley system for opening these ventilation? doors at the bottom of each door, from the outside. Strange.
My uncle, who is retired Navy wrote:
"Reading the writing on the inside of the doors - they're there to show folks with atmospheric and explosive gas testers what the cubic of the space is so they can calculate concentration (old meters in the 60's needed charts and tables). The ventilation panels in the door operated remotly by pulley would be a good way to ventilate the space before opening the door. Could this have been either a testing facility for various explosives or storage for very volatile liquids/gasses?"
My brother's father-in-law, who is retired Air Force wrote:
"They are ammunition storage bunkers. The door in the back of the 4 pix was probably used to store CAD and PAD items (Cartiridge Activating Devices and Power Activitating Devices). They are for getting the jettison pylons and bombs off the aircraft. Used to work in ones like those."
There are morons everywhere. They can't spell, but they feel okay about defacing historical relics and making public rest rooms nearly unusable. Worst of all, places like this end locked from people like me and my friends as well, so they can protect people like that from themselves. Very annoying.It turns out that this particular vandalism is a quote from a computer game that I had never heard of.
Here is the observation tower I mentioned at the beginning. I cannot decide whether it was knocked over to keep idiots like the "artists" in the previous photo from hurting themselves, or if it was a profound act of vandalism. Either way, it seems a damn pointless shame. It was standing upright when I was there.
Not sure which building this is the inside of. I really did not pay much attention to the outlying buildings, when I was there. The bunkers themselves held my main interest. I think that most of this destruction was probably not done by vandals. Rather, it was probably just a matter of quickly salvaging things and removing equipment that the USAF did not want to leave behind.
So there it is. I wish I had some shots of the rifle positions that I saw, and those fence signs (assuming they actually exist). This place fascinates me, as do all relics of the Cold War. It had such a strange and erie feel to it. I am still kicking myself for not having had my video camera with me. I feel badly about the owl that I frightened, but since it happened anyway, I certainly wish I had caught that on video. It definitely set the scene for our tour of this strange ruin.
Again, if you worked in this facility, I would love to hear from you. Drop me an email: email@example.com