Back in the day…

Hangar 1 at NAS Moffett Field was actually constructed to house the USS Macon, which was built inside the hangar…

HERE are links to the construction…

Fast forward to the 1970s, and this is one corner of Hangar 1 on the west end.  Until the VAB was constructed at the Cape, Hangar 1 was the largest freestanding internal structure in the world!!!

Hangar 1 1970sVP-31 was the ‘RAG’ in those days… Went through there in 1973.  This is about 1/5 of the available hangar space, and was taken from one of the upper catwalks.

On a side note, the firewatches were actually supposed to climb the stairs up to the upper levels every watch, and it was a LONG way up there!!!  They actually found spare parts from the Macon still stored in the upper levels in the late 1970s, so I guess those firewatches didn’t always walk the ‘full’ patrols all the time (if ever).

And in the third iteration for Moffett, it looks like Google will be ‘managing’ the facilities and will re-skin Hangar 1 (all 350,000 sqft).  And will be flying balloons out of there…  Talk about full circle…

Article HERE.

Scotty Campbell took this pic in the last couple of years of Moffett as it is today…

Moffett Field today

Yes, the two hangars in the lower left are ALSO blimp hangars…

This is truly sad, especially for us old farts who can remember the heyday of 7 squadrons of P-3s flying out of here… Sadly, due to the costs in the Bay Area, this one base was eating 2/3 of the entire communities’ per diem costs to put people through VP-31. Also enlisted personnel up to E-6 with families could qualify for Food Stamps during this time!!!

In 1992 the decision was made to close Moffett for active duty VP and decommission VP-31 to save money.  The squadrons were relocated to Hawaii and NAS Whidbey Island, WA.


Back in the day… — 13 Comments

  1. Getting to be an old fart is getting more and more irritating all the time. I miss the good old days.

  2. I noticed in the construction photos the men having to climb those ladders and the ladders were on wagons. OSHA would have a fit today. I couldn’t tell, but I wonder if the wore retaining safety belts. You know, in case they wanted to step back and admire their work. Back then the steel workers walked the buildings in NY without being restrained.

  3. I only passed through there once, in ’76, traveling from Adak to Missouri. But there were a lot of Moffett personnel on rotation on Adak – we heard lots of stories.

    Some of ’em might even have been true. 🙂

  4. I’d rather live in Whidbey than Moffet/San Francisco. I know that’s not the point, but I’m just sayin’.

    Same fate at MCHS Tustin. The gas bag hangers are still there but the runway is a shopping mall for civilians. Pet stores, fast food, cheap goods from China, etc.

  5. Great Pics! Brings back lots of memories. My father was XO/CO of VP-9 in ’71-’73 at Moffett and he was there in the 60’s, too. My mother was parked outside Hangar 3 when the NASA Convair crashed onto the P-3; she saw the whole damn thing. Later on, we lived on Moffett from ’75 -’77, as dad was CO of the base. Lots of great memories of Moffett for me. Thanks for the great post!

  6. I can just barely make out where our home was, but I’m so glad we moved.
    Lt. Commander Wiley had a son Gordon “Scroggy” who made Captain, and in ’66 was the Naval Attache in Bangkock when we went through on our way overseas. He and his wife Jean were family friends. They had a couple boys who became Naval aviators and a girl (all older than me), lost one son in Vietnam in ’70 and the other son in the Med off a carrier in bad weather… Navy family all the way.