Moron AB pg 2 - The Early Years (1958 - 59)
All Photos Courtesy of Barry Heinzel
The 3973rd Air Base Group of Moron Air Base was activated in June of 1957. Construction was still under way and aircraft did not arrive until 1958 when the first B-47s were assigned. The young airman in front of the Moron Air Base sign above is Barry Heinzel. Barry was a member of the 3973rd CDS from May 1958 to May 1961. He was an A2C who worked in Pass and ID and Base Patrol while stationed at Moron. These photos, which were scanned from his 35mm slides, show the construction of the base and the beginning of the Reflex operations. We appreciate Barry's valuable contribution to the early history of the 3973rd CDS of Moron AB, Spain.
January 1959. The early location of the Pass & Id office. A Quonset hut. One half of the hut was used for the Pass & ID office, the second far end was used by the OSI (Office of Special Investigations) office. A single eight foot wood wall inside separated the two offices. Directly across the street to the right another Quonset hut housed the Provost Marshal office. There would be daily activity between the offices in the two huts.
About July 1958. A view of some of the many Quonset huts which dotted the base from the snack bar area of the service club building. At this early date at the base, many of the buildings were under construction, and some had not even been started. The huts provided work areas for the various offices, post office, etc. On the right the pool is under construction. In the background to the left of the construction equipment are earth mounds where the munitions were stored.
May 1958 Moron Air Base a view of the airmen's barracks on the left and the BOQ in the back ground with the officers club on the right. Lots of parking, but few automobiles around in May of 1958. Before quarters were constructed, the air force personnel and others who were working at the base were put up at hotels and other places in and near Sevilla, Spain. They would ride a train from Sevilla to Moron and then back to Sevilla in the evening. There was a train station located on the road just outside of the Moron base proper. The train station was not in use in May of 1958.
May 1958 Moron AB. The Base chapel is under construction, as was much of the balance of the base at this time. Church services were held in one of the large metal warehouses elsewhere on the base. The snack bar and theater were also located in the same warehouse at this time. The Pass & ID office, Provost Marshal office, post office, OSI office, clothing outlet, pool tables and numerous other base facilities were located in temporary quarters. Many of the temporary quarters were Quonset huts. Headquarters building is located on the right. Note the wide open spaces. Moron Air Base was truly out in the middle of nowhere.
Airmen's barracks 1958. Temporary home for many airmen over the years. Note the open windows. No air conditioning, but there was heat during the winter months. During the heat of the summer at night, guys would go up on the roof in hope of cooler air. While the air was cooler, the roof itself was still hot from the sun. Note the 1950s automobiles in the parking lot. The officers club is located in the background right.
May 1958 Moron Air Base a view of the base with the NCO barracks on the left, the airmen's mess at center and the airmen's barracks on the right. A second airmen's barracks was constructed a year or so later in the back of and to the left of the current barracks. Note the railroad track in the foreground. This connected to the Spanish rail near the entrance to the base. Moron had its own engine which had a name of "Back and Forth", as that is all it did, was to go back and forth from one end of the base to the other.
June 1958. Moron Air Base to Cordoba, Spain bus tour. The bus stopped on the road for a view of the county side and a chance to take a photograph or two. Note the contrast between the U.S. Air Force Mercedes bus used for tour transportation and the two mule powered cart passing by. The use of mules and horses to pull carts was not an uncommon sight for airmen in Spain in 1958 and the years after.
Exportadora area, April 1959 located in Seville, Spain. Exportadora contained various buildings to include a base exchange, base chapel, commissary, fire department, gun sales, liquor sales, temporary Pass & ID location, and dairy or the mechanical cow as it was called. That's the milk processing plant. There's a sign that says "AF Base Exchange Seville." In the parking lot is a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia with M190 series license plate. The M190 series were allocated to the US military for registration of their vehicles. Other series in use in during the 1958-1961 years include: M110, 120, 130, 150, 190, 200, 210, 220 and others. Note the wrap-around windshields on many of the cars.
November 1959. The main access road to the base. On the base the road was named "D" Avenue. Left to right: Warehouse supply buildings, motor pool, MARS station, old main gate shack, in the center of the road the new main gate is under construction, water tower, Pass & ID / Provost Marshal office, the "Peace is our Profession" sign, Headquarters building, communications bunker, barracks and chapel in the background.
November 18, 1960 at Moron Air Base, Spain. Wide open spaces. The base was spread over a very large area... 40 some miles southeast of Sevilla, Spain out in the middle of nothing, other than farm fields. The photograph taken from the back of the new Pass & ID / Provost Marshal building located next to the Headquarters building. View looking towards the water tower. Motor pool on the left, mess hall on the right. The sign title is Moron Commanders Award.
An Airman's Recollections - Bar on the road to the beach at Cadiz. September 1958. "A frequent stop on our week-end trips to the beach at Cadiz, Spain was this bar located just outside Jerez, Spain. Some 20 years later on a trip to the area with my wife, I was able to locate the same bar, although the highway and surrounding area had changed considerably. Week-end trips from the base on a U.S. Air Force Mercedes bus were common. This photograph is of a typical Spanish bar located along the highway from Moron Air Base to the beach at Cadiz. Note the GIs lined up to get a drink and a little snack which came with the drinks. You could also order fried beef on a bun which was about as close to a hamburger that you could get at the time. The beef was usually tough, but we were usually hungry and it did taste good. You had to keep the flies off. The man in the foreground with the black band on his arm is NOT a member of a political group (as I thought when I first arrived in Spain). He is in mourning over a death in the family. This was very common in the years that I was in Spain. The Spanish women would dress in black for years to express their mourning over a death in the family. Note the Coca Cola menu board listing items and prices."