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Thread: MCAS Tustin (Santa Ana, Ca.)

  1. Newly Registered User Sugarbear's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    Chandler, Az.

    MCAS Tustin (Santa Ana, Ca.)

    For those of you wondering what is happening to the Marine Corps Air Station Tustin, it's in shambles! After a weekend visit to LA, I decided to take the family down to see the old stomping grounds. What a shock.

    The street signs on Red Hill still say MCAS Tustin, but the MP shack and gate are long gone. So is the "new" base housing (ca. 1990). The hangers are still there, but delapatated. Windows are broken out, the paint on the concrete supports peeling away. There are brand new condo's and townhomes on the old Compass Road. You can have a great view on the hangars for $1 mil.

    Most of the barracks and buildings are still in good shape, except for the medical building and the MP/Admin building next door. The chruch is still up, but they don't let visitors on there any more. The city closed access to the site.

    The HMT-302 hangar is gone, along with the smaller buildings that were on that side of the base. HMH-465/466 hangars are still there, but the flightline is almost all gone. Just big piles of dirt/concrete. The flightline shacks are still on one piece.

    At the main gate, there are new buildins there, that appear to be a college. The ATC tower is still up as is the runway and spots. Covered in weeds, but still there.

    I will post the pics in coming days. Here is a memory for all you prior Tustin folks.....
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  2. Newly Registered User jejacobs's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Miami, FL

    MCAS Tustin

    Steve,

    I was on a business trip to the LA area a couple of months ago and stopped to have lunch with an Old Tiger from HMM-262, Col. Paul Johnston, down in Lagun Hills. Paul was one of the last Base Commanders (if not the last one), so when we shared some fond memories of the old "MCAF Santa Ana", I decided to drive over to the base to stir up some of those fond memories from 1968. The images in my mind were shattered as I drove up to the Main Gate. The civilian guard told me that the base had been turned over to the city, that the barracks, etc. were to be made into low-rent housing and that some of the squadron areas and the old base housing area had been completely demolished. He did mention that the hangars were to be preserved as a historical site. Just as you, he refused me entrance to the base, saying that I needed written permision from some unreachable city official.

    The dry-yellow grass was two to three foot high everywhere and the entire place looked more like some slum area rather than the military instalation which trained so many heros of our nation, many of whom gave their lives for us. Frankly, it brought a lump to my throat.

    I wonder what El Toro looks like today?
    Joseph "Jake" Jacobs
    HMM-262 Combat Helicopter Association

  3. Moderator Mike Amtower's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Corinth, TX
    http://www.popasmoke.com/notam2/showthread.php?t=3987

    All unfortunately, MCAF/Tustin was bulldozed and demolished some three years ago.

    If interested, please see the above link on the HMH-463 Squadron page.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Amtower; 11-08-2006 at 14:54.

  4. JoeReed's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Loganville, Ga.

    Thumbs up LTA Santa Ana/Tustin

    They gate guard said:
    He did mention that the hangars were to be preserved as a historical site.
    I'm really glad to hear at this part of your visit. My wife and I were visiting Doctors in L.A. and San Diego last month, and could not get up there due to scheduling conflicts......At least the old hangars will be there for our kids and grandkids to see and talk about.
    Semper Fidelis
    Joe


    Phu Bai tower:
    YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
    Remember, These are "A" models!
    YW-11 BuNo-151939
    '65 Model CH-46A

  5. Newly Registered User
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    Dec 2001
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    Duncan, OK

    Unhappy MCAF Tustin

    Sat on the starboard side of the communter train from LA to Oceanside this past spring and got to see all the building going on and the two blimp hangars. Then it was behind me, once again...like it always was when I came and left.

  6. Newly Registered User Sugarbear's Avatar
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    Chandler, Az.

    More MCAS Tustin Pics as promised

    Attached are some more pictures and information.

    Unfortunatly, only one hangar (#1) was marked as an Historical Landmark by the gov't. Therefore, hangar 2 will be demolished. The plans for the base continue to change daily. What is known is that there will be a huge homless shelter created out of the newer barracks that sat just east of the flightline or south of the chowhall. In addition, the Tustin High School is moving there and a new one is being built. Several of the barracks will be kept and made in to dorms for a offsite college in the area.

    The entire base development is being called the Tustin Legacy (http://www.tustinlegacy.com/). Sad, just so sad. Enjoy!!
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  7. Newly Registered User Sugarbear's Avatar
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    Chandler, Az.

    Pics Part 2

    Enjoy......
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  8. Newly Registered User Sugarbear's Avatar
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    Chandler, Az.

    Pics 3...

    Last one...
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  9. pm3777
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    Unable to Express !!!

    Many have commented on their feelings about MCAF & El Toro going down. As one that was in the First Marine Unit to occupy Hangar one , than LTA early 1951 VMO-2. Cannot express how deeply I feel at the closings. Also El Toro I came in the Marine Corps before it was built & than My WW2 Sqd VMTB-232 Came back from Guadalcanal reformed with TBF A/C & I joined them at New Hebredise Island MAG-11. Returned there in 1945 in F4U A/C for ACSG (Carrier Support GP). Than again in MAG-25 1954. MCAF assigned there again 1957 -1961 before retiring in 1963. As the first on LTA there was a Civilian Store & beer joint where the PX was later built. We SNCOs of VMO-2 built the first NCO club in the old Navy Laundry building. It was later built up to a very nice Club. Howard Hughes still had items stored in part of the Hangar & the Navy Reserve was still operating their Blimps in the other end of the Hangar. HMR-161 formed back than & shipped out on the railroad from Hangar one to San Diego enroute to Korea 1951. Also the memory of the Tsgt Carr shooting two Msgt at the NCO Club forget the exact year think it was 1959-1960?? Forgot the name of the Msgt That died but Msgt Rowe shot in the chest 45 Cal Pistol survived. So many memories ,a big part of my life & also for my familiy. As We Were !!! Semper Fi Paul Moore

  10. JoeReed's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Loganville, Ga.

    Thumbs up Walking History Lesson!

    Paul,
    Sir,as always, your posts have that level of accuracy and feeling that most of us can't imagine, since you were there! Most interesting bits of information regarding LTA and El Toro.
    Shot in the chest with a .45 and survived? Not many did or could!

    Happy Birthday to you and all of our brothers and sisters on this 231th Birthday of our beloeved Corps!
    Semper Fidelis
    Joe


    Phu Bai tower:
    YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
    Remember, These are "A" models!
    YW-11 BuNo-151939
    '65 Model CH-46A

  11. Moderator Mike Amtower's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Corinth, TX

    Maybe no knowledge of ............

    Joe,

    You didn't know "Skid" Rowe!

    He was the Senior SNCO in HMH-463 during our tour at Marble.

    I've seen a pic of a wash tub of iced down Schlitz at a squadron party, with a sign stuck in it stating: "Skid's BEER!"

    He was one tough old Marine!

    Crusty is the term that first comes to mind.

  12. JoeReed's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Loganville, Ga.

    Skid Rowe

    Mike,
    I knew a lot of folks, not necessarily all by name. I would recognize you 40 years from now, should we both live that long, but I might call you Bill! LOL!
    Semper Fidelis
    Joe


    Phu Bai tower:
    YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
    Remember, These are "A" models!
    YW-11 BuNo-151939
    '65 Model CH-46A

  13. Moderator Mike Amtower's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Corinth, TX

    CRS - disease

    " .... but I might call you Bill! "

    I'm the same way, Joe. Names elude me after a while ... now numbers, that's a different story.
    Those I remember forever!

    Maybe it's due to my occupation .... you know 'puters.

    I've said in the past, if I had to make my living as a saleman, I'd starve to death! That is where
    you have to have instant recall on names.

  14. Newly Registered User
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    Dec 2006
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    Tustin, CA

    Mcas/tustin

    I am involved in the group that is attempting to SAVE the North Blimp Hangar #1 to build a military museum and salvage most of the Buildings and Housing Units at the Former Tustin Property
    We are currently using much of the land for the film and TV industry. We have partnered with several individuals that are also interest in saving as much of the property as possible. The property has been used for many features - Pearl Harbor, JAG, HBO's From the Earth to the Moon, etc...
    We have an interest in developing many Military feature films and TV shows that will require some of the current exteriors. Most of today’s productions can recreate the look and feel in soundstages, such as the one being developed in the former Helicopter Maintenance Hangar and hopefully soon inside the North Blimp Hangar. The South Blimp Hangar, we have been told is severely damaged from lack of maintenance and the Santa Ana Winds, the City of Tustin (current owner) and the county Fire Marshall have locked it down. The original configuration of the @1600 acre property has been altered for residential, commercial, mixed-use and common areas "The Tustin Legacy". The proposal for a GREEN BELT of Parks and Waterways are in development around the North Blimp Hangar and diagonally through the property from Edinger/Jamboree to Barranca/Red Hill. K thru 12 schools are to built on the property as well as several college campuses and a Sheriff's Training Facility. Jamboree/Barranca is building "The District" of Tustin, similar to "The Spectrum" of Irvine. The District will be the home of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and many small stores and outlets.

    I look forward to sharing information with all who have great memories of this facility.

  15. Newly Registered User jejacobs's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Miami, FL

    Tustin - Spring 1968

    Found this in an old shoe box. Look at the cars in the parking lot in front of the barracks. Today, that would be called an antque car show - Aaaagggghhhh!!!!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by accs; 01-01-2007 at 12:47.
    Joseph "Jake" Jacobs
    HMM-262 Combat Helicopter Association

  16. JoeReed's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Loganville, Ga.

    Thumbs up LTA Barracks

    Jake,
    You were in the same barracks I was when I joined HMM-163 on my return from RVN. Looks like some of the cars are the same, too! LOL!
    Semper Fidelis
    Joe


    Phu Bai tower:
    YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
    Remember, These are "A" models!
    YW-11 BuNo-151939
    '65 Model CH-46A

  17. Newly Registered User
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    Jan 2007
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    irvine ca
    Any updates???

    What squadrons were the last to occupy the base does anyone remember moving out.

    I am currently doing a photo progression on the base and its structures and would love to hear your stores.

    i will post some pics from my recent trips.

  18. Wayne Stafford
    Guest

    Lta

    My son and I went to LTA toward the end and stopped by HMH-363. Don't know if anyone else was there but it was definitely winding down.

  19. Newly Registered User
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    irvine ca
    who was the last to leave???

  20. pm3777
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    First to arrive

    Dont know the last to leave but know the first to arrive at LTA( MCAF). Early 1951 VMO-2 & HMR-161 formed at LTA later MCAF. SF PM

  21. Newly Registered User
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    Jan 2007
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    irvine ca
    Does anyone have any old Pics they can share?

    cb

  22. Newly Registered User
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    Jan 2005
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    Waukesha, Wisconsin

    MCAS Tustin

    When I look at the pictures it breaks my heart. How could the U.S. government let a historical landmark go to the wayside for condo's and high rise apartments. The government we have served so unselfishly has consistently found ways to build over military sites all over this country. Not only LTA and El Toro but bases and civil war sites in every part of this country. As a businessman I understand progress but thier comes a time when the almighty dollar takes a backseat to antiquities.

  23. Newly Registered User
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    Aug 2001
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    Richland, WA 99352

    MCAS El Toro/Tustin

    Rickey, I totally agree with you. It breaks my heart to see the way the base(s) have deteriorated in the name of the almighty buck.
    I spent many years at both El Toro and Tustin and enjoyed them immensely.

    Semper Fi
    Bill Weaver

  24. Newly Registered User
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    Dec 2001
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    Duncan, OK
    My heart is with youse guys, but it's the proverbial "and in the bucket of water" syndrome. Once the hand is out, the hole is gone...wanna know more, just cruise on down to your local VA center and observe how your country fulfills it's promise to take care of you...

    Hooper

  25. timothy's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    33 Crown Rd. Ewing, NJ 08638
    You got that right Tom! Hay the hangars on the left coast look like the ones we have here at Lakehurst, NJ. Must be blimp hangars.
    S/F
    Tim

  26. JoeReed's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Loganville, Ga.

    Blimp Hangars

    Tim,
    You're correct, they are blimp hangars. The ones in Santa Ana (Tustin) are reputed to be the largest wooden supported ono-supported structures in the world. Had a good friend that went through PR (parachute rigger) training in Lakehurst in '66 that said they were very large. Look almost identical to the LTA hangars, don't they? I'm under the impresion that the Lakhurst hangars are not wood supported. Do you know one way or the other, Tim??
    Semper Fidelis
    Joe


    Phu Bai tower:
    YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
    Remember, These are "A" models!
    YW-11 BuNo-151939
    '65 Model CH-46A

  27. pm3777
    Guest

    Dirigable Hangar

    This post made me wonder about the Goodyear Hangar at Akron Ohio which I suspect was the original model for all the Navy Blimp Hangars. This because they built the first Navy Dirigables. I visited the Hangar I believe it was 1930 with my Uncle. They were building either the Akron or the Macon. I remember people picking up the aluminum girder on display & commenting how light the new material was. That hangar appears to be about exactly like all the Navy Hangars. SF PM

  28. Newly Registered User Gerald LeBlanc's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
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    Waydownsouth, Mississippi

    Blimp hanger future?

    Here is a photo of what I have in my home town of Houma, Louisiana, an example of what will happen if local government is left to care for a blimp base. I hope Santa Ana has a more dignified future than this. I am in disbelief of what I have read here. Of all the things that could have been done with that facility it really angers me to know of this very limited imagination of the West Coast politicians.
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  29. Newly Registered User
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    Oct 2008
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    Orange,Ca.

    End Of Flight Ops

    Quote Originally Posted by cbreef View Post
    who was the last to leave???
    I was browsing this forum pertaining to MCAS Tustin. You were trying to find out what the last squadron was on station. If you have not yet got an answer, I can tell you it was HMH-361. I am sorry that I cant tell you when it was. I was curious one day and desided to check out the base and I went to hngr. 3. It was empty except for the civ. mod team was finishing up their last aircraft. Jerry Santoya told me that it belonged to 361 and that they needed to finish there work on it it that day.
    I stopped in to see who was around from 361 and spoke with the MMCO. They just had a skeliton crew there to finish up the loose ends of transfering their aircraft to the receiving squadron at Miramar because the rest of 361 was already on Okinawa for their UDP. The following day that last -53E was flying to Miramar and that effectively closed air ops at Tustin forever. (except when they flew those B-25's there to film that "Pearl Harbor" movie)
    Wish I could give you some kind of date but cant even tell you the year. I hope this helps.
    Sincerely,
    Rich Lowe

  30. beddoe
    Guest
    This is the history of the hangars from the Town of Tustin. Very good!

    http://www.tustinca.org/departments/...sofHistory.pdf

  31. Moderator Mike Amtower's Avatar
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    Corinth, TX

    Found PDF history of Tustin Hangers

    GREAT find, Wally!

    Thanks for posting this link.

    It should be enjoyed by a multitude of Marines.

  32. pm3777
    Guest

    1951 Vmo-2, Hmm161

    I have a photo of part of the first 19 Officers & 243 Enlisted personnel that opened the base . Me, Tsgt 2nd row 2nd man from the left. I was Line Chief than in VMO-2. We arrived and had a detail to clean up the back end of Hangar one for our Squadron offices etc. The Navy occupied the other end of the Hangar with their Blimps. Many may remember Charlie Knox & Buck Yeager. Charlie later was a LDO Capt & is deceased at Punch Bowl Honolulu . Buck also is deceased , he was at the first HMX-1 reunion years ago & passed on couple months later. This Memorial day brings back so many memories of my WW2, Korea & Vietnam years & all those Brothers mostly gone on their last flight ! ! Semper Fidelis Paul (shoud be HMR 161 VS HMM)
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    Last edited by pm3777; 05-25-2009 at 19:58. Reason: HMR VS HMM

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