jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Shooting Profile)
Here's a preview of things to come or is that things past?

US Civil War era Fort Negley in Nashville
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Green Mountain - 2010

Some of you may be wondering why I held the Nature Photo of the Week feature until today. I wanted to honor my fellow veterans today in some small manner. These are people who serve or served because they believe in this nation, seek to safeguard our way of life and keep us safe. It doesn't matter whether you supported the wars and actions of this nation. In my 12 years on active duty (Air Force), there were plenty of things I didn't agree with. I served because I sought to protect the freedoms that I cherish in this nation. The right to speak out, to worship as we choose, to seek redress or justice, to assemble in both anger or joy, and to vote for our leaders. It's been our job to guard these and other rights we enjoy and that some easily forget. It was said by a wise man that "freedom isn't free." It was and continues to be paid for time and again with blood, sweat and sacrifice.

Happy Veterans Day to all my fellow service members, past and present.
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Back in April of last year, when I still lived in California, I witnessed a truly unique site. The Los Angeles County Sheriff posted signs in our neighborhood that the main road behind my home at the time would be closed early one Sunday morning to facilitate an oversized load. The load?.. a long abandoned McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) YC-15 prototype transport plane which had sat abandoned and unloved for years at Palmdale Airport (USAF Production Plant 42). The authorities at Edwards Air Force Base decided the reclaim, restore and display the aircraft in the base museum. So bright and early on an April morning, the plane was towed through town and to the base.

Something you don’t see every morning [4 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Shooting Profile)
As noted in my previous post about Lincoln, I have permission from the owner to shoot inside the main building of the site. The building's lower floor is being rented and renovated but the upper floors have seen far better days. For our many newcomers here, Lincoln Mill was once a cotton textile mill in Huntsville (Alabama) and following it’s closure in the 1950’s, it became a site associated with the early US space and missile programs.

Through the looking glass darkly [5 behind the cut] )
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Last week, a number of my associates were involved in this test. They called it a sucess. I call it job security!


Thanks Fritz for posting the link.
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Fort MacArthur

At the southern end of Los Angeles lays the remains of the city’s military past. Fort MacArthur guarded the main sea approaches to San Pedro Bay. The Fort’s days as a defensive position ended in 1974 when the NIKE missile air defense site was deactivated. The upper and lower reservations of the fort were turned over to Los Angeles as parks. One of the most unique aspects of the former military site is the remains of the WW 1 era shore batteries. At one time, two pairs of 14 in (355mm) “disappearing rifles (canons)” were positioned to throw 1200 lb (544 Kg) anti-ship rounds as far as Catalina Island 18 miles (30 Km) distant. Two gun emplacements and their associated fire director building have been turned into a museum. [livejournal.com profile] fynoda and I started our abandoned site hunt amidst the abandoned shore batteries.

Memories of hot steel [13 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Shooting Profile)
For those interested in the story here's follow up on the double murder and the immenent destruction of the Hawes Communcations Relay (Helendale Bunker). Back in January, two teenagers were shot dead execution style in the large military bunker in the desert east of Edwards AFB, California. After extensive on-line leads, four arrests have been made. Both the shooter, his principal accomplice and two lookouts are in custody for the crime. For whatever reasons, the district attorney is not going for the death penalty for the shooter.

In related news, the Bureau of Land Management which controls the site and the USAF which owns it, have commenced the demolition process. I held off mentioning this till now so barriers and security could be established and no final sight-seers would attempt the visit. According to Air Force and press releases, the site will be down by my May. No explosives will be used and instead the upper sections of the bunker will be broken up and dumped into the lower casements of the old AF station. Following that, the dirt which once covered exterior of the bunker will be backed over the rubble.
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Taking Wing)
According to the Los Angeles Times - Police arrested the probable suspects of the two youths.

Additionally, local authorities have convinced US Air Force authorities to destroy the site by the end of the year.



jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
The San Bernardino Press-Enterprise posted an updated story with photos.

jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Reporter Paul LaRocco for The Press-Enterprise in San Bernardino contacted me via E-mail today. He brought this to my attention.


"San Bernardino County sheriff’s detectives continue to seek the public's help locating people with information in last weekend's shooting deaths of a teenage couple at an abandoned High Desert military bunker.

Cody Thomson, 18, of Apple Valley, and his girlfriend, 16-year-old Bodhisattva "Bodhi" Sherzer-Potter, of Helendale, were found dead Saturday afternoon at the old Hawes Auxiliary Field bunker, where they had attended a party the night before, sheriff’s officials have said. Both failed to return home Friday night, and a friend who returned to the party site looking for them Saturday discovered the bodies, officials said.

Detectives said Wednesday they believe they have interviewed the majority of teens who had attended the party Friday night but no suspects have been identified. A motive also has not been released.

Both teens attended the Academy of Academic Excellence in Apple Valley. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 909-387-3589 or the department's anonymous tip line at 1-800-782-7463."

All I can say is damn...

EDIT: (10 Jan 07; 11am pst) I just got off the phone with Paul and he is planning to contact me if further info is released to the public. He will be going out to the site shortly to document and photograph where these kids were found. By all accounts, the story has surprised and shocked many people familiar with the site.

EDIT 2: The Los Angeles newspapers and news channels have picked up the story now.
Parents and Friends React in Double Murder (w/photos)
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As mentioned before, on this trip, my partner and I visited 4 locations on and close to US Highway 395 in the western Mojave Desert.

1. The Hawes Communications Bunker (Visit #4 because she wanted to see it);
2. The Atolia Tungsten Mines (4 miles square – 100+ mine openings);
3. Randsburg, CA (A Class C “living” ghost town – 300 houses, 78 residents);
4. Boron Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp (This required two visits)

Without a doubt, one of the most amazing places I’ve ever gotten to photograph and explore was this next site. Boron Air Force Station was a remote but in military terms autonomous ‘radar” base in the Mojave Desert near Edwards AFB. The site was constructed in the 1950’s and housed several radar complexes, including the primary regional air defense radar for the Los Angeles/San Diego region. It is also included a backup radar control site according to some documents for the Los Angeles NIKE missile batteries that protected the area until the 1970’s. The configuration of the radar towers seems to support that a NIKE radar site was here at one time, though the nearest acknowledged launch battery was over 70 miles away. In the 1970’s (about the same time NIKE was deactivated), the Air Force declared the site surplus and turned it over to the Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons) and the FAA. After two years of modification, the Boron Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp opened for business.

Boron Minimum Security FPC (outdoor views)


into the Great Wide Open.. [16 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Like I said in previous posts, I was extremely busy this summer exploring and photographing places new and old. Normally I don’t like going back to old sites as I prefer to keep the image of the place locked from the first visit. On this trip, my partner and I visited 4 locations on and close to US Highway 395 in the western Mojave Desert.

1. The Hawes Communications Bunker (Visit #4 because she wanted to see it);
2. The Atolia Tungsten Mines (4 miles square – 100+ mine openings);
3. Randsburg, CA (A Class C “living” ghost town – 300 houses, 78 residents);
4. XXXXX Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp (This required two visits)

These aren’t noted in our actual order of travel but it makes for a slight smoother narration. Without exception, all of these are dangerous and fairly sensitive sites. They also made for one of the most exciting abandoned site hunts I’ve ever gone on.

First Stop – Hawes AF Communications Site (“The Bunker”)

Not quite Oblivion – but you can see it on a clear day (5 behind the cut) )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Exploring)
I was going to post photos from the lighthouse complex, but I think those are mainly going to go to the “nature photo of the day” files. Never fear there will be some posted later by themselves. Instead, one of the next places we visited after the tide pools was a fading remnant of the Cold War.

Welcome to Battery LA-43, Fort McArthur former NIKE Hercules Missile Battery

Proceed through the security gate with caution.

Getting above it all [15 and a video behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
I was going to post photos from the lighthouse complex, but I think those are mainly going to go to the “nature photo of the day” files. Never fear there will be some posted later by themselves. Instead, one of the next places we visited after the tide pools was a fading remnant of the Cold War.

Welcome to Battery LA-43, Fort McArthur former NIKE Hercules Missile Battery

Proceed through the security gate with caution.

This way ->
jjmaccrimmon: (Pissed Off)
Today, the USAF announced that a B-52 flew across the US with 5 “live” cruise missiles mistakenly loaded onboard. When we say live, we mean carrying 5 150 kiloton nukes on the 5 mistakenly loaded missiles. Oh btw the missiles were being flown to Louisiana to be scraped. Before anyone thinks the freak-o-meter is pinging, remember that the Buff was made to um.. carry nukes, safely.. most of the time.

Important B-52 Articles
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
As we continued eastward into the Barstow area, it became increasingly apparent something odd was going on. No more than 300 yards / meters down the highway we started seeing survey stakes and markers. Within a mile of the first house, we saw two forlorn homes boarded up next to each other. Welcome to the Pigeon Homes.

Anyone care for squab? [12 behind the cut] )
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So many roads less traveled exist out there. This isn’t one of them. The California Hwy 58 corridor between Barstow and Bakersfield is one of the busiest, non-interstate highways in the US. Because of its level of use, CalTrans (California Dept of Transportation) has been steadily working at the road by expanding many of the two lane sections and eliminating chokepoints. In layman’s terms, this means removing homes, bypassing communities and sterilizing the area of any roadside character. That being said, we took a trip out along the 58 heading east towards Barstow with the intention of mainly driving along Route 66 beyond what we’d seen already. Instead, we found things along CA Hwy 58 that we’d not anticipated. Angie [livejournal.com profile] badgerphone, my daughter Brenna [livejournal.com profile] persephone1313, my son Chris and I went a wandering in May and here’s what we found.

Before cruising down the 58 we made one stop at the Revere Extrusion Plant (ruins) to show the site to Angie. She posted photos on her LJ much closer to the visit than these, but while scouting the site for safety, I found a 5 to 6 foot long Great Basin Gopher Snake. If you’re phobic of snakes do not look behind the first cut, proceed to the second one.

Slitherly Thing )
On the road again )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
In our further wanderings around George (on this visit), we pushed ever deeper into the commercial district of the old air base. Remember that most US military centers are small cities, with shopping, food, entertainment and even banks. From Children’s World we saw the local bank building alone and forlorn, so we elected to pay it a closer visit.

I’m sorry, but this window is closed - permanently

”Openings )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Photographer)
After departing the Hawes Communication Relay bunker, we back tracked and headed south along US Hwy 395 hoping to find ruins or sites along the way. Unfortunately other than sage brush and Joshua trees, there’s very little to be seen close to this busy highway. Given our lack of success, we swung by the abandoned sections of the former George AFB, now the Southern California Logistics Airport. As mentioned previously, George AFB was closed in 1988 and much of the facilities were left to decay while the community struggled to decide what to do with the vast air base. Much of George is a ghost town existing in various states of adaptive reuse, decay or preparation for the bulldozer.

When first entering the old base area (versus the maintained flight operations area), the first thing you pass through are the remains of the “Wherry” and “Capeheart” styled housing areas. These houses could not be reutilized because some were considered sub-standard for utilities, some had asbestos, and some were considered outside of local building codes. Now they look like a war zone.

Welcome to the battlefield
Going for a stroll down Memory Lane (14 behind the cut) )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Several months ago (February in fact), the munchins and I made a trip out to the Hawes Bunker (this was visit 2 of 3). This was mainly a side trip as we searched locations along the US 395 corridor. As it happens the search along US 395 wasn’t terribly successful so we stopped at familiar places like Hawes, and the former George AFB. On the way home, we found a bunch of 1880 thru 1920 era shacks in the desert near Lake Los Angeles.

Why so long with these photos?.. Read on at the bottom..

The pit of despair - This time we visited the Hawes site with heavy duty lights. Even with these lights, it was still and very, very dark.

Into the depths of darkness (5 behind the cut) )


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April 2017



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