Abandoned Military Bases: A Blight on Our Country

It is sad to say that there are many abandoned American military and air bases throughout the country, and even the world. This is particularly true of areas that were involved in the Cold War during the 50s through the 90s. These military bases were strategically located so as to prevent airstrikes or a nuclear invasion. Many were once thought of as a potential haven for top government personnel in the event of a nuclear war. The government went so far as to actually build underground bases which they believed could withstand an attack, and most importantly, survive for decades if faced with a nuclear strike.

The boneyards

Johnston Atoll

These abandoned bases are called boneyards. This is actually a fitting nickname, since all but the shell of aircraft, tanks, barracks, and other buildings are all that now remain. At the time when these bases were closed and the soldiers relocated, it would have been a huge financial expense for the military to totally dismantle these bases. So, in their judgment, it was more cost efficient to simply leave behind the remnants of a base. These bases are so obvious that you can see a multitude of pictures demonstrating the vast disrepair of these various bases on Google Earth.

Is abandoning military bases the right decision?

While the choice of simply abandoning these bases seemed like a great idea at the time, many sectors of the military now question that decision. For example, if they had recycled all the metal from airplanes, tanks other vehicles and even barracks, they could have at least recouped a small portion of the money that it took to establish the post. It may seem strange that the salvage industry in this country is currently alive and thriving; even private individuals will drive around their area on trash day looking for recyclable materials in order to make a little extra cash.

When it becomes toxic

Tasilaq Airbase. Photo by Glenn Stevens.

Another important factor is that many of these abandoned bases have the potential for becoming a toxic waste dump. The breakdown of materials due to weather and climate deterioration can pose as a health risk to nearby communities. And of course, there will always be people who will venture onto the base either to play or to carry out some form of illicit business such as drug trafficking or prostitution.

There are such a multitude of abandoned military basis throughout the earth and in so many different countries that if this should continue I feel as though that our country that we fight for and love will soon become a disgraceful scrap yard. The United States is a beautiful well maintained country and it should remain as such. One would think that the branch of government that fights to maintain our freedoms would also display a great love and pride in maintaining the beauty of our country.

Teresa Agostino

Originally from Canada, Terri moved to the US at 16 and joined the Army Reserves at 17. She went active Army in 1991, and spent almost 2 years in Iraq as a program analyst for the Army Corps of Engineers. She currently works for the VA as an Accounts Management Supervisor. Terri has her MBA in HR management.

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