The last P-3C stationed at NAS Brunswick, Maine has gone wheels up for the last time, a victim of the latest Base Closure and Realignment Committee decision:
The P-3 Orions of the VP-26 squadron lumbered down an 8,000-foot runway before heading off to a six-month deployment in Central America. After that, they fly to their new home at Florida’s Jacksonville Naval Air Station.
The planes took off without any speeches or fanfare about 50 minutes apart Saturday afternoon. A small group of visitors gathered at the base operations building to watch, including Albert Stehle of Bowdoinham, whose father, Leroy Stehle, commanded the VP-26 during the early 1970s.
“I just came to see the last plane take off,” said Stehle, a building contractor who lives in the flight path of the base and will no longer be able to look up and see the planes bearing the squadron’s trident insignia. “After being a Navy brat for all these years and having to miss your dad because he was off on deployment, you finally realize it was all for a great cause.”
Brunswick, once home to 4,000 sailors and six patrol squadrons, now has a skeleton crew. Its two runways are scheduled to close in January and personnel will continue to leave the base until it closes for good in May 2011.
One of the few naval air stations I never flew into or out of during my career. Just wasn’t on the way to anything.
Apart, you know: From the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap.
I think the Mainiacs like it that way.