|SAC Bases: Ramey
Air Force Base
|B-52 scramble during
Rafael Hernandcz Airport civilian facility is home base to the U.S. Coast
Guard and Puerto Rico Air National Guard, as well as
the U. S. Customs & Immigration Service.
In 1939 the site for a major new air base was
selected at Punta Borinquen. This site was located on the northwest comer
of the island, some 60 miles west of San Juan and six miles north of
Aguadilla, the nearest settlement. The Punta Borinquen lighthouse was on
the site. Some 3,796 acres covered by sugar cane, had been purchased at a
cost of $1,215,000. On 18 September 1948 it was renamed Ramey Air Force
Base, in honor of Brigadier General Howard K. Ramey (1896-1943), who was
killed in the South Pacific on a reconnaissance mission during World War
Ramey Air Force Base was an important Strategic
Air Command installation in Puerto Rico during the early Cold War, hosting
the 72d Bombardment Wing. The 60th Bomb Squadron first operated the B-52
from August of 1959 to June of 1971 while assigned to the 72nd Bomb Wing
at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. In 1971, B-52 operations ceased at Ramey.
The Rafael Hernandez regional airport is a
sorely underutilized piece of prime airport infrastructure. It boasts the
longest runway of any aviation facility in the Caribbean and South
America, measuring 13,000 feet or more than two miles long (including its
overrun) and is surrounded by over 1,200 acres of undeveloped land.
Compared to Puerto Rico's main airport Luis Muņoz Marin International in
Carolina, that measures only 75 acres and is developed to its fullest
according to FAA regulations, Aguadilla has an enormous economic
Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen moved to this
location from San Juan in the fall of 1971, at which time the Coast Guard
took possession of an outstanding hangar with adjacent support facilities.
The responsibility for the station complex, formerly part of Ramey Air
Force Base and later Naval Station Roosevelt Roads West Annex, was assumed
by the Coast Guard on 1 July 1976.
The primary mission of Coast Guard Air Station
Borinquen is search and rescue. Secondary missions include: law
enforcement, aerial support for ATON, and logistic support. Coast Guard
Air Station Borinquen is located at Rafael Hernandez Airport on the
Northwest tip of Puerto Rico. The closest city is Aguadilla, just 10
minutes to the South. Included in the boundaries of the base are the
housing area, clinic and dispensary, station library, community center,
swimming pool, exchange, mini-mart, package store, gymnasium and other
fitness facilities, chapel, and theater.
|Tough Duty! Guys from
Mountain Home, Plattsburgh, Dow, Loring and other frost line bases would
sure have appreciated a TDY to Ramey, say from November through March.