A Facebook group has popped up working to organize a reunion of servicemen who served on the Naval Air Station in Bermuda. The group was the brainchild of Platoon Sergeant Jesse L. Medford, who served in Bermuda in the 1990′s.
The group seeks to elect officers and start planning a reunion for September 2010 in Myrtle Beach, and possibly one in Bermuda for 2011. They would appreciate anyone who can assist passing on the information to anyone they know who may have served in Bermuda.
Brief History of the American Base
Prior to American entry into World War II in 1941, the British Government promised 99-year rent free land rights in a number of British territories in exchange for 50 naval ships.
In addition to Bermuda; Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Antigua and Guyana also had land transferred by the UK in return for 50 US Navy destroyers
As Bermuda had not been party to the agreement, the arrival of US engineers in 1941 surprised many Bermudians. The US engineers begin surveying the island planning to take over most of the West End. Frantic protests by the Governor and local politicians led to those plans being revised.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the base was used to operate reconnaissance flights tracking Soviet shipping in the Atlantic, and it was habitually used for anti-submarine patrols through the years. By 1995, the range of submarine-launched ballistic missiles had increased that Soviet submarines no longer found it necessary to come within range of Bermuda-based patrol aircraft in order to strike their targets in the USA.
Both bases were closed in September 1995 [as were the British and Canadian bases], and the lands were formally returned to the Government and people of Bermuda in 2002. Before leaving in 1995, the United States military had occupied more than 10 percent of Bermuda.
The Stars and Stripes were officially lowered on June 2, 1995, as a lone trumpeter played “Taps.” The flag was handed to the last base Commanding Officer, Captain Timothy Bryan.