There are uncounted military sites you can see in America that are off the beaten path. All you’ll need is this book and a driver’s license to get onto the military bases that allow visitors, or a map to find the secret sites.
Military bases serve up not only an inside view of what our men and women of the armed forces do, but give us feel for the traditions of each branch -- and a lot of our U.S. history. Do you remember the Berlin Airlift of 1948? Go to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois for a walk back in time to a day when aerial caravans of cargo planes came and went 24/7 delivering coal and food to a city isolated by the Cold War. Perhaps intrigue is more your suit. You can’t go into Area 51 but the government now acknowledges that it exists so a drive around the perimeter lets your imagination go wild.
While you’re in Nevada you can see the museum at Nellis Air Force base in Las Vegas and drive around and discover a few of our secret dry lake beds that were once designated National Alternate Landing sites for returning cold war nuclear bombers. Then there’s the incredible National Atomic Testing Museum right there in Las Vegas with all of our formerly secret nuclear air-to-air missiles, nuclear howitzers, nuclear artillery shells and who knows what – all that the armed forces actually fired and exploded on the atomic test ranges just north of Las Vegas at the Frenchman Flat on the Nevada Test Site (also open for tours).
Maybe you’re seen pictures of the military boneyards, those seemingly endless acres of desert sands carpeted by airplanes? The best known is at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. On top of their mind-blowing collection of mothballed fighters and bombers, they have a fabulous museum that offers tours, too. That said, it is by no means the only boneyard in the U.S. Well off the grid are mothballed aircraft carriers in Bremerton, Washington, the naval frigates and destroyers in the Philadelphia Naval Yard, and a second boneyard near Mojave Airport in California.
Plus many, many more.
L. Douglas Keeney is an historian, researcher, speaker and author of more than a dozen books on American history. His career started in the 1960s when as a young boy Keeney spent many happy hours digging through his grandmother's attic. Oddly, it wasn’t so much the objects he found but rather the crumpled newspapers wrapped around his grandmother's dishes and mementos that triggered his imagination. Those papers contained headlines from World War II. Keeney was hooked. During his years in marketing he won numerous awards for new product development. A pilot and scuba diver, he lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife, the journalist Jill Johnson Keeney.
For more information, see www.douglaskeeney.com.