Loring AFB

Loring Air Force Base is situated on 14,300 acres in northern Maine, just outside the town of Limestone.  The base was named for Charles Loring, Jr., a native of Maine and Major in the US Air Force.  Loring was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for deliberately crashing his aircraft into enemy anti-aircraft guns during the Korean War.

Though decommissioned in 1994, Loring still serves the surrounding communities as Loring Commerce Centre.  The former air base is home to an extensive Job Corps training facility, an expansive wildlife refuge and hiking trails in the former Weapons Storage Area, Department of Defense Accounting (DFAS), New England Kenworth, and Loring Industries.  In the past, buildings have been utilized by Maine Military Authority for HMMWV restoration and by SITEL for call centers.  While many buildings have been razed and others fall in to disrepair, it is nice to see some of the infrastructure maintained.

Loring was home to the 42nd Bomb Wing, which originally flew B-36 Peacemakers, but later converted to the B-52 Stratofortress and the KC-135 Stratotanker.  Loring had several distinctions within the Strategic Air Command (SAC), including:

  • Closest continental US base to the Soviet Union

  • Largest SAC base in the US

  • Largest weapons storage capacity in SAC (10 million net explosive weight)

  • Largest fuel storage capacity in SAC (9.1 million gallons)

  • Second largest ramp space in SAC (1.1 million square yards)

  • Downhill ski area (hey, it's Maine after all)

Aircraft based at Loring include the KC-135R, B-52G, B-52H, KC-135A, B-52C, KC-97G, B-36, and F-106 Delta Dart.

To reach Loring AFB from Bangor, take I-95 north to Houlton and then take Route 1 north to Caribou.  From Caribou, take Route 89 east toward Limestone and the base will be easily spotted on your left (to the north).  Travel time is approximately 3 hours.  

In the photo gallery below, some pictures are out of chronological order, but in an order that makes sense regarding the layout of the base.  I've done my best to provide dates and relevant information for each.

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