RAF Greenham Common is set in Berkshire and was opened in 1942.
During WWii it was used by both the RAF and the USAF. During this time a number of squadrons were based here.
The Cold War raised concerns as the strategic command posts were based in the East, including RAF Sculthorpe. It was decided to move them further west behind the fighter squadrons. In 1951 Greenham Common was handed over to the USAF to be used as a strategic air command base for the cold war. There were significant upgrades to the site including a new 3048 metre runway. By 1953 the new site was operational.
In 1958 further upgrades were made to the runway to accommodate the Boeing B_52 Stratofortress bomber. None of them were ever based here but they made regular training visits. Strategic Air Command finally left the site in the summer of 1964. The USAF kept control of the base for storage and emergency use.
So the reason for going here was to check out the GAMA site. Constructed in 1980 it was a QRA (quick reaction alert) area comprising six above ground shelters. These were used to store cruise missiles. Standing at around 10 metres high they were covered in two metres of reinforced concrete, a huge titanium plate three metres of sand and finally covered in clay. This was designed to protect the missiles and crews from heavy duty bombs and even a nuclear strike. Supposedly they could withstand a direct hit of an 1100kg bomb!
Within minutes of an alert they could be ready to fire in selected spots in the local area.
In 1987 all nuclear missiles were removed from the site and in 1991 the site finally closed.
So now it lays abandoned. You may recognise the site from the Star Wars film The Force Awakens. It was used as the base for the resistance.
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