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Ghost Town Tuesday; McCoy Air Force Base

Back in 2015 I explored the ruins of McCoy Air Force Base which was located on the west runway of Orlando International Airport in the City of Orlando.






McCoy Air Force Base on the western runway of Orlando International Airport in an area known now as the Orlando Tradeport.  McCoy AFB was originally constructed in 1940 as a civilian replacement airport for the Orlando Municipal Airport which was converted to Orlando Army Airfield.  By 1942 the new airport was leased to the Army and was renamed Orlando Army Airfield #2.  In 1943 the name would change to Pinecastle Army Airfield after a community just to the north on Conway Road.

Pinecastle Army Airfield would operate through the end of World War II and was handed back over to the City of Orlando in 1947 with a reversal clause.  The reversal clause allowed the Army to reestablish Pinecastle Army Airfield in 1951.  By 1952 the modern 12,000 foot runways still in use at Orlando International Airport were built.  By 1958 the base was renamed to McCoy Air Force base, the name came from a pilot that crashed a B-47 north of the runways in 1957.  By 1964 commercial airlines began to use the runways at McCoy Air Force Base in favor of the much smaller Hendron Airport which was once the Orlando Army Airfield.  By 1968 all commercial air traffic had been moved to McCoy Air Force Base.

In 1973 McCoy Air Force Base was ordered to close and Air Force Operations ended in 1975 with the runways being turned over to the City of Orlando.  McCoy Air Force Base became the McCoy Annex of Naval Training Center Orlando which shuttered in 1999.  The Orlando Tradeport largely was built upon the unused McCoy Annex and Hurricanes in the 2000s gradually chipped away at the structures that remained.  Interestingly Orlando International Airport still has a designation of "MCO" which is from the days when it was McCoy Air Force Base.

The most obvious ruin from McCoy Air Force Base is the abandoned CSX Taft-McCoy Spur line.  The former military base has all sorts of railroad traffics laying around unused approaching the west runway from Taft.











Not much is left from the previous military structures as most were damaged and razed following Hurricane Charley in 2004.  There are various parking lots still accessible next to largely empty streets, some older Google Car images still pick up the buildings.









Comments

Unknown said…
The 2 large hangars are from when MCO was an Air force base....also at the Boggy Creek end of Tradeport dr.storage bunkers let from airforce can still be seen.
Tom said…
I was stationed at McCoy AFB from November 1965 until June 1968, during which I also had tdy assignments and then I shipped over to Korea for the next two years. I returned to Orlando 9 years later with my family on vacation and I could barely recognize Orlando since Disney World changed so much in the area. I would say it spoiled what was a perfect little town.
Albert B said…
Lived on Mccoy AFB 1964-1965 as a 14 year old dependent. Pop was in Air Force. Learned to play golf at the base golf course.Caddied for a one armed golfer who was a Professional at that course.
Anonymous said…
I live in the back great sound today. I'm amazed at the beauty of our neighborhood. I am extremely sad that they are allowing warehouses and possibly apartments. We have to enjoy it for now because it will never be the same.
John w said…
If it's the same base I'm thinking of there used to be a bar that had dwarf tossing contests.
Unknown said…
I was stationed at the Pine Castle A.F.B. when it was renamed Mccoy A.F.B. and was discharged from there Sept. 5th 1960 .
Unknown said…
Arrived at McCoy September 1961 and was discharged July 1965. In between, spent 10 months at aviano AFB, Italy. Coming from Pittsburgh to Orlando in 1961 was like entering a different world,a paradise filled with so much to see and do.it preceded Disney and that's what made it unique and special. I experienced both the Kennedy assination and the Cuban missile crisis. Proud of my military contribution and very lucky to have been stationed at McCoy and aviano.
My Father was an NCO in the Hound Dog missile maintenance squadron from 1962 to 1967. I remember the build up for the Cuban Missile Crisis, the never-ending sound of jet engines in the air and on the ground, and the surety that if the balloon went up, we would smack the crap outta the Soviets...such was the thinking of a 10 year old boy. I loved the sights and sounds of the flightline which I could easily access from Durrance Elementary School just outside of the base to the West. (As of this missive, Jan 2023, Durrance closed a few years ago.) I equated those sights and sounds with freedom and later went on to my own USAF flying career. I attended Oak Ridge High when it was a comprehensive school from seventh to 12th grade, but left at the end of freshman year to go to the cold and heartless North. One cherished memory I have of McCoy is of Christmas Card Lane, right down the main drag linking the main gate to the rest of the base. All of the Squadrons created Christmas-themed, life-sized Christmas cards lining each side of the road. The Civil Engineering Squadron always won the competition...big surprise. In my mind, the last image I have is of the CES Card which featured a large billboard above which was a large globe with Santa in his sleigh and his reindeer circling the globe. I enjoyed a great childhood.
BANDIT44 said…
Dad was stationed there just after McCoy AFB became a Naval Annex in 1974. We lived on Shira Street from May '74 to August '76 and at that time there were many Air Force and Navy families living on the Base. I loved it as a teenager and forged many friendships / saw a lot of Orlando - and Orlando became my permanent home after dad retired in 1977 until I myself went into the USAF in 1984.

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