Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Western Puerto Rico

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 3/16/14.



Losey AAF (revised 4/21/13) - Vega Baja Aux Airdrome (revised 3/16/14)

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Losey Army Airfield, Potala Pastillo, PR

18 North / 66.5 West (Southwest of San Juan, PR)

A circa 1941-42 photo of a rare Boeing Stratoliner visiting Losey Field (courtesy of Ricardo Medina).



This Army Airfield on the southern coast of Puerto Rico was established by the Army Air Corps in 1941.



Losey Field was used during WW2 by fighter & bomber units.

According to George Corral, the USAAF 36th Pursuit Group was stationed at Losey Field in 1941.



A circa 1941-42 photo of two Army personnel in front of a Piper Cub at Losey Field (courtesy of Ricardo Medina).



A circa 1941-42 photo of barracks at Losey Field (courtesy of Ricardo Medina).



The last photo which has been located showing Losey Field in use was an 8/20/42 USGS aerial photo (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

It depicted Losey Field as having a single wide, paved runway, with a crosswind runway under construction.

There did not appear to be any hangars, but a series of revetments along the south side held a number of aircraft,

mostly single-engine, with at least one twin-engine aircraft.



A closeup from the 8/20/42 USGS aerial photo (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

showing a number of single-engine & twin-engine aircraft parked within revetments along the south side of Losey Field.

Notably the twin-engine aircraft on the left appears to have most of its left wing missing.



The 36th Pursuit Group was later changed to the 36th Fighter Group,

and its 3 fighter squadrons, the 22nd, 23rd, and 53rd were transferred to England in 1944.

Losey Field inactivated after that point, thus apparently ending its use as an airfield.



Losey Field was reopened as a post for ground forces in 1944, and it was renamed Camp Losey in 1950.



A 1/23/59 USGS aerial photo depicted Losey Field as having 2 wide, paved runways, with a ramp with revetments on the south side.

The southern runway was marked with 2 large closed-runway X symbols.



The US Army Caribbean Signal Agency was officially activated in 1959,

and Camp Losey was renamed Fort Allen.



The U.S. Navy began operating communication facilities at Fort Allen in 1962,

and Fort Allen was redesignated US Naval Radio Station Fort Allen in 1963.

The property was transferred to the Navy as a component of US Naval Communication Station Puerto Rico.



A single runway at "Fort Allen" was depicted on the May 1964 USAF Operational Navigation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

but it was labeled "Closed".

 

In 1970, the Headquarters & Communication Center of the Naval Communication Station Puerto Rico

relocated from San Juan to Fort Allen.



The 1977 USGS topo map labeled the site as “Fort Allen Naval Radio Station”.

It appeared to depict 2 runways, oriented northwest/southeast & east/west, connected by a north/south taxiway.



The Headquarters & Communication Center of the Naval Communication Station Puerto Rico

relocated from Fort Allen to Roosevelt Roads in 1980.



In 1980, under a presidential order,

Fort Allen was reconfigured into a receiving center for Cuban & Haitian refugees.

The current 921 acres of Fort Allen were transferred back to the US Army in early 1983.

 

As seen in the 1995 USGS aerial photo, the remains of the east/west 5,400' runway

(along with a paved parallel taxiway or runway on its south side) remained fairly well intact,

but the northwest/southeast runway had only a faintly recognizable outline.

What appeared to be the foundations of a row of hangars was visible along the southern side of the runway.



As of 2003, Fort Allen serves as an educational & support facility (logistics, facilities, utilities, maintenance, and efficiency)

for both the Army Reserve & the PR National Guard.

The Army Reserve utilizes the light maneuver area located within Fort Allen's A/I range area

to conduct night training & perimeter defense training.

 

It is not known if Losey Army Airfield was ever reused after WW2.

It was not depicted at all (even as an abandoned airfield) on recent aeronautical charts.



An October 30, 2004 USGS aerial view looking northwest at the site of Losey AAF

shows that what appears to be a large east/west grass runway with a narrow paved runway was added at some point between 1995-2004.



Losey AAF is located northwest of the intersection of Route 149 & Avenida D.

 

Thanks to Scott Murdock for pointing out this airfield.

 

See also: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/fort-allen.htm

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Vega Baja Auxiliary Airdrome, Vega Baja, PR

18.48 North / 66.43 West (West of San Juan, PR)

Vega Baja Airfield, as depicted on the May 1964 USAF Operational Navigation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



A total of 554 acres was acquired by the Federal Government in 1941

to develop the Vega Baja Auxiliary Airdrome.

The Army constructed a runway, taxiway, roads, utilities, and several buildings.

The field was used as an auxiliary airfield to Ramey Airfield,

and was used for training by units with P-36, P-39 & P-40 fighters, among others.

It was an active installation from 1941-1956, when its functions were no longer required.



Between 1956-1975, the Puerto Rican National Guard utilized the property for training purposes.

 

A single runway at Vega Baja was still depicted

on the May 1964 USAF Operational Navigation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

but it was labeled as "Abandoned".



The earliest photo which has been located of the Vega Baja airfield was an 11/22/67 USGS aerial view,

showing the airfield to have a single paved northeast/southwest runway,

with a network of taxiways extending from the west end of the runway toward a number of dispersal parking pads.



In 1976, the property was conveyed to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.



The 1977 USGS topo map depicted Vega Baja as having a single southwest/northwest runway,

with multiple taxiways on the southeast side.



Ricardo Medina reported in 2005, “Twenty five years ago the strip was used by apprentice drivers

to practice for their license driving test (I was one of them)

and at night on certain weekends it was used for illegal drag racing.”



A 1992 Army Corps of Engineers report stated that part of the site is currently used as a public park,

and the remainder of the site is still undeveloped.

 

The Vega Baja airfield property was used in 1992 by NASA to launch sounding rockets for atmospheric research.

The airfield has apparently never been reused for civilian aviation.

 

A 1995 USGS aerial photo showed that several buildings had been placed over the runway's middle section at some point between 1967-95.



Vega Baja was depicted on the 1998 World Aeronautical Chart as an abandoned airfield.



A 2000 photo by Ricardo Medina of model airplanes on the runway at Vega Baja.



An October 30, 2004 USGS aerial view looking northeast at the site of the Vega Baja airfield,

showing the model aircraft runway which has been overlaid on the west end of the former runway.



Ricardo Medina reported in 2005, “The airfield is still used as a airfield

but ironically used by a model airplane association group that fly remote controlled aircrafts on weekends.

In recent years, the airstrip was used on several occasions as drop-off place for drugs by cartel members,

forcing the authorities to divide the airstrip in half by means of a cyclone fence to prevent its further use.

Very few structures remain of that era, and the surrounding vicinity is being rapidly developed with residences.”



A 2012 photo by Paul Betancourt of Vega Baja, “Looking northwest to the end of the strip.

It appears from some of the exposed areas that the original runway surface was mix of tar & crushed local rock & coral, like the ones the 20th Air Force would construct.”



Paul Betancourt reported in 2012 of the Vega Baja airfield, “I gained access from the Parks & Recreation Department for a tour of the easiest end of the field.

The model airplane club has since been banned from the area for being problem residents.

As we saw & the superintendent pointed out, they weren't treading lightly: there's a whole lot of trash by the fence and I found stuff like broken tools.

Particularly along the western access roads & the east half of the strip, it's beginning to be reclaimed and looks similar to the strips on Bougainville, etc.

I did spend a good amount of time trying to find anything that the 22nd & 23rd Fighter Squadrons may have left behind with no results other than a sunburn.

The end of the strip is beginning to be retaken by flamboyan trees, and the auxiliary roads to the main gate, radio tower, and launch site are turning to gravel.

The taxi strip has become the park's parking lot, and the one remaining structure is being maintained.

The east end maintains the outline, but is almost completely overtaken by grass.

The Parks & Recreation guy said that they want to commemorate the field somehow, but the east end will likely become a small wind farm.”



A 2012 photo by Paul Betancourt of Vega Baja, of “the one surviving structure, near where the entrance road meets the taxiway.”



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