Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Dow AFB, Maine

Dow Air Field, near Bangor Maine, was closed shortly after the end of World War II. It was then reactivated for the Korean War, and finally closed in 1968. Dow Air Force Base was a primary employer in Bangor area until its closure. Bangor is a small city located in central Maine that maintains an balance between small town comfort and the resources associated with an urban setting. Bangor International Airport is located on the former Dow Air Force Base. Bangor is the major transportation and distribution center for the northern two-thirds of the state of Maine. At the Bangor International Airport, several airlines provide regular passenger and cargo flights to cities throughout the United States and Europe.

The 341st Bomb Squadron operated the B-52G from May of 1960 to February of 1963 while assigned to the 4038th Strategic Wing at Dow AFB, Maine. The 596th Bomb Squadron operated the B-52G from February 1963 to April 1968 while assigned to the 397th Bomb Wing at Dow, and subsequently moved to Barksdale AFB in 1968.

The 174th Fighter Squadron was called to Active Duty on April 1, 1951 and assigned to the Strategic Air Command. The unit was processed through mobility and transported to Dow AFB. While at Dow, the unit experienced snowstorms that dumped more than 27-inches at a time. Drifts of more than ten feet were not uncommon.

The 49th Pursuit Squadron and was activated on Jan. 15, 1941. During this time, primary squadron aircraft consisted of P-40s, P-43s and P-66s. In early 1942, the squadron was sent to Europe for participation in World War II and given P-38s, flying the twin-engine aircraft on bomber escort missions alongside B-17s and B-24s. Upon returning stateside, the 49th was reformed as a National Guard unit and assigned to Dow AFB, Maine, on Nov. 20, 1946. On Oct. 2, 1949, the squadron was deactivated with all of its assets being assigned to the 2264th Standby Squadron Headquarters, 14th Fighter Group. In Nov. 1952, the 49th was reactivated as the 49th Interceptor Squadron and again assigned to Dow AFB under the command of the 4711th Defense Wing. During this time, the 49th formed its first alert detachment located at Limestone AFB and Preque Isle AFB, Maine. While at Dow AFB, the squadron flew F-80Cs, F-86D/Fs, T-33As, T-6Gs and one C-47 aircraft. In June 1968, the 49th received the F-106 Delta Dart, which flew for the next 19 years, until it inactivated in July 1987.

The Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP), a Congressionally directed program (PL 98-212), provides for an expanded effort in environmental restoration. It emphasizes the identification, investigation and cleanup of hazardous and toxic waste; unexploded ordnance; and unsafe buildings, structures and debris at current and former military facilities. One hundred and eighty-one formerly used Defense sites have been identified in Maine. Investigations at 180 sites are now complete, including 92 where no work was found to be necessary. The remaining site, which will be scheduled for investigation in the future when funds become available, is Area Mike Bombing Range, North Berwick (1st CD).

A site inspection, to determine if contamination is present, is complete at the former Dow Military Airfield (2nd CD). The areas investigated were the former salvage yard, fire pit training area, and dump site at the end of the runway. Contamination found does not pose a significant risk, but future evaluation was considered. The remedial investigation at Dow Military Airfield Helicopter Pad, Bangor (2nd CD) included additional ecological sampling involving surface water, sediment, and fauna in an adjacent drainage area, conducted in July 1999. The final report was completed after the ecological sampling and issued in September 1999.




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