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Building Glynco

First Top Truss of Hanger 1The Navy established nine major LTA naval air stations in the continental US during WWII, including Glynco.  Through these stations the Navy operated five different airship classes, including the G, L, TC, and K-type airships.  Contained in a pair of massive wooden hangars, Glynco hosted a fleet of 8 K-type airships.  Construction of the base began in the fall of 1942 and all necessary facilities were completed in 14 months, which was remarkable considering the scope of work.  The station was commissioned in January 1943 when it was approximately one-third complete.

Of all the construction necessary for the air station, the giant blimp hangars posed the greatest problem.  Because steel was crucial to the war effort and in short supply, the hangars had to be fabricated from wood, which involved specific preparations to allow them to take the stress and withstand weather conditions.  The heavy Douglas fir timber trusses were cut in Oregon and Washington, fabricated and numbered, and shipped to Glynco on rail cars via treating and fire-proofing plants.  Steel tower derricks were used as scaffolding for the 51 trusses in each hangar.  The two hangars, measuring 1,000 feet long, 297 feet wide and 150 feet high, were thought to be the largest wooden structures of their type in the world.  Each was a parabolic arch large enough to cover six football fields.  Total cost for each, along with its equipment, was $3 million.  First Truss in Place on Hanger 1

In addition to the hangars, the station also called for construction of enormous landing mats, taxiways, mooring-out circles, gas and helium tanks, administration and storage facilities, housing for officers and enlisted personnel, roads and a railroad spur, a mess hall, a fire station and garage, a radio transmitter building and tower, a sewage treatment plant and sewer system, and all utilities such as electricity, telephones, and water systems.  Except for the hangars, almost all structures were relatively simple and designed to be temporary. 

The first airship squadron, ZP-15, arrived at Glynco in February, 1943, and immediately began operating along the Atlantic coast.  Commander Anthony L. Danis was the first commanding officer.  Glynco was the operating base for Airship Squadrons One and Two and Fleet Airship Wing Thirty from 1943 to 1945. 

The airships were used primarily for patrol and convoy duty.  A convoy consisted of as many as 100 ships accompanied by several airships flying ahead in search of enemy submarines.  During the war, approximately 98,000 ships were escorted in convoy with no casualties.