Naval Air Station Brunswick was the last military airfield under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense that was still operating in the northeastern part of the United States of America. The installation was entirely closed on May, 31-st, 2011. Its activity was ceased during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission. Its importance was not convincing enough for the officials who decided to slowly shut it down. The process began immediately after the commission took the decision, with the final closure in 2011. The base was located in the southwestern side of Maine, close to the city with the same name. It was the second most important employer in the state. There were close to 5,000 employees on site, counting both military troops and civilian personnel. The installation supported the local economy with almost $200 millions on a yearly basis.
NAS Brunswick was part of the complicated process to strengthen the United States of America prior and during World War II. The place it was built on had a long lasting tradition in the area for blueberry fields even since the 18-th century. The authorities spent quite a while looking for a good place. After the decision was taken, the base was officially opened on April, 15-th, 1943. The United States of America were already in war at that time. The general objective of the installation was not to help the country. Instead, it was mostly designed for the allied nations that cooperated with it throughout World War II. NAS Brunswick was entirely used by the Canadian and British forces to train their pilots. The mission was kept until after World War II ended. Soon after the V Day, when Japan finally surrendered to the allied nations, the facility was closed and inactivated. It was opened again a few years later, during the Korean War. In 1951, it was reactivated with the clear mission to support anti submarine operations and training missions.
Starting with the ’70s, the base gained some importance in the area after the Atlantic Fleet of the USA set up its headquarters on site. The installation became the primary support force for a lot of nearby installations.
Aside from World War II and the Korean War, the facility didn’t really interfere too much in the other major conflicts of the 20-th century. The next major event occurred in 2005, when NAS Brunswick was among the facilities the BRAC commission decided to shut down. Most of the aircrafts and the military personnel were relocated to a similar settlement from Florida – NAS Jacksonville. The process began early, but the base was entirely disestablished in the spring of 2011. The last couple of flights took off on November, 28-th, 2011. it was a sad day for all those who served NAS Brunswick over the years.
For a lot of people, NAS Brunswick was the workplace for a lifetime. For many others, it was a new military installation. The closure affected both sides. Most of them were forced to relocate to a different state.