Loring Series Part 1

By  | 

LORING AIR FORCE BASE, ME (WAGM) - When Loring Air Force Base was in the first phase of construction many families in the area had to relocate. John Bourgoine was a young boy at the time and remembers the day the government came in to take his home. "You are being uprooted and asked to leave your land. Land that my Father and his brother had come up in this area and cleared and made it in to a farm." Bourgoine's family had to leave their farm for good on July 4th, 1947. Construction on the base was just beginning. Their farm land would turn in to what was known as the pea patch. The pea patch was a parking and maintenance area for airplanes.

As the base was being built many people from the surrounding communities looked to the base for jobs. Reginald Ouellette started working on the base clearing brush just to get clearance. Ouellette remembers the base changing from day to day. "At the time there was an urgency in getting things done. If you missed a week for some reason or other when you came back it had changed so much you could hardly recognize it. It was a lot of big construction. Everyday you would turn around there would be a new road built here somewhere or woods that were there would be gone and the buildings went up fast."

The planes started to arrive just as quickly. Ouellette remembers working on the base in the operations building when the first B36's came in for a landing. He recalls the crew member's families being in the operations building watching the landing and one little boy saying, "look here comes Daddy's plane."

The base did take a lot of farm land but it also created a lot of jobs. The communities all benefited. People even traveled every day from places like Fort Kent to work on the base.