Loring Series Part 4

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LORING AIR FORCE BASE, ME (WAGM) - Loring Air Force Base was a hub of the County. Many either lived, worked or served in our around this base or contracted to it. So when the base closed it was devastating to our economy. It was also devastating for those that lived or served on the base. Bill Ossenfort was stationed on the base for seventeen years. When he returned to the area he couldn't believe what he saw. He said, "It was like a ghost town."

Cuppy Johndro remembers those final days living on the base and watching her husband return home each day from work. "It was really sad. I mean he would come home and he was packing records and packing the department." Johndro remembers how one by one they would have a party for those leaving. She said the parties eventually dwindled down to pizza parties with only a few people standing around. "It was one of those things you just didn't want to be a part of and every time you were it was miserable."

The base was once the home of about ten thousand military personnel and their families. It has been estimated that when the base shut down in 1994, Aroostook County lost fifteen perfect of its population over the following decade. That loss effected businesses, like Plourde and Plourde in Caribou. Robert Plourde said, "We lost just about twenty-five percent of our gross sales which was quite a hit and I think most of Caribou felt the very same thing. I wasn't very happy about the closure and I don't think most of the people and business people of Caribou were very happy about it."

Business wasn't the only loss felt. Those that had connections to the base lost many friends after the closure. Things will never go back to the way they were before here at Loring but these veterans will always have the special memories from their time here.