Moody restores base heritage

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eric Summers Jr.
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs
As service members, contractors and civilian employees enter the base through Mitchell Gate, they may observe the condition of many of the buildings as fairly new with brick or beige exteriors and parking lots full of cars.

As they continue to travel, they may inquire about one unique building located at the end of the street. The exterior of the building is green, a peculiar color different from the surrounding buildings. The building is surrounded by trees to the north and south and The President George W. Bush Air Park at Moody Field located directly behind it. The inside is full of debris from torn down walls and ripped apart infrastructure.

This facility is Moody AFB's heritage building, or will be after renovations to the decades old building are complete.

"It was sitting there empty and falling apart, but the renovations gives it a second life," said Kenneth Sloat, 23d Wing historian. "Becoming a heritage facility supports the commander's interest in renewing Airmen's awareness in our history."

The World War II structure was originally only a temporary building on base, but in 1976 was converted into a library. Years later the building was again transformed into a child development center annex used for before- and after-school childĀ care. Once a new Child Development Center was built, the historic structure was abandoned and began to deteriorate.

"The building is under construction to bring it up to a condition that it can be used to house memorabilia from the history of Moody AFB and the Flying Tigers," said William Bryan, 23d Civil Engineer Squadron engineering flight chief. "The building was built in 1942 when the base was established for the student pilot cadets to use as a common room or community center."

The building is the only one left of four that was in its vicinity prior to the construction of the Air Park. Since then, it has had the roof replaced, asbestos tile removed, landscaping cleaned and wooden lap siding installed to bring it back to a look similar to its original design.

"It's exciting to me, as a historian, to see a building restored that ties to our heritage and even more exciting that it will be used for recreational purposes as it was originally built for," Sloat said.

This still doesn't answer the question most people ask about the building.

"People ask, why is it green," Bryan said. "The answer is that it always has been green. All of the original buildings on base were painted green when they were built by the Army Corps of Engineers and German prisoner of war labor."

The historian intends to start base tours from the heritage facility and then continue into the Air Park, once the renovations are completed.