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Blimps Over Brunswick
Longtime residents of Brunswick & The Golden Isles clearly remember when huge helium airships, or blimps, were a common sight in the skies above the coast. These graceful, lighter-than-air crafts first arrived in 1943, after Brunswick was selected by the U.S. Navy as the site for one of a network of air stations it established to patrol for German U-boats in coastal shipping lanes. Construction on the air station began in September of 1942 and was completed in January, 1943. The most formidable part of the project was the building of what were at the time the largest wooden structures in the world: two gargantuan hangars, each 1000 feet long, 300 feet wide and over 200 feet tall - able to hold six football fields - that would house the blimp fleet. Throughout the war, the fleet of airships based here at Naval Air Station Glynco logged thousands of hours of air time in coastal patrols and convoy escorting. In fact, airships from the Brunswick operation can boast that they escorted some 98,000 ships during the war without a single vessel or airship loss. Today, the use of jet aircraft and sophisticated electronics have replaced the blimp in anti-submarine warfare. However, these ungainly looking craft performed a vital mission during World War II. (The Navy disestablished the Air Base in 1958 and the blimp hangars were demolished in 1971. Today, Glynco is the site of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the largest law enforcement organization in the nation. [FLETC]).
- Brunswick, Georgia - History
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