I served with the US Air Force at England AFB from September 1971 to January 1974 and did spend much of my free time off base and in Alexandria. I remember the Knox Inn, the Mall, the numerous churches, MacArthur Drive, the Garden District, and the lighted water tower off MacArthur.
What is interesting is that my dad was stationed at Esler Field during World War II and also has memories of Alexandria. I do hope to come down for a visit sometime in the future and see the changes in the last 30 years.
During WW II my dad was stationed at Esler Field, where he met (and married) my mother, who was a Louisiana native and a civilian employee there. Last night he was regaling me with funny tales about the Hotel Bentley, so I started browsing around, and found both it and you.
I spent many a summer and holiday visiting my grandparents in northeast Louisiana, but have never been to Alexandria. Now the stories I heard long ago from my parents and grandparents have a visual reference for me. Thank you!
Hi. Wow, what memories! I stumbled on to your site and just couldn't leave it till I read all the Register sign-ins. I was assigned to Alex/England AFB in 1955 thru 1959 and assigned to England Control Tower/Rapcon. I was on duty for the commissioning flight check for the existing control tower.
My son was born at St Francis Cabrini hospital in 58 and we virtually lived off of FUZZY Burgers on Bolton and went to church at Bro Mangun's church on 16th and Day St.
We lived almost directly behind Sears on Bolton Avenue at 1111 Cushman Ave. Great place back then to live so close to the action on Bolton. Later moved to Texas Ave near the water tower. My wife worked at Standard Printing Co. Loved to hear Pap Paw Cyrus on KSYL while working in the tower.
There was another great place to eat on Lee St who had a slogan of the World's best food with the world's worst service (forgot the name)... great place to dine. I still return for a visit now and then and really enjoy it. The fishing was certainly great. Alex was the best assignment of all my 23 years of USAF. I really liked the 366 FBW and all the people also with the 401st. I remember a Col with the call sign of John Black.
Anyone wishing to ctc me please do so. Have a great day.
Robert M. Riggs
Great site! My dad was stationed at England AFB from 1984-1988. At the time I was in Elementary school, but I have nothing but fond memories of EAFB and Alexandria. Sadly I've lost contact with everyone that I knew there.
Jose F. Rodriguez
I've enjoyed visiting this site often since stumbling onto it a couple of years ago. As a young airman stationed at England AFB, Alexandria was home away from home from '61 to '64.
Though it was relatively brief, I still remember the time so very well. A lot was happening. The Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy's assassination, and Vietnam started heating up. Our overseas rotations for the 401st TFW changed from Turkey to Southeast Asia.
Favorite places in Alexandria were the drive-in near the traffic circle (was it The Palm?), the bowling alley near the other traffic circle, and a couple of watering holes--Elmer's and The Chalet. Visited Alexandria last year and The Chalet was still there!
I remember Alexandria as a good town with some wonderful people.
Lived in Alexandria LA from 1986 to 1989, on England AFB. Fond memories of people there on and off base. I wish so much to get in touch again with Debbie Corley Wiltse (and daughter Ana Claire - lived in Pineville) who used to be my daughter's teacher on base. Please, help ! Thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Came to Alexandria AFB from Alaska in Sept 1954. Was assigned to POL (Petroleum). Made TSGT there and spent two years. It was England AFB when I left. Transferred to Langley AFB, Va in 1956. Took some college courses at the college in Pineville. I liked it there and have some fond memories of that area.
Retired from the USAF in 1971, after 24 years service. My last years were spent in the computer maintenance field, working on the IBM SAGE System. Would like to hear from anyone who remembers me.
I lived in Alexandria Louisiana on England Air Force Base from Oct 1986- Feb 1989. I attended Kindergarten on base with Mrs. Mary Hoge and my sister was in Ms Debbie Corley/Wiltse. I lived on Juniper Court.
Michael "Aurelien" Carrigan
Served with the 1908 Communications Squadron at England AFB from 1967 to 1970. Beautiful base, great, friendly town.
I was there between Nov 85 - Mar 89 with the 23rd EMS Armament Systems Banch
I have enjoyed looking back at my first home away from home again. Alex was my first duty station with the Air Force back in 1985-1987.
I was fresh out of tech school and about 18 years old when I got there. My times at the clubs there were great and I met a lot of great locals who really went out of their way to make us guys feel at home. We used to go in the middle of the night to an all-night diner that was at the end of the road coming from the back gate into town but I can't remember what the name is. Great coffee though.
Great times and great friends there. Thanks for the memories!!! We need to do something like this for Savannah.
England AFB 1963-1966. 613th TFS, 614th TFS. Fighter Pilot
H. Louis Collomb
What a wonderful site!
My father was stationed at England Air Force Base when I was born. Not having been back to Louisiana in some years (too many to mention) I was wanting to see if there was a place where I might find a picture of the base to add to my memorabilia when I found your site.
Also wonderful were the postcards; my mom went into labor while she and my father were at a movie and didn't have time to get to the base doctor, so I was born at Huey P. Long Hospital.
Keep up the good work.
I was stationed at England AFB from 1968 thru 1970, and worked at the hospital. Would like to hear from some old buds. mtracey @ burkburnett.org
After reading this Register I discovered that my son and daughter have both written entries, so I am just adding to their comments. I've retired since leaving England AFB and the Air Force but if ever I had a home away from home, it was Alexandria, Louisiana. My wife, Peg (recently deceased) and kids, Bob and Michelle, were assigned to EAFB in l960-63 and again in l971-75. I was first assigned to the 653rd AC&W Sq. (60-63) as a tenant of the 401st Tac Ftr Wg and later assigned (71-75) to the Logistics Plans Div., 23rd Tac Ft Wg.
It isn't often that any of us really enjoy our stay to the bases we have been assigned to, but the people we were associated with and the facilities that were available to us were outstanding.
Some day I would like to visit Alex and renew some of the old memories that have been with me ever since I retired. I'll have to cut this short and give someone else a chance to put in their two-cents worth.
Robert J. Fiorello
Lived on base from 60-63 and again from 71-75, and attended Menard and AJH
Excellent site. Enjoyed the trip back in time. Was stationed at England AFB, 77-81, lived in Cabana Mobile Estates down from base front gate.
Wife worked at Cabrini Hospital where daughter was born. Enjoyed the area, and all the nice people. Spent a lot of time at City Auto Parts, and Dubroc's wrecking yard trying to keep my old car going. Am planning to try to make it back to the Air Park for HawgSmoke 2004.
Richard Ray USAF.Ret
LOOKING FOR A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY STATIONED THERE IN 1956
I was stationed at England AFB from Sept. 59 to Dec 63. I lived at 81A Eastwood Blvd. for awhile. I loved the city and the people. I remember Shipley Donuts and the Skelly gas station on the end of Bolton Ave. I try and remember how things use to be, and I am sorry that the youngsters today will never get to see it.
When I lived there, Grady Kelly was the sheriff. I hope that I will get a chance to visit again before long. I remember the big snowfall we had in 1959 on base and the city. Thank you for bringing back memories of some better times.
I was stationed at England AFB from 1956 until 1961. I was the NCOIC of base communications. Retired in 1968 as a E-8. I helped build the 9 hole golf course.
What a wonderful trip down memory lane! I was born on E.A.F.B. in 1963 to Bob and Peggy Fiorello. We left in '64 only to return in 1972. Went to elementary school on base. My brother Bobby went to AJH and Menard HS. Dad retired in 1975 to Tampa, FL. I miss the base life and Alex, where we frequented on the weekends. Anyone living there at our time, please drop me a line if possible. Thanks for such a great web site!
Michelle Fiorello Benetatos <michellenchris
A very nice site. I have lived in and around Alexandria, Louisiana since July 1952. Alexandria Air Force Base (now England AFB) was my first duty station out of basic training. I married a local gal back in 1953 and returned here for retirement. Love it!
Editor's Note: Be sure to visit Louis' s great Web site on England Air Force Base
I first arrived Alexandria LA in April, 1953 when I was 20 years old. I had just finished basic training in San Antonio TX and was reporting to Alexandria AFB for my first U.S. Air Force assignment as a jet mechanic. Along with my young bride, we had driven from Floral, AR (our hometown) that day and arrived in Alexandria around midnight. Being hungry and tired, we looked for a place to eat and relax.
We drove down what I remember was 3rd Street all the way east until we were out of the city. Having seen only one place open along the way, we drove back west on 3rd street to the bus station that was open all night and had a restaurant inside.
It was not until later that we learned that 3rd Street was a one way going east! We had driven all the way back to the bus station going the wrong way and had not met one car (thank goodness).
I tasted my first chicory coffee that night and called the waitress over to ask her about the "strange" taste that I was experiencing. She said "well, did you want yankee or rebel coffee"? I had not heard of the difference.
Since having been born and raised in AR and spoke with the southern accent, she had just assumed I wanted the rebel coffee. After we left the restaurant, we found a place to park and slept the rest of the night in the car since we were very short on cash and could not afford a motel.
I spent the next three and a half years at the air base (we lived off-base in town) except for a six months assignment (TDY) overseas. I have so many fond memories of Alexandria I won't even try to go into now. I will just mention that some of the memorable names of local families we became close to at that time were the Funchies, Flowers, Petries, Brooks and others. I came across your site from Betty June Flowers, daughter of Ennis and Ethel Flowers that I spoke of. She now lives in Las Vegas and we have recently exchanged e-mail addresses.
Thank you for the opportunity to view and reminisce of times in Alexandria. It brings back so many memories.
Robert E Gay
When I got there I wanted to leave, but after spending 4 yrs at the England Air Force Base fire department, those were the best years of my life, excluding my present with my family.
My family and I moved here in 1976. My husband, who was in the military, was transferred to England Air Force Base on a humanitarian transfer, and we've been here ever since. We're originally from Lafayette, so we're closer to home than before the transfer. There have been a lot of positive changes since we moved here. All for the better!
I was in Alexandria from January 1971 until August 1972. I enjoyed my stay there while serving in the US Air Force at England AFB. I made many friends in Alex while there and got to see and do lots of very interesting things.
I loved Alex very much. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Paul Zundel who owned Professional Pharmacy. I dated his daughter Nancy a few times. She is a wonderful lady and her family made me feel at home. I hope to visit Alex again soon. Thanks for the memories and pictures.
I am 76 years old and know most of those facts. Thanks for the memories. You have a wonderful site. I would like to read about the Army Camps located within 50 miles of Alexandria in the 1940s:
Camp Claiborne, located near Forest
Hill, 135,000 army personnel.
Alexandria was the center of the largest training area during WW2. All those figures may not be correct to the numbers but they are close. Also the world's largest army training mock war was held in this area. Many of our residents first saw Louisiana then and came back here to live after WW2.
Fred T. Gunter
We were a military family stationed at England AFB in Alexandria for four years and our second child was born at Rapides General Hospital.
I remember our last day stationed in Alexandria was the day that the space shuttle Challenger blew up. I'll just never forget how as we were saying goodbye to all of our friends we heard the news of the shuttle tragedy. Not a great way to depart such a beautiful area of our country.
I'd love to return some day to Alexandria to see how it's changed thru out the years. It is truly one of the more beautiful cities & states we've lived in. God bless you all.
Delbert & Laurie Funk
Alexandria (England Air Force Base) was my last duty assignment. I lived in Alexandria for two years and have often wondered how the city fared after the closing of the base there. I hope to visit this spring!