Buildings, ammo bunkers left behind on old USAF base

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach Air Force Base closed up in 1993, but the Air Force left behind more than buildings on the property which has become one of Myrtle Beach's most popular commercial districts.

"The building we're in now was the Wing Operation Center," said Air Force veteran Gary Murray, who helps out at the Veterans' Café. "This was the heart of the entire mission."

Many of the buildings leftover from the old base have found new life in the Market Common district, though some have been abandoned since the early 90's, like six ammunition bunkers on the sight of a new housing development.

Crews are removed the thick, concrete structures, which have been empty since the military left. Buddy Styers, director of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority, says the city, county, and Air Force have worked meticulously to make sure nothing dangerous was left behind.

"I would say you won't find any," he said. "But people who lived here during World War II would tell you they used to use that area to test artillery."

Styers says the last known instance of unexploded ordinance in the Market Common area happened about six years ago, when construction crews found a practice bomb.

"It's a little blue bomb," Styers said. "It's tiny, and doesn't contain any actual explosives."

Styers says for the most part, all structures on the old base are accounted for, even if they're back in undeveloped parts of Market Common. Local veterans say seeing those structures unearthed brings back memories.

"Something just goes off and you say 'Oh, I remember one could winter night when I had to guard that thing,'" Murray said. "Yeah, it really brings back memories."

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