Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Building 3001 at Tinker Air Force Base

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Building 3001 at Tinker Air Force Base

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - It's the largest single-use building in the state. A small town-size number of employees work inside it daily. Yet, most of the state's population has never seen the monstrous structure.

Building 3001 at Tinker Air Force Base was constructed between 1941 and 1942 as the Douglas Assembly Building for the Douglas Cargo Aircraft Plant. It measures three-fourths mile long, 1,000 feet wide at its longest point, and 2.4 million square feet in total. By comparison, the Devon Energy Tower measures 1.8 million square feet. Building 3001 is the third largest building in the U.S. Department of Defense, with the Pentagon holding the No. 1 spot. It measures 6.6 million square feet.

Building 3001 was constructed as an international style using steel columns and trusses for the superstructure and brick masonry for the exterior walls. It was built without windows for protection during an attack. It is self-sustaining, meaning it has places where people can eat, exercise, and even make bank transactions.

When Douglas left in 1945, the U.S. Army Air Forces annexed the building and plant, which is east of the Tinker entrance. The Air Force did not become a separate branch until September 1947.

During World War II, many women worked in the building since the male workforce was overseas. The Rosie the Riveters built 5,300 C- 47 airplanes between 1942 and 1945. In 1946, the Enola Gay B-29 Superfortress was restored in the building between its mission in Hiroshima and its next trip to Bikini Atoll.

In 1984, a fire destroyed nearly half the roof, creating a reconfiguration of the building.

But the C47 and the Enola Gay haven't been the only planes inside the structure during its history. The DC-4 and C-54 plane were serviced, which were used in the Berlin air lift operation. T-6 Texan Trainer, the KC-97, the F-105, and the A-7 are other aircraft have been maintained inside Building 3001. …

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