Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station is an abandoned radar base outside Finley, North Dakota.  Closed in 1979, the site now functions as a landfill.  Similar to the Minot and Fortuna Air Force Stations, Finley AFS was a ground control intercept facility tasked with detecting and dispatching intercept aircraft in the event unidentified aircraft threatened to penetrate American air space. The role of facilities like this evolved with the advent of the ICBM, but eventually North Dakota’s Air Force Stations were phased out.

Finley Air Force Station

Just like what we’ve seen in other abandoned military bases in the state, the salvage rights to the base were sold, and the salvage crews blew holes in the walls to get the boilers and scrap metal out of the buildings.

Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station

A motocross track now exists where the airmen’s housing used to be. The sidewalks are a remnant.

Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

17 Comments on “Finley Air Force Station

  1. Pingback: Return to Sherbrooke : GhostsofNorthDakota.com

  2. This pictures are incredible! My father was stationed here in the late 70’s and I remember some of these houses. Wow.

  3. Sad to see it like it is now. I was stationed there for it’s last days in 1979 as a radar technician.

  4. I remember being there in 1971 (dentist) when we had one full hurricane weekend. Temp. hit -42F with 75mph wind…wind chill off the chart at about -120F. But guess what my 67 VW started like it was South Beach!

    • The old air-cooled VW’s were always the first vehicles to get moving in winter!!!

  5. Dad would drive us by the large round Radar. It was all very mysterious to us. We were from GF and I remember in Roosevelt Grade school, we had air raids where we had to get in the hallways and cover our heads. Then there were the sonic booms. Very scary. Telling people to be prepared for the atomic bomb, because of course GFAFB was a target and all the war heads buried in the grounds. Very grateful for the men and women who protect us .

  6. Great info, thanks! Next week I’m headed out to the Air Defense/FAA radar site located just down the road from the former Finley AFS. The link below provides some images of the deserted site that I took in 2005.

  7. I was stationed there from 1974 to 1977. Work in the power plant. Now it is just memories.

    • I was there from 1974 to 1976 as the Manager of the Klub(Officer/NCO Club). I was also in charge of the TDY Apartments at the site. I have some great memories. I believe there was a Major Starky as the base commander. He was my immediate officer that I reported to.

    • When in 1974 did you arrive? I was the NCOIC of the power plant until Oct. 1974. I reported to the Base Civil Engineer who was a civilian by the name of Ralph Bayman

    • Wow very interesting! I was stationed there and worked the night shift at the standby power plant 1962 to 1964 as an operator and diesel engine mechanic. Best regards Airmen Steve Pitt also US Army Veteran Recruiter under the command General Patton JR Fort Devons Mass. now retired Monroe GA contact: pittsteve523@gmail.com

  8. I have fond memories of my duty at Finley AFS, 1964-1967. I served about 1/2 that time in gap- filler maintance & 1/2 in WCC.

  9. I was there in 1979 as the station was closing. I worked in the Civil Engineering Shop and Central Heat Plant. I remember doing a lot more than just heating system maintenance and operating in the heating plant. I used to ride in the loader bucket in the cold winter, the loader could travel on the drifts frozen snow. I used a long pole to knock snow off the power lines. Did some carpenter and electrical work, too. I did some work for a local farmer one year, also. Sand bagging the Red River after the snow melt. I remember hunting geese, ducks, partridge, archery hunting deer, and fishing the Sheyenne River. The beautiful endless fields of sunflowers were beautiful! I may return someday just to look around.

  10. We were stationed there from Oct. ’66 until Feb ’69 and loved it as a kid. Coming from Texas, we got to experience a lot of snow and cold temps unheard of down south. I was there for 7th grade thru 9th until dad got stationed in U-Tapao, Thailand and we went back to Texas for the duration of his stay. Would love to hear from anyone stationed there, especially during my time frame.

  11. Does anyone know how to find records of the Wives Club for this base? When my aunt passed away, we found a charm bracelet with a charm that says “N.C.O./A. Wives Club Vice President 1965 Finley, ND”. My aunt was never in North Dakota, so we are puzzled as to why she had this bracelet. We would like to return the charm bracelet to its original owner or owner’s family. There are some other clues as to the owner, such as the name “Sylvia” and a zodiac charm that says “Cancer” (June 21 – July 22). Any help will be very much appreciated. Thank you!

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