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Humble Beginnings - page 41 / 63





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Next to the Security Building and the Labs discussed above, is the Janet Terminal. This is where the workers arrive when they fly in from Las Vegas on the unmarked Boeing 737's. When a Janet 737 is at the terminal you can see its white tail sticking up over the hills. In the mornings and evenings the terminal and ramp area are brightly lit by yellow floodlights. In front of the Janet Terminal is the Area 51 Control Tower, partially hidden by the Jumbled Hills in the foreground.

Behind the Terminal are three taller dormitory buildings. There are a total of 33 dormitory buildings that can house over 1000 civilian contractors and military personnel. Instead of flying home to Las Vegas every night the workers have the option to stay at the base during the week. There is a financial incentive for this, and many employees choose to do so. Most of the dormitory buildings in the central part of the base are single-story and barely visible from Tikaboo.

The next building to the right, almost hidden behind the Jumbled Hills, is the Test Engineering Support Center (TESC). This is the central intelligence repository of the base, containing data on various research projects in several vaults. Next to it, also partially hidden, is the Consolidated Services Facility, used by various services such as the base telephone service and electric power service. Further over to the right is the lower Base Supply and Administration Building.

Behind it, among the group of smaller buildings are the Dining Hall, the Main Operations Building, from where all activities at Area 51 are being controlled, and Fire Station #1.

Behind these buildings, and various workshops and support buildings, is a fenced-in area that we don't know much about. Two fairly large hangars, clearly visible in these photos, have been added there in late 2002. It is interesting is that, although the hangars are side-by-side, one of the hangars is inside and one outside the fence.

The huge building next to this area on the right is the Shipping and Receiving Facility. Notice the A/C units on the roof, and the trucks parked all around it. On some nights the whole area is brightly lit with white floodlights. The S&R facility is located on the road coming in from the NTS via gate 700. On the other side of the road is a large parking area. This is where workers who drive in via Mercury and the NTS leave their private vehicles.

In front of this area and the old checkered water tower, with a dark colored roof, are some of the original hangars from the 1950's. They were used for development and test of the U-2 Spy Plane. This Lockheed "Skunkworks" project, and its need for secrecy, was the reason Area 51 was founded 51 years ago in this remote location.

Behind the old U-2 hangars, at the foot of the water tower, you can barely see the Green of the Area 51 baseball field. This is part of the base recreation complex, which also includes tennis courts, a gym, a swimming pool and a popular bar known as Sam's Place.

Continuing right from the water tower are Hangars 4 through 7, and the northern Ramp area. These hangars were used for the A-12 program, and later housed a fleet of Russian fighter jets that the U.S. Government acquired through various channels. These jets, flown by U.S. pilots known as the Red Hats, were used to evaluate their capabilities and weaknesses. This information of course gave U.S. pilots a huge advantage in air-to-air combat.

The hangars are still known as the "Red Hat Hangars". It is not clear what these hangars are used for today, but we have seen light in some of them on several occasions, and one time we observed a plane taxi into one of the hangars.

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