During one week in 2005, we were advised that the Navy was conducting sensitive operations out of a large, red, dilapidated hangar at the Northern end of the airfield near the passenger terminal and base operations building. Air Force personnel were advised to stay away. For the entirety of the week, the hangar appeared unused and empty.
One night during that week, the flightline was evacuated. The base was locked down and Air Force personnel were advised to stay inside and away from windows to protect an incoming classified aircraft.
Everyone complied without protest or hesitation.
There’s no quiet like the silence of a shutdown airfield on an atoll more than 2,000 miles away from the nearest sign of civilization. In the absence of takeoffs, landings, and idling F-101-GE-102 turbofans and auxiliary power units (APUs) on B-1 bombers, you begin to hear waves on the beach and wind in the trees through open windows.
We anticipated hearing some sign of an arrival. The bark of high-pressure tires touching pavement, the clattering of segmented disc brake rotors, or the throb of those brakes being applied heavily as a large jet slowed itself after touching down. Maybe even an idling jet engine or humming turboprop propeller could have been harbingers of us soon being allowed back outside.
It may sound like fiction, but on rare occasions, ordinary air bases have extraordinary mystery visitors. It happened to me, twice.