|Aerial of Almaden AFS|
Headquarters of the 682nd Aircraft Control and Warning squadron during the Cold War, the station was tasked 24 hours a day with protecting Central California from a Soviet threat that never arrived. Due to its relative remoteness, the facility served as a small community, encompassing 86 structures and nearly all activities, such as homes, stores and a bowling alley.
On Wednesday April 4, Basim arrived at the HSJ Collections Center eager to see the sign. While walking him through our storage area, I shared some of the highlights of our collections, including the Perham Collection of Early Electronics. Basim remarked that certain station artifacts had been given to a Constance Perham for display at the New Almaden Museum, the initial display location of the Perham Collection. Realizing that HSJ might have more Almaden base artifacts in its collections, Basim immediately produced a typed manifest of donated items, including the sign.
|Basim Jaber with welcome sign|
“Wow. And Wow,” was Basim’s initial response, followed immediately with a request to see the sign, a popular photo location for servicemen and station residents. Apparently, Basim had spent the last five years searching for particular objects, including the sign, given away after the station’s closing ceremonies.
As our walk continued, we inspected miscellaneous Perham Collection items. Sitting on the shelf were the exact items Basim had been seeking, including the last flag flown over the station, banners, and four brass memorial markers. Although he kept his emotions intact, Basim was obviously moved by this sudden closure to his multi-year quest.
|Major Robert L. Robinson, Jr.|
We look forward to working with Basim to display these items at his History Park presentation on Sunday, June 3.