Williams airport celebration brings back memories - East Valley Tribune: News

Williams airport celebration brings back memories

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Posted: Sunday, October 5, 2003 2:34 am

Jan and Frank Douglass were married on Williams Air Force Base in 1967 while Frank was stationed there.

So when Jan, along with 2,500 to 3,000 other Valley residents, returned for the "Williams Experience — The Next Decade" on Saturday, she was nostalgic.

"He used to march this," the Mesa resident said of her husband and pointed to the tarmac, a cargo plane engine above her head.

The Williams Experience was an open house and 10th-anniversary celebration of the redevelopment of the former Air Force base into the Williams Gateway Community in Mesa.

Valley Metro buses carted full loads of passengers for activities at eight stops in the complex, including Arizona State University East’s pilot training facilities, the former Air Force base chapel in the House of Refugee East, and Toka Sticks Golf Course.

Inside the Williams Gateway Airport terminal, walls were lined with informational booths ranging from tactical flight training companies, to Army recruiters, to the Air Evac aerial ambulance company.

Visitors viewed fighter jets, military helicopters, a Learjet and cargo planes.

The airport has a charter flight to Laughlin and some cargo business but no commercial airline service.

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