La tarcoteca

by Pablo Heraklio, PHkl/tctca. Contact at

viernes, 9 de noviembre de 2012

Past and Present of American Military bases in Spain.

What happened to the American militar bases in Spain?

Spanish version at

United States founded NATO in 1948 with two purposes. 
- First prevent European countries, weakened after 2nd WW, fell under the political influence of the USSR. 
- The second provided militar bases for possible open confrontation with URSS, spearhead its expansion in Europe, as at present time.

The Spain-USA Defensive Agreement 26th september 1953, HA post,   signed by Alberto Martín Artajo, Generalisimo Francisco Franco Foreing Affairs Minister, and the US President Ainserhawer Ambassador Clement Dunn, is one of the three Agreements signed in the so called "Madrid Pacts". USA manage to install military bases in Spain and close the clamp on the Mediterranean sea. 

The agreement was show to the public by the fascist regime of General Franco as a model of mutual aid, military and economic, between "two powers". USA secret clauses reserved the unilateral initiative and use of the facilities. USA kept the space under American laws. 

USA started investing and building military bases and installations. USA held the sovereignty of the bases and, despite participating staff from both countries, were governed by U.S. law. The impact of the agreements conferred to Spain the figure of vassalage and the duty to automatically go war if U.S. did.

In 1963, with the sign of the "Joint Declaration", the bases went to Spanish sovereignty. It results in the recognition of Spain as a "strategic ally", confirmed by the construction of the NASA satellites monitoring and spying center of Robledo de Chavela, Madrid, and the construction of the first nuclear power plant, in Zorita, Guadalajara. Nevertheless those maintaining American court of jurisdiction. American plans for Spain were large, judging from the investment.

From 1973, with the advent of satellite technology, most bases and checkpoints become obsolete and was gradually transferred to the Spanish army.

In 1986, after decades of joint maneuvers, Spain joins NATO. The novelty of the covenant is that the NATO organization controls the militar bases and facilities, not America. But if the United States controls NATO it was not a substantial change. Translate, USA had no staff or facilities to mantein becouse subcontracts Spain to do instead. It was cheaper.

Everyone knows the large American military bases of NATO in Spain, as Torrejon de Ardoz, now used for civilian services as to NASA, Zaragoza Spanish airbase that supports American logistical needs and Rota and Moron as permanent NATO military bases. But what of those other facilities?

PAST U.S. Military Bases and Facilities:

Cartagena (Murcia) technical support and recreational Naval base for US ships in
operations in the Mediterranean, the VI Fleet.
In 1944, the United States donated a forty-bed Operative Hospital that worked at the San Pedro Claver Bastion in Cartagena, which was then called the Naval War Hospital, where it worked until March 1, 1980 without undergoing any modification.

The Cartagena military shipyards is oriented towards special ships construction, such as submarines and mine-hunter. NAVANTIA also sets in this area an factory specialized in production, sale and maintenance of diesel engines for different applications: ships, tanks, electric power plants, cogeneration plants and railway traction.

Elizondo, Navarra, Base of Alert and Control of Air Force.
<< Huge "forests" of antennas, control towers, bunkers, staircases, buildings of 15 floors high ... Everything emerged as if from nowhere in 1954 at the summit of Mount Gorramendi, in Elizondo (Navarra). That American base, called 877 Squadron Warning Control W-6, was for 20 years the epicenter of the mystery until in 1974 everything disappeared after the installations were fulminately dynamited. The Franco regime was never transparent about the activities carried out there, but it was suspected that it was a secret communications base prepared for any nuclear eventuality >>. Base americana en Navarra - ForoCoches 2.8.2009 Right now demolished and in ruins.

Estaca de Bares, naval Base, Galicia.
This base was inaugurated in 1962 to operate a LORAN (LOng Range Aid to Navigation) system, a long-range electronic radio navigation system, developed during World War II in support of Allied aviation, and remained operational for three decades, with two identical links located in France and Wales. The United States Coast Guard directed the base until 1977, when it was transferred to the North American Air Force. The base worked as a communications radiostation until 1991. As soon as the last american military personnel left the facility (there were about 20), the raid began. Planned its demolition for 2007 at present, these facilities was demolished. Since its inauguration it was a source of all kinds of myths and legends, and it was said that nuclear submarines were located there. On sale in 2013.

Ferrol, A Coruña. Shipyard.
Since its inauguration dedicated to the construction of warships. Through the cooperation contract in 1953, the Spanish government began the construction of ships with American technology, so it give them some access to it. Due to the low cost of labor and its good strategic position for transatlantic travel it was expand, modernize their facilities and upgrade their trained workers. Some of them traveled to the USA to lern about the new technologies. Currently managed by the spanish NAVANTIA company , IZAR group. It still manufactures ships for warfare purposes.

El Frasno (Zaragoza) as Gorramendi was the site of the old tropospheric communication network "486-L, MEDCOM" of the USAF.

Guardamar de Segura, Alicante. Radio Antena 
In 'Campo de Guardamar' area the American army installed in 1962 a radio antenna, the 'Torreta de Guardamar' or "the tower of the Americans", 370 meters height and 475 meters above the sea level. The transmitter is controlled from the Military base of Rota. After the first Gulf War the US Army stop using these facilities whose ownership was transferred to the Spanish Navy, which called the base "Campamento Santa Ana". Its main objective is to control the maritime traffic in the Mediterranean, especially that for submarine fleet, since they have their main base very close, in Cartagena Port. Today is located a few meters far from homes and malls.

Gorramendi (Navarre) was sites of the old communications network tropospheric "486-L, MEDCOM" of the USAF. 
In 1954 began works to install an alert and control base for the USAF at the top of the Gorramakil peaks, 2 radars and 1 air control, and Gorramendia, 3 Troposcatter antennas. The installation was operated by members of the 877th squadrons (for radars) and detachment 5 of the 1989º CS Squadron, for microwaves. At the end of the 60s the radar station was closed, with the troposphere remaining until 1974, when everything was demolished.

Hunosa Tropospheric station
Tropospheric station installed in the Santos de la Humosa, near Alcalá de Henares. It was and is a central part of the communications network coordination. In the 1980s its control functions go to Napoleols, the seat of Western defense in the Mediterranean. 

Inoges in the municipality of El Frasno, Zaragoza. Air base.
Its construction begins in 1955 and ends in 59. An aerial squadron of the USAF and a radar installation were deployed. In 1963, American personnel were transferred, leaving a small group of USAF officers as advisers and moving to Spanish control. Even in 1986 the protests against the military installations occupied by the Yankees are maintained. The base remains operative.

L'Estarit, (Baix Empordà), naval base also belonging to the LORAN system.
Located on the Rocamaura mountain. The base was abandoned in 1994. The demolition of the antenna of the military base culminated in May 98 the dismantling of the military base. In recent years, only a radio guidance system for boats that the satellites left obsolete has operated. the NATO bombers had a monitoring and coordination center, between America, Europe and southern Africa. There were other centers more camouflaged and of greater strategic interest, distributed throughout Europe.

Menorca, Mahon. Naval base of submarines.
In 1825 the Americans managed to fix, in a stable manner, the Mahon naval base, the first base overseas they created outside their borders. Although part of the facilities has been granted for civilian use, its military use is maintained. The Americans have indicated that in the Balearic Islands there is one of the best submarine bases in the world "and you do not know how to take advantage of it".

Puig Major (Mallorca) military bases of the Air Force.
Puig Major is the highest mountain in Mallorca, with a height of 1,445 m, and is the culminating peak of the Sierra de Tramuntana, with restricted access. Its radar gives an image of Gibraltar to Malta even though today's satellites It has higher resolution. The building is located right at the top of the peak that gives it its name and is a military radar tower. Built and installed by the Americans in 1958. There are doubts about the nature of the military installations and whether the responsibility falls on the Spanish or American army.

Reus (Tarragona), Air Base.
The expropriation works for its construction began in 1941, creating an aeródormo. It was integrated into the treaty of the Pact of Madrid, being the basis of supply and training of the USAF. It was closed in 1981. The runways are still operational today for civil use as an airport dependent on Aena since 1998.

San Pablo (Seville), air base.
In 1957, the Seville airport was included in the Hispano-American Agreement to install a supply base there. A track was used, which was left out of the civil service. Works were carried out in the terminal and control tower. It was dedicated to training and military tests, hence it had a large military hospital, built around 63. The military airport was converted into a civilian in the 90s and continues to operate until today. 

Between 1971 and 1975, the facilities were remodeled, the parking lot was extended, and urbanization was completed. At the end of the 70s the military hospital is ceded to the Spanish army, being in the 80s and after many reforms when it enters service as a civil hospital. It was in service until the remodeling of the Virgen de la Macarena hospital. Today hospital, urbanization and other facilities are abandoned and awaiting demolition. 

Sierra de la Aitana. Air base.
Between the municipalities of Alcoleja and Confrides, Alicante, there is the EVA Surveillance Squadron No. 5 with Radio Naval Station. Located at 1558 m, the highest mountain in the province. Its construction began in 1957 and ended in 1960. It was the result of the bilateral agreement between Spain and the US in 1953. In 1964, the base was definitively ceded by the United States, becoming property of the Navy. As you can see its location and structure are shaded in the different maps and still in use. 

The Aitana radar guides the maritime and air navigation of NATO towards the Middle East and a large part of the Maghreb. In February 2007, the Ministry of Defense's intention to dismantle the military base of the Air Force of the Sierra de Aitana, in order to optimize resources, was published in the Diario Información.

Sonseca, Toledo. Nuclear Explosion Detector.
It is part of the American global network of detectors of Soviet nuclear explosions warning of possible underground experiments camouflaged as a seismological center. Transferred in 1991 to Spanish control and used as a center. It is currently a seismological research laboratory.

Present: American Bases / NATO in 2016:

Rota, Cadiz- Base of missiles and Military Base of NATO / USA
"Rota can be the anchor of the route through the central Atlantic. We propose that their status be elevated to Tier I because, among other reasons, we foresee an increase in mobility operations destined for Africa ", recommends the Pentagon.

The United States has been investing since 2002 in renewing and expanding the base of Rota guided by the recommendations of the Pentagon, which in its document 'Global in route strategy' calls for raising the category of the Spanish base.

The base of Rota is located in a crucial strategic enclave for the interests of defense of the United States, since it forms one of the vertexes of the triangle of strategic security next to the nodes of Asia Pacific (Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii) and North Arctic (Ramstein, Germany). 
Cádiz: US plans revealed on the basis of Rota - Tortuga 11.7.2016
The third destroyer of the NATO anti-missile shield arrives in Rota (Cádiz) - 30.4.2015
Rota, Spain-US joint use base, one of the most important in the world | Andalusia | 5.10.2011

Gando, Canary Islands. NATO Air Base.
Protected by fortified hangars and logistic deposits and underground munitions, built very close to the passenger terminals of the international airport, and using the same flight tracks as civil aircraft, NATO has a squadron of multipurpose fighter-bombers F-18 that, if necessary, can be a significant reinforcement for the Tantan air forces that, it seems, will be constituted by the Seventeenth Air Force of the United States.
AFRICOM and NATO bases in the Canary Islands | Independence and Socialism 5.10.2008

Morón de la Frontera Air base.
Rota and Morón: the crucial bases for NATO and the US 8.7.2016
Morón Air Base, the "hidden jewel" of the Pentagon's global deployment 3.11.2013


In 1953 the regime capitulated to Ameicans. Since long, movements of rapprochement between both regimes was expressed. The Spanish State Bankruptcy accelerate the process. Access to the installation of foreign forces in return for economic aid. Besides start settling foreign heavy industry through low cost of labor.

In 1963 U.S. install nuclear power plant in Spain, its strategic value is incalculable. Technology and operators were Americans.

In 1968 Spain joined the treaty of non-proliferation. This does not prevent Americans keep on with its own nuclear policy at will, using the installed bases at its own. Nor off Spanish claims to be able to build a nuclear bomb.

Inoges, Soller, Estaca de Bares, Menorca, are fulcrums of general telecommunications network at service of Hunosa base.

The radar systems and antennas was part of a network of flight tracking for a possible nuclear war with URSS. In this war, each country was a puzzle piece and like it or not they have a specific place on the global map. USA had a special interest in Spain by its position in the Mediterranean: shutoff valve and first transatlantic scale.

At the end of the 70s American military bases in Spain have no longer interest in the outdated radar technology. 2 airports are now in civilian use. 2 LORAN tracing bases demolished, 2 aerial surveillance bases, Elizondo and the crumbling Sierr of Aitana also demolished. All other operating bases. The two shipyards were converted part of their business and private enterprise, which also shows the interest of this militarily.

It is remarkable the importance for the American military position development in the Mediterranean the  Balearic Islands. It is not possible to determine whether base has or has not American personnel.

NATO reconverts military sector. Got rid of the bases of less value, and increased the most importants. Americans, thanks to the treaty firm in 1953, which provide 25% of the Spanish budget, served to get control of his allies by the economy. In addition served to control his enemies by his strategic positioning. Finally the countries where invested in facilities and equipment meet part of their wars, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya.

Spain has signed contracts for the sale of military equipment to countries from which supposedly have to defend, Venezuela for example. It is a question of money and represion, no of security.

The army, far from disappearing strengthens. With each tecnologial  improvement increases their ability to control. In recent times it has transferred some of his power to Policial Services, which have been militarized in equipment and tactics.

Huge amounts of money are spend every year supporting this parasits that use the money in their own profit. As they have the atribution of violence enay tentative to stop the daing will be stop with blood.
The military pantomime is play in this global world as a any other speculative business. Instead of CEO a General, instead of employee soldier. Their work: spend and earn money. Their tools are the arms. But the raw material is human meat.

We must said no to the army, no to the thievery and assesination. As our voice is not heard, weselves have to impose the sanity. No doubt that now the war is on the minds and streets.

Published 9.7.2011, last edition 29.3.2019 works still in progress
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1 comentario:

  1. Military bases are used as a shelter of the military equipment or personnel. Military bases are also used as a training ground or command center. Further, a military base provided accommodation to the one or more military unit. US military bases