Author Topic: Yellow Water Gunnery Range  (Read 5462 times)

RMHoward

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 199
Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« on: February 17, 2009, 09:24:11 PM »
Hello all,
After recently retiring from the Air Force, I have returned home to Jax with my family.  Since returning, i have totally engrossed myself in the local military history.  I spend lots of time exploring local installations, especially Camp Blanding.  Recently, i have been exploring Benjamin Lee Field, NAS Jax, Yukon , and Yellow Water Gunnery School.  Yellow Water is very interesting to me.  Not much information AT ALL on the web about the place.  For those who do not know, across Normandy Blvd. from Cecil Field is an extensive network of roads, bermed gunnery ranges, oval shaped ranges encircled by narrow gauge track for self-propelled targets, foundations, ammunition enclosures (not the more recent naval weapons magazine containing special weapons), etc.  This was the Yellow Water Naval Gunnery School.  Much is obscured by dense undergrowth, but much still exists.  Details can be made out of the place by studying Google earth imagery. For many young naval aviators, yellow water was a mandatory training stop before heading for the war during WWII. I believe the old gunnery school extended from Normandy Blvd. to where interstate 10 is today. I am looking for any additional information folks may have about the place, especially old maps.  I have been having a blast exploring the place.  Up until recently, i didnt know it was serviced by its own railroad spur off the line that went into Cecil field.  None of the track is there anymore, but the old wooden railroad bridge over a creek is still in place.  Finding things like this excites me.  Also, looking for other folks who enjoy exploring places like this.  Much more fun when you can share ideas and info with someone else who enjoys this also.  My wife tries to act like she is having fun, bless her heart, but i know she does it for me.  Any information would be much appreciated. 
Rick
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 09:52:38 PM by RMHoward »

BridgeTroll

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13042
  • The average person thinks he isnt
    • London Bridge Pub
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2009, 07:30:55 AM »
Welcome Rick... we have quite a few folks here interested in our local history and in particular military history.  I imagine Ocklawaha will be posting shortly... he is a wealth of area military history.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

RMHoward

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 199
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 09:35:01 PM »
Wow,
Nothing after two months.  Reinforces the fact that not much is known about the place.
Rick :(

heights unknown

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1642
  • HEIGHTS UNKNOWN (DAMMIT)
    • Music and Personal Info Website
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 10:24:51 PM »
I was stationed at NAS Cecil Field three times during my 20 year Navy career, and I remember Yellow Water, across the Street from NAS Cecil (the road that led/ran into Yellow Water was directly acoss from Cecil where 103rd and Normandy intersected at the Main Gate).  I remember there were a lot of Gunners (Chief Warrant Officers), and Aviation Ordancemen that were stationed at Yellow Water (which was a part of NAS Cecil Field I believe). There were also Marines and some Army personnel stationed at Yellow Water as well. I will try and find out as much as I can and post it in this thread as I dig it out).

Heights Unknown
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 10:51:12 PM by heights unknown »
DONATE TODAY TO HELP ALL WHO ARE IN NEED BY CLICKING HERE ON MY MUSIC WEBISTE: http://HTTP://WWW.REVERBNATION.COM/COSTON; ALL PURCHASES ARE DONATIONS TO HELP ALL OF THOSE WHO ARE NEEDY, UNDERPRIVILEGED AND DISADVANTAGED.

heights unknown

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1642
  • HEIGHTS UNKNOWN (DAMMIT)
    • Music and Personal Info Website
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2009, 10:46:25 PM »
RMHoward; here are a couple of URL links to pics and other info regarding Yellow Water Weapons Complex which was later called Yellow Water Nuclear Weapons facility:

http://www.wpla.net/tour/index.html
http://www.wpla.net/1959/index.htm

Heights Unknown
DONATE TODAY TO HELP ALL WHO ARE IN NEED BY CLICKING HERE ON MY MUSIC WEBISTE: http://HTTP://WWW.REVERBNATION.COM/COSTON; ALL PURCHASES ARE DONATIONS TO HELP ALL OF THOSE WHO ARE NEEDY, UNDERPRIVILEGED AND DISADVANTAGED.

urbanlibertarian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3611
  • Duuuvaall!!
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 10:27:06 PM »
^^A concentration camp?  Like Hogan's Heroes?
Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes (Who watches the watchmen?)

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10411
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2009, 12:29:15 AM »
yellow water?

Thats funny.

Thats where the sheriff suggested putting all the homeless people.


Hogans Hero's? Not Jacksonville! Probably more like Manzanar, California. "Welcome to HELL." (Located in the Owens Valley maybe 50 miles from Death Valley, one of the hotest places on earth).

Stephen, Yellow Water takes the name from the tannin tinted fresh water in the local streams, when it flows over pure white sugar sand, the fairly shallow depths appear yellow. BTW, some of our streams are as clean as the high Sierra's or Rocky's but folks don't think so because we have brown or Yellow Water.


OCKLAWAHA

heights unknown

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1642
  • HEIGHTS UNKNOWN (DAMMIT)
    • Music and Personal Info Website
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2009, 08:38:31 AM »
yellow water?

Thats funny.

Thats where the sheriff suggested putting all the homeless people.

Well, that's a new one on me; I never knew the Sheriff proposed putting homeless people out in Yellow Water.  Very remote area now; almost nothing nearby and way out in the middle of bum f*** egypt.  Kind of inhumane but I guess the focus and goal is to move them way out away from the City and downtown.  As long as they really renovate that area for homeless habitability, with social services to attack the problems causing people's homelessness, and provide public transportation nearby for the homeless to commute into the City if they need be, and elsewhere I see no problem.

By the way, they used to have an NAS Cecil Field bus that went all the way down 103rd/Normandy to the base; do they still have that bus line today and if so, what is it now called?  It used to be called 103rd St./Cecil Field.

Heights Unknown
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 08:40:24 AM by heights unknown »
DONATE TODAY TO HELP ALL WHO ARE IN NEED BY CLICKING HERE ON MY MUSIC WEBISTE: http://HTTP://WWW.REVERBNATION.COM/COSTON; ALL PURCHASES ARE DONATIONS TO HELP ALL OF THOSE WHO ARE NEEDY, UNDERPRIVILEGED AND DISADVANTAGED.

RMHoward

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 199
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2009, 10:28:16 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  From my research, the gunnery school was really only open for three years during WWII. After exploring whats left, i can say there is an extensive road system still in place (asphalt), intact magazines, numerous building foundations,  a railroad bridge, small gauge target vehicle tracks, ramps, tile lined pits, and countless "unexploded ordnance" signs.  The wildlife present is awesome.  I have seen everything imagineable in there including a close encounter with wild pigs.  Presently, the navy/state/city is cleaning up the old skeet/trap range area (located on the western side near present day yellow water housing).  As you might imagine, the topsoil there has concentrated lead level from years of practice there.  The footings from 2 of the 4, 40 ft. skeet towers are still there.  As i understand it, all students started their gunnery training at the trap/skeet range and gradually moved to 20 mm and 50 cal. machine guns.  One of the things that is kind of cool about the place is that using google earth, you can make out the outlines of the different ranges due to the berming of earth around the outer edges.  Also, there is lots of track still in place from the self-propelled target towing system.  Also found intact sand bags still stacked neatly out in the woods some 60 years later!  Because of the later weapons storage area located on part of the range, high security kept intruders out of these areas and thus i believe helped to preserve whats left.  Supposedly there is an intact WWII swimming pool some where hidden out there (filled in) that i would like to find.  I am marking everything i find with my gps and overlaying it on google earth.  One thing for sure.  Before too long, the mosquitoes and deer flies will be so thick in this place that it wont be worth the pain going in there.  According to Ronald M. Williamson in his book "NAS JAX 60th Anniversary Illustrated History", at its height, the school employed more than 3000 enlisted men and 105 officers to operate the school.  More than 30,000 students trained there to man the Navy's patrol bombers, torpedo bombers and dive-bombers.   This school operated independently of both Cecil Field and NAS Jax later in the war.  So far, this book is the only source of information about the school, and only a few paragraphs at that.  Thanks
Rick
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 10:44:48 PM by RMHoward »

RMHoward

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 199
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2009, 10:31:43 PM »
RMHoward; here are a couple of URL links to pics and other info regarding Yellow Water Weapons Complex which was later called Yellow Water Nuclear Weapons facility:

http://www.wpla.net/tour/index.html
http://www.wpla.net/1959/index.htm

Heights Unknown

Heights Unknown,
Thanks for pointing me to this site.  I have posted in it's guest area seeking information from the old timers who frequent there.  Thanks again.
Rick

OldLady62

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Yellow Water Gunnery Range
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2018, 07:52:49 AM »
Does anyone know anything about the Knights of the Yellow Water?  I was cleaning out my mother's house after she passed away and found my father's initiation into the Mystic Order of Sharpshooters.  Dated 8 August, 1945.  Funny, it was signed by "Thor, Imperial Potentate ".  I can post a pic if anyone is intetested.