Sunset Salute at Seagate Village
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

By Henry H. Mitchell, December 2008.

Sunset at Seagate Village

Sunset at Seagate Village.

During my brief stint as a young USAF officer, I tried repeatedly to wangle an assignment to Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. — I and how many other tens of thousands! For me it didn't happen.

Actually, I came very close once. As a student and cadet at Virginia Tech, I received orders for my pre-senior-year USAF summer camp training at Myrtle Beach. Talk about ecstatic! My fiancee Tricia could visit the beach with her family on weekends when I could get a pass offbase — how wonderful it would be! — But wasn't to be. Word came that a fighter wing was being rotated stateside from Vietnam, and that the reserved barracks and instructional space was gone. Orders were re-cut for Topeka, Kansas, where a mostly-deactivated facility was put back in service (sort of) for our brief use. There we (barely) survived heat, flood, and tornadoes; witnessed a terrible parachuting accident and a tragic airplane crash; and dreamed of how good it might have been in Myrtle Beach.

Even without my presence, Myrtle Beach Air Force Base had decades of illustrious service in the defense of our country. Now, after deactivation, it is enjoying use as a major airport and further commercial development (most notably The Market Common. The former base housing, occupancy in which I so intensely coveted, is now privately-held Seagate Village, with 800 homes and 18 miles of sidewalks.

Tricia and I greatly enjoy traversing those sidewalks. It was at a December dusk that we spotted the luminous contrail in a brilliant sunset, seeming to salute the USAF heroes of yesteryear who lived and flew from here.

This guide to Myrtle Beach is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.