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#86765 - 03/09/10 08:29 PM Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz
Jim Costello Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/08
Posts: 105
Loc: New York City
During my last 3 visits to Madrid, I met serveral persons who were involved with the air base in Torrejon.

The first time in June 2009 was in Gingers restaurant near Plaza Santa Ana. My wife and I were reading the menu of the day. The menu was in Spanish and we were attempting to translate it with a Spanish/English book. The server couldn't help us. A man sitting alone two tables away told us that he understood English and came over to our table to translated the menu of the day for us. This gentleman told us that he was in the Air Force of Spain assigned to the air base in Torrejon.

The second time was in October 2009, my Spanish son-in-law and I went to a barber (hair dresser) in Torrejon for a hair cut.
Daniel the hair dresser told us that he was a barber at the air base and cut the hair of the American military personnel.

The third time was in February, 2010, when my daughter and son-in-law took us to Rancho Texano restaurant for lunch to celebrate Presidents Day, a holiday in the US. My family in Torrejon went to Rancho Texano last Thanksgiving day to have a traditional meal with turkey, etc. They said that on Thanksgiving day the restaurant was very crowded and enjoyed the food.
The host at the restaurant told us that Rancho Texano was started by a Greek man who was a cook for the Americans at the air base. The restaurant was started in the 1960s and the owner is about 80 years old and still active in the management of Rancho Texano. The place has 40 employees.

Since I served in the US Army, I became interested in the history of the air base. I google US Air Force base in Torrejon de Ardoz, found several sites and one of them had 150 pictures of the air base, Madrid and Torrejon.
Several members of the MadridMan site were stationed at the air base perhaps they may want to share some of their experiences of their time in Madrid. Thanks
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Jim Costello
New York City

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#86767 - 03/10/10 02:46 AM Re: Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz [Re: Jim Costello]
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#86768 - 03/10/10 06:22 AM Re: Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz [Re: MadridMan]
gazpacho Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 06/23/00
Posts: 807
Loc: Macomb, MI U.S.
Jim,

I was stationed at Torrejon from 1977 until 1980. It was a good place to be stationed. I remember the Spanish barbers there quite fondly. All were characters. After a haircut one always asked me, "shave? shampoo? Senorita? They were great.

Gazpacho
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"I swear -by my life and my love of it -that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

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#86778 - 03/12/10 12:03 PM Re: Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz [Re: gazpacho]
pedmar Online   content
Executive Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2346
Loc: Morbihan, France
i visited the base many times, and play baseball with the servicemens kids, they had their own team and played in the Madrid league vs Condepols,Piratas,Rayo Vallecano, Colegio Abraham Lincoln,and of course the Real Madrid, before until 1970 there were a team from El Corte Ingles, they merge with the Real Madrid team.

When the base closed, F14 moved to Palermo ,Italy, many serviceman decided to stay in Spain, and many retired there. I met their family but with the passing of time,and jumping ship to New Jersey,then FLorida, lost contact with them. ONe was a sargent who was an umpire in the league, but damn so many years forgot their names.... I finally left Madrid in 1974 (lived from 1970-74), and did not return until the soccer/football world cup of 1982 it was already another country for the better i may add.

If anybody comes up with more history I would like to hear it too.
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#86779 - 03/12/10 12:12 PM Re: Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz [Re: pedmar]
pedmar Online   content
Executive Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2346
Loc: Morbihan, France
wow thanks Madridman ,those are wonderful sites!!!great pictures too.
To correct, believe the planes were F4 not F14.
and we played baseball at the Parque La Elipa, where they played still today the Madrid league.
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#86780 - 03/12/10 12:46 PM Re: Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz [Re: pedmar]
pedmar Online   content
Executive Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2346
Loc: Morbihan, France
amazing sites, brought back so many memories, yes , did you read the 64 class site about the rules for dressing, yes exactly correct, that was a different Spain, and Madrid we are going to see together soon ::)
thanks so much for the sites Madridman ,and thanks for Jim for starting the thread.
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http://paris1972-versailles2003.com/

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#86787 - 03/12/10 10:18 PM Re: Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz [Re: Jim Costello]
Jim Costello Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/08
Posts: 105
Loc: New York City
Hi Gazpacho, thank you for your service to our country.

How many troops (enlisted and officers) were assigned to the air base when you were in Torrejon?

What was the town of Terrejon like. How did the Americans and Spaniards get along outside the base.

Did you remember the Rancho Texano restaurant.

Appreciate sharing your memories of the air base.
Thanks
_________________________
Jim Costello
New York City

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#86792 - 03/13/10 10:41 AM Re: Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz [Re: Jim Costello]
gazpacho Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 06/23/00
Posts: 807
Loc: Macomb, MI U.S.
Jim,

I have no idea of how many officers and enlisted people were stationed with me in Torrejon Airbase. I couldn't share that information if I did. If I were to guess, I'd say maybe a thousand.

Torrejon de Ardoz was at least 25% smaller than it is today. The Raestro, on Wednesdays, was on the other side of the main drag through town. Now it's held in a type of fairground on the other side of the main highway. Which surprised me the last time I visited in 2002. I visit Torrejon, the town, not the base, every time I return to Madrid, which has been 1994, 1999, and 2002 to see the apartment the wife and I lived in. The train station in Torrejon is also much newer and much bigger than before. It was nothing more than a hole in the wall in 1980.

As for the Rancho Texano restaurant, I'm also not sure. There were a couple of restaurants that other Americans as well as I visited off the main highway going to the base. On was famous for their spare ribs. It might have been this restaurant. I didn't have a reliable car during most of my stay, and also, as an enlistem man, not much money either, so I just caught the bus going to Madrid and didn't have the means of going to restaurants along the was unless friends were going there. In Torrejon, however, I remember walking to the Kingston Pub which had an incredibly good Irish coffee. I've never been able to recreate one one tenth as good.

As far as I know, Americans and Spaniards got along very well. The Spaniards are a very respectful people, and I still see that. They didn't and don't like trouble and I've never seen a violent act initiated by the Spaniards. I suppose, because of the language barrier, between most Americans and Spaniards, misunderstandings were hard to initiate.

I disagree with pedmar, though I'm sure he has a good side of the debate, whether Spain was better then or now. I thought it was better back in the days. Things were really inexpensive and more secure. But he's right about one thing, the aircraft that I worked on were F-4C's and D's the Phantoms.

Gazpacho
_________________________
"I swear -by my life and my love of it -that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

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#86794 - 03/14/10 08:20 AM Re: Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz [Re: gazpacho]
pedmar Online   content
Executive Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2346
Loc: Morbihan, France
i said better now because it is a democracy not like before, lots of injustices which of course enlisted people from the US could not see, I did, I live it, and I fought it.

more secure of course, when if you speak they jail you, the local people not you. Inexpensive yes it was several years back ,everything goes up in price unfortunately,salaries too althought less ::)


and I agree the base people and the Spaniards around us got along well, and the people from the base that I spoke with ,many of them were Hispanic Americans also though it was a heavenly place. Many retired there so I heard but never could confirm, I had to move on to the US and reunite with my father. Those were the days.
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http://paris1972-versailles2003.com/

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#86795 - 03/14/10 08:24 AM Re: Former US Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz [Re: pedmar]
pedmar Online   content
Executive Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2346
Loc: Morbihan, France
sorry to all if I brought the political twist to the thread but when you are growing up in communist and fascists dictatorship none is good but democracy.
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http://paris1972-versailles2003.com/

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