The Rockport Air Force Station was dedicated with a historical marker Tuesday morning by the Aransas County Historical Commission.
Airport and county officials joined in the dedication at the Aransas County Airport at Wendell Road off Highway 35 north. Guests were welcomed by Carol Thompson, chair of the Aransas County Historical Commission.
The 813th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron moved to Rockport in 1958 and remained until 1963 when it was deactivated. As an aircraft detection and monitoring site, the station was an important part of the early-warning system during the Cold War. The station typically employed 90-140 airmen at any one time. It was a totally self-sufficient unit and well-secured with a high fence and armed gate guard. There were about 11 buildings: a radar operations center, a supply building, a machine shop, a radio maintenance facility, an officers’ barracks, an Officers’ Club, two enlisted men’s barracks, a NCO club, a recreation hall and others.
According to the Historical Commission, there were at least three commanders during the active period: Major Richard Flaa, Major Pete Tedder and Major Walter Falk. Falk later served several terms as mayor of Rockport. Other airmen remained in the area or returned to Rockport after active duty. Bob Hewes became Sheriff of Aransas County and later Rockport Chief of Police. Gordon Stanley and Chuck Maslonka went into the boating business. Other men married local girls or chose to settle in the area like Dallas Ford, Mike Paul, Bob Crager, Frank Wix, Coy Kirkpatrick, Ken Hartlein and Tom Landers.