The following is the first in a series of articles by Guest Author Robert "Dale" Woosley who will share his experiences while stationed at the Theodore Navy Magazine, Alabama in the early years following the end of WWII.
I was stationed at the Theodore Navy Magazine from about January, 1946 through May, 1946, having been dismissed from radio and radar school as the ending of WWII reduced the need for virtually all Navy operators. The Magazine consisted of a base facility and a munitions storage area located about two miles from the base, surrounded by dense woods and swampy areas and was located about six miles from Mobile, on an asphalt farm-to-market road. The munitions storage area consisted of a large number of metal igloos on concrete slab floors, sunk about half way under ground level (for temperature stability) and joined by a network of rails for conventional boxcars. Most of the igloos could not be reached except by rail. They were almost of constant temperature year round.
At the time I was there, the base cadre consisted of seven officers and about 35 enlisted men. Some of the officers lived in Mobile and were picked up each morning by our school bus, but there was always the Officer-of-the-Day (OOD) on post. The mission of Theodore was to serve as a staging point for ammunition to be destroyed or sent to another facility. During WWII, merchant ships had Armed Guard Crews aboard to man 3 or 5 inch guns against enemy attack. With the war ending, these crews and armament were taken off merchant ships and the guns shipped to a Navy Arsenal somewhere and the ammunition was shipped to a magazine; Theodore was such a magazine. Most shells up to 5 inches were filled with smokeless powder and had an expiration date; Theodore processed those.