I'm a member of a photography "collective" here in San Diego. Now, as much as that term might conjure up images of "comrades", the reality is that it's a pretty good networking tool. It's a great way to meet like-minded individuals, share information, etc.
Through this group I was asked to help photograph the San Diego CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) during their final drill before their certification and graduation. The event was taking place at the San Diego Fire-Rescue Training Facility, which is located at the former Naval Training Center in Pt. Loma.
Now, in another life (my Navy days), I found myself a resident of the Naval Training Center. I lived in building 492. I was actually stationed there twice. The first time was when I was attending Basic Electricity & Electronics, which was something seemingly everyone had to attend. The year was 1983. The second time was in 1990, when I was there for a digital electronics course. Since leaving NTC after that second time, I think I went back only two or three times in the following ten years, but I was never again stationed there.
NTC fell victim to something called "BRAC", or "base realignment and closure", in 1993. Having opened in 1923, NTC had a solid run. The base was closed down incrementally and the gates were locked for good in 1997.
I always thought the base should be turned into a college campus. Hell, all of the necessities were there. You had school buildings, barracks (call them "dorms" if you'd like), dining facilities (which could accommodate 5,000 at one time), sport complexes; it was set. Add to that a beautiful location; right on San Diego Bay, and you could make a strong case for a high-dollar institute of higher learning. The City of San Diego had dibs on the property, though, and the City had other plans. The area that most Navy vets would know as NTC is now known as Liberty Station. It's all civilian, very commercial and, well, it is what it is.
Unfortunately, in order to build up Liberty Station, many buildings needed to come down. All of the education building were razed, and some of the buildings were "re-purposed" (Goddamn, I love that word). Some building, though, suffered neither fate. To this day, 19 years after it was determined that NTC would close, many building sit, at best, dormant and, at worst, abandoned.
So, it was with the latter in mind that I took advantage of the fact that I would be shooting in and around some of these buildings. For the most part, the buildings that remain standing are old barracks; decrepit reminders to me of how much I really didn't like living on base. Most of the other buildings which were here in 1990 have been razed.
Those which haven't been razed, though, sit. They sit and wait for, well, for something, I suppose:
One of the things I noticed is that the was a pretty profound lack of anything remotely resembling security around this part of the base. It's fully open to the public, and there are plenty of photo ops I didn't manage to get yesterday.
Perhaps a return trip may be in order. Maybe at night... with a tripod.