The Turks and Caicos has had a few U.S. military and maritime installations over the years, including the Air Force Missile Tacking Base on Grand Turk, and the Coast Guard LORAN station on South Caicos, and the Malcolm's Road Beach radar installation on Providenciales, but the largest and most significant was the Grand Turk NAVFAC 104 base.
Commissioned in 1954 at the same time as the U.S. Air Force base and air strip on the south end of Grand Turk, NAFAC 104, or North Base as it came to be known as, was constructed next to the old lighthouse on the tip of Grand Turk overlooking the North Reef.
Bunker at the old US NAVFAC 104 base, Grand Turk.
The primary purpose of North Base was to be part of the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS), an underwater listening system designed to track Soviet submarines. The base served in this capacity until 1979, when it was decommissioned.
The Grand Turk NAVFAC base also played an important yet largely unknown role during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The T Building (communications unit) handled all outgoing communications from the U.S. Guantanamo Bay base until the blockade was lifted. The facilities also supported many flight crews stopping over on Grand Turk.
When operating, the base had many barracks and buildings, a huge six acre concrete rain water catchment area, water storage and communication systems. Today, some of the buildings house the Government Community College, but much of the base is abandoned.
Although partially fenced in, easy access to the North Base water collection area can be found by following the cliff paths from the lighthouse grounds.
The water tanks and concrete catchment area at the abandoned US Navy NAVFAC 104 base on Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos.