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I grew up on the base at Dahlgren and went to Dahlgren School from kindergarten through eighth grade. The faculty and staff at the school were great and provided a great learning environment for students. Living on the base was also a great experience. Everything was right there, family, friends, recreation and services such as a movie theater and bowling alley. I have many good memories of my times at Dahlgren. I lived there in the 1960s and 70s until after college and now live in Spotsylvania, but work in King George.
- Bill Wishard
I lived on the base until I was ten years old, and the memories are indelible.
One highlight of the year was the fireworks display on the 4th of July, for a base full of people who knew a thing or two about ballistics was a sure bet for an ooh-aah light show. Another was Armed Forces Day, the one day a year when we kids could go inside the mystical “restricted area” and actually see where our fathers worked, although I’ll bet most of us didn’t have the faintest clue what it was they did.
Somewhere in my boxes of memorabilia I likely still have a relic of Armed Forces Day, a strip of shiny metallic tape produced by a room-size computer, then on the cutting edge, that spells out my name in dot matrix. For a kid? Pure magic, much like running through the summertime evening clouds of DDT our parents tried in vain to get us to stay out of.
The daily gun testing was such a part of the aural atmosphere that we kids nonchalantly shrugged it off --- to this day I barely notice when a car backfires. Only one gun report from all those years remains etched in my memory, and it’s not one I could hear. It was in Mrs. Conrad’s class in 1963 that my classmates and I learned, from the principal’s solemn voice on the loudspeakers mounted above each classroom’s door, that our president had been shot.