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Close Encounters

Veteran Ghosts That Are Still On Duty



At Frances E. Warren Air Force Base the echoes of the past still haunt the base, dating back to its earliest days, with apparitions that are both unsettling and, in some cases, invasive.

By Ruddy Cano

Counting down the last days of a deployment while standing post is a feeling universally felt by service members past and present. However, not all are able to move onto greener pastures. Unlucky souls that are caught in the gears of war repeat their last moments on an infinite loop; no changing of the guard, no end to the task at hand, no relief.

Their names have been lost, but their actions continue to ripple through the fabric of time. These fallen souls share a fate I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy — eternal enlistment. 

USS Hornet CV-12 is an aircraft carrier that participated in naval combat during World War II. While she was deployed with Task Force 58, she participated in the battles for New Guinea, Palau, Truk, and other engagements in the Pacific theater. The ship also saw service in the Vietnam War, and the Apollo program by recovering Apollo 11 and 12 astronauts when they returned from the moon. The Hornet  was retired and decommissioned in 1970. 

This ship has seen a lot of combat, accidents, and suicides during her time at sea. So much so that sightings of the paranormal are commonly reported by the staff, caretakers and guests. 

Sailors in dress whites are reported to have been seen walking down passageways into empty rooms. The mess hall dishwashing area has dents on the bulkhead belonging to an angry cook. It is said that a poltergeist phenomenon involving the throwing of objects is experienced here. Panicked voices can be heard saying ‘run’ in the lower decks, and it is speculated that they’re the souls who did not manage to escape impacts from combat.

The ship was opened to the public as the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, California, in 1998. Ghost tours can be booked on their website

Established in 1867, F.E. Warren Air Force Base was originally named Fort D. A. Russell in Wyoming. It’s named after Civil War Brigadier General David A. Russell. The base was erected to protect the workers constructing the transcontinental railroad and has had a gloomy history ever since.

Troops stationed here report seeing cavalrymen in full dress uniforms walking around the base. Others report screaming from unknown sources thought to be of a Native American woman who was sexually assaulted and murdered by two cavalrymen at White Crow Creek. Some apparitions are less jarring like a lone soldier standing at attention next to buildings in the same dated uniform.

 A Vintage View of the Old Post Headquarters on what may be one of the Most Haunted Places in the St. Louis area!

The most famous ghost is “Gus”. During the early days of the fort, Quarters 80 was home to a young officer. He was away a lot of the time on military maneuvers. One day he came home early, only to find a soldier entertaining his wife in an upstairs bedroom. With his escape route blocked by the angry husband, the soldier took an alternate route by leaping out of the second story window and accidentally hanging himself on the clothesline. Since then, Gus has been notorious for moving objects around in the house, opening cabinets and re-arranging furniture. Maybe it’s true what some say he is doing … looking for his trousers. 

The Jefferson Barracks Military Post is located in Lemay, Missouri. It was active from 1826 through 1946, and it is currently used by the Army and Air National Guard.

Private Quigley is rumored to be the source of the ghostly Light, seen floating down the dark road leading to Fort Fremont. Others claim it`s the ghost of a slave, sold away from his family, who`s come back to hunt for them, though the tales predate the American Revolution. Yet another story says that the light is from the ghost of some runaway slaves that were caught and hung from one of the large oak trees that line this road.

One recurring phantom is of a guard standing duty with a bullet hole in his head. He was allegedly shot during an enemy raid attempting to steal munitions. It is said that he appears to confront troops standing duty as well. If I was standing duty for the rest of my un-death, I might also be in a permanent foul mood too.

A recruit who trained at Parris Island with platoon 1064 Alpha Company, can confirm the eerie ambiance of the barracks at the rifle range. There have been reports of shadows and footsteps but after checking, no one seems to be there. There have been reported suicides, voices and crying from the bathrooms. There have been mentions of a spirit on fire watch with blotched camouflage. When approached, the entity immediately disappears. 

Reprint from ‘We Are The Mighty’ May 2019

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