Four decades of keeping Arnold Safe: Perimeter Road marks 40 years

  • Published
  • By Kali Bradford
  • AEDC Public Affairs


ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. – In 1984, several hundred National Guardsmen helped to provide Arnold Air Force Base with a much-needed security road that was named the Perimeter Road. The seven-mile road would run adjacent to the then newly constructed security fence, helping to provide additional security and prevent unauthorized access or damage to the base’s runway area.

June 2024 will mark 40 years since the road was constructed making the project a long- standing accomplishment for both the National Guard units along with Arnold AFB.

The perimeter road was built by members of the 190th, 230th, 155th and 913th Engineers, who used the project as their annual two-week summer camp training exercise. More than 430 Guardsmen were involved in the project, which consisted of three two-week phases. Each phase was handled by a different group of Guardsmen. They utilized a total of 83 vehicles to build the road, install drainage ditches and create a 15-foot-wide cleared area on both sides of the security fence.

The project also provided the Guard with practical field experience by handling such a situation in battlefield type terrain. Battlefield conditions included hot and humid weather, as well as insect-infested areas.

Additionally, the exercise also required the support of several other branches of Guard specialization besides the construction crew. In support, the Guard furnished medical, fire, administrative, food and field equipment maintenance personnel.

"This was a good example of an exercise that provided immeasurable experience to the personnel in both operation of equipment and support areas, working under bare-based conditions," said then-Air Force TSgt. Paul Rhea, Arnold Engineering Development Complex real property technician and project coordinator.

Since 1984, the road has been maintained and continues to serve as an added layer of security for Arnold in 2024.