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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 18 March 2012
in Earth Blog

Uncle Sam Wants you to Shop Secondhand

Starting on Wednesday you can bid on surplus and scrap metals from the "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona where decommissioned United States military aircraft sit in the hot dessert sun waiting to be stripped down to their base materials.dowdle historic planes

Right now the yard at Tucson's base is the only location where extra government planes  -over 4,200 to be exact- live. Some of the planes are operational or historic but the yard also acts as the military’s own giant pick-a-part for aircraft. Once a plane is no longer useful to the military it will be sold for scrap.

The Department of Defense allows the materials to be sold via the auction site govliquidation.com. This is only the second time in a decade a sale of this nature has been authorized and they say it’s going to be a blowout. Up for bid will be “27 million pounds of ferrous and nonferrous scrap metal” like aluminum, titanium, and steel parts culled from planes like A-4 Skyhawks, F-15 Eagles, and S-3 Vikings. 

"By bringing the sale of retired military aircraft to our online auction marketplace, scrap buyers around the world have a unique opportunity to find and bid on top grade aerospace metals,” said Tom Burton, President of Government Liquidation.  

The company is the exclusive outlet for the Department of Defense’s and other government surplus items including vehicles, medical equipment, gear, and watercraft.

"We receive 10,000 items per week and 20-30 million pounds of scrap metal per month from our government partner and continue to be successful in finding this inventory a home via our diverse buyer base," Burton noted.

What have thrifty business owners, philanthropists, and private citizens done with their purchases?  Through the “Customer Stories” link on the site you can read about Henry from Keahou, Hawaii who purchased diesel generators to run the irrigation pumps needed to water coffee trees. An inner city doctor in Connecticut was able to purchase low-cost medical equipment and an entrepreneur in Houston bought a Navy Utility Boat to convert into a party boat for hire. 

A government sale through DLA Disposition Services, a military agency that often contracts with Government Liquidation, was how the Navy's New Bedford became the Sea Bird, a commercial fishing vessel. It’s still the Sea Bird but now has a slightly different mission as it enters the next chapter of its life with us in San Diego and beyond.

Shop secondhand! It’s good for the country, the environment, and your wallet!

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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