K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base

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K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base (1944-Closed) - A Cold War era United States Air Force base first established in 1944 as a civilian airfield, K. I. Sawyer Airport, at Marquette in Marquette County, Michigan. Named for Kenneth Ingalls Sawyer who initially proposed the airstrip. Leased by the U.S. Air Force in 1955. The Air Force constructed an airbase adjacent to the civil facilities and opened the joint use facility on 8 Apr 1956 as K.I. Sawyer Airport. USAF became the sole user and renamed the facility K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base on 8 May 1959. Operational units at the base included the Air Defense Command (ADC), Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Air Combat Command (ACC).

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended the base for closure in 1993 and it was officially closed 30 Sep 1995.

Former K.I. Sawyer AFB SAGE Direction Center DC-14.
Former K.I. Sawyer AFB Abandoned Barracks Area.
Former KI Sawyer AFB Flightline Hanger Area.

History

Leased by the U.S. Air Force in 1955. The Air Force constructed an airbase adjacent to the civil facilities and opened the joint use facility on 8 Apr 1956 as K.I. Sawyer Airport. USAF became the sole user and renamed the facility K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base on 8 May 1959. Operational units at the base included the Air Defense Command (ADC), Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Air Combat Command (ACC).

Air Defense Command (ADC)

Former K.I. Sawyer AFB Static Display ADC F-106A Fighter Inteceptor.

In January 1956, K.I. Sawyer AFB became the home of the 473rd Fighter Group, a unit of the Eastern Air Defense Command. In 1959, the 473rd Fighter Group became the 56th Fighter Group and was host for the Sault Ste. Marie Air Defense Sector and the 4042nd Strategic Wing, a Strategic Air Command unit. The massive K.I. Sawyer SAGE Direction Center DC-14 was activated in December 1958 but remained operational only until December 1963 when it was closed in the first round of SAGE System direction center consolidations.

Strategic Air Command (SAC)

Former K.I. Sawyer AFB Static Display SAC B-52H.

In February 1963, the 410th Bomb Wing (SAC) was activated replacing the 4042nd Strategic Wing (SAC). Later in 1963, the 410th Bomb Wing began conducting flying operations with the B-52H Stratofortress and the KC- 135 Stratotanker from K.I. Sawyer.

Air Combat Command (ACC)

With the disestablishment of SAC, the base came under control of the Air Combat Command (ACC) in June 1992.

Closure

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended the base for closure in 1993 and it was officially closed 30 Sep 1995.

Current Status

Part of K.I. Sawyer AFB was converted into Sawyer International Airport, which opened for passenger service in September 1999 as the region's primary civilian airport. The remainder of the base is in private or public hands and some facilities have been repurposed and are in in use. Much of the former base cantonment area is unused and deteriorating. The K.I. Sawyer SAGE Direction Center DC-14 has been repurposed by a private concern and now has a radar antenna secured to the roof.

A static aircraft display with six aircraft representing the types of aircraft stationed at K.I. Sawyer AFB in maintained by a local group. The K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum operates out of the old base MWR building.


Location: Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan.

Maps & Images

Lat: 46.3536 Long: -87.39528

See Also:

Sources:

Links:

Visited: 5 Jul 2016


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