BENEFITING: K I SAWYER HERITAGE AIR MUSEUM INC
VOODOO ROCK JAM BENEFIT CONCERT supporting K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum Friday, October 10, 2014, 7-10 pm. At the museum at 402 3rd Street, Sawyer/Gwinn (at the intersection of 3rd St. and A Avenue). Music by Cherry Bombs. Free Beer! $5 minimum donation requested. Senor's Authentic Mexican Food, 50/50, Doorprizes.
K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, began operations in 1954 and ceased them in 1995. Thousands of men, women, and their families were stationed here during those 41 years. When the base closed due to the realignment and closure act, a group of retired airmen started an organization to preserve the memories and stories of the heroic efforts of those who served at K.I. Sawyer. This group has been operating on a volunteer basis this entire time and have managed to collect approximately 3,000 artifacts, create the Silver Wings Community Center and K.I. Sawyer Library. They also spearhead the Upper Peninsula Memorial Retreat Center park which is home to a B-52D Bomber, F-101B Fighter/Interceptor, FB-111A Strategic Bomber, T-33A, F-106A Jet Trainer and ADM 20 Decoy Missile. Their success is due largely to their desire to preserve the past and dedication to the United States Air Force.
Since the base closed, the museum has moved three times. For the past four (4) year they have occupied, rent free, a 15,000 square foot building that is home to the museum, community center and library. The landlord is currently in the position to sell the property and the museum would like to purchase it and perform various subsequent improvements. They desperately would like a permanent home for the artifacts and community.
HISTORY OF K.I. SAWYER BASE CLOSURE
In 1954 the government entered into negotiations with Marquette County for Sawyer's lease. After several months of meetings and negotiations a 99 year lease was signed on January 24, 1955. Construction started almost immediately. Approximately 850 people were employed during the construction.
Situated on over 5,200 acres of land in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base was one of the newest major U.S. bases built by the Air Force. Utilizing the world-class air facilities located at Sawyer, aircraft operators have access to an all weather runway 12,300 feet long and 300 feet wide.
The last aircraft assigned to Sawyer were six T-37B jet trainers of the 71st Flying Training Wing assigned to the ''Accelerated Copilot Enrichment Program'' in 1977 and are presently assigned to the ''Companion Trainer Program'' under the 410th Bomb Wing and the Air Combat Command.
On June 1, 1995, an Inactivation Ceremony was held. By August of 1995 the Base Deactivation Ceremony took place. The last B-52H left K. I. Sawyer in November of 1994. The nineteen B-52H's from the 410th Bomb Wing were relocated to Barksdale Air Force Base and Minot Air Force Base and became part of the 2nd and 5th Bomb Wings. K. I. Sawyer closed on September 30, 1995.