Campion Air Base

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Transcript of Campion Air Base

  • 1. U.S. Military in Alaska The Closing of the Campion AirBase in Galena, Alaska
  • 2. Campion AirBase Radar Domes (DEW) during the Cold War
  • 3. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska Army, Navy and Revenue Service (forerunner of Coast Guard) provided govt. services for AK during rst two decades following purchase from Russia Military personnel mapped much of the interior The military enforced rudimentary law and order during the Gold Rush In the early years of the twentieth century, the military managed the installation and operation of Alaska's rst major communications system, the Washington-Alaska Military Cable System (WAMCATS).
  • 4. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska During WWI, the U.S. realized that AK was a strategic position in the new world of aviation AK had become the shortest possible route from the U.S. to Asia Flying over the pole from AK to Europe was another time saving route At the outset of World War II, the military constructed docks, airelds, warehouses and bases in AK
  • 5. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska In 1942, the Japanese invaded the islands of Attu and Kiska and the naval installations at Dutch Harbor were bombed. In the panic that followed the invasion, the U.S. government imposed martial law on Alaska The Aleuts were forcibly evicted from their lands and relocated
  • 6. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska A 1940 census found 1,000 military people living in Alaska After the invasion, tens of thousands of military personnel poured into AK The construction of the Alaska-Canadian highway (Alcan) facilitated the military build-up
  • 7. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska During WWII, Military personnel were sent to Fort Richardson and Eilson Air Force Base Runways were constructed in Northway and Sitka and Mark Field was built in Nome Fighting the Japanese in the Aleutians, it became obvious that the troops did not have either the training or the clothing or gear to ght successfully in the Arctic or cold weather conditions Fort Greeley became, and remains, one of the armed forces cold weather proving grounds
  • 8. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska The Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) was formed to stand watch over Alaskas coast The majority of guard members were Alaska Natives The ATG became the eyes and ears of the Arctic and served without pay They were considered to be the unorganized militia and separate from the National Guard which was the organized militia However, following WWII the ATG units were transferred into the National Guard and armories were constructed in the larger Native villages
  • 9. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska During the Cold War, AK had to be the eyes for the nation in order to warn the rest of the country if an attack was coming from the Soviet Union At the cost of millions of dollars, radar and communication systems were constructed across AK and key military bases were enlarged The radar system was called DEW (the Distant Early Warning) and the microwave systems connecting the DEW line and other military installations was called White Alice This telecommunication system connected Alaska in a way that would not have been economically feasible for Alaskas sparse population without the military
  • 10. White Alice site in Adak DEW line in Point Lay Dew line station in Barrow
  • 11. White Alice site in Nome DEW line map DEW line site at Barter Island
  • 12. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska The White Alice sites were important for jobs and the development of cash economies in village Many personnel serving at the DEW line and White Alice sites had television, radio and telephone communication that served as a window into the future for the villages Personnel stationed at these sites began to marry Alaska Native women In 1960, some 32,860 persons worked in the military, fully 33% of the labor force in AK
  • 13. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska In the early 1990s there was a reduction of armed force personnel nationally, as well as in Alaska In 1999, the active duty military composed only 5.7% of the total labor force in AK Fort Wainwright (home of the 172nd Infantry Brigade) near Fairbanks and Fort Richardson near Anchorage are the state's major Army posts The Air Force's major bases are Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks and Elmendorf Air Force Base, headquarters of the Alaskan Air Command (ACC), outside of Anchorage The Air Force also operates 13 long range radar stations located around the state
  • 14. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska Headquarters for the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are located in Anchorage with principal units in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kotzebue, Bethel, and Juneau. The 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau encompasses Alaska's 33,000 miles of coastline The Coast Guard enforces the 200-mile sheries conservation zone, engages in search and rescue and performs maintenance of navigation aids The Navy and Marine Corps have commands and detachments in Anchorage and on Adak Island in the Aleutians.
  • 15. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska In World War II, a military air eld was built adjacent to the civilian airport This air eld was designated Galena Air Force Station Post tent outside of Galena Air Force Station
  • 16. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska The Galena Air Force Base was originally a Civil Aeronautics Authority (today the FAA) aireld. During World War II, it was the rst stop for Russian pilots ying American lend-lease warplanes from Fairbanks to Russia. During the war, I saw as many as 132 Bell Airacobra (P-39) ghter plans parked there, awaiting improved weather so they could y to Nome. Altogether, the Russians accepted 7,929 American warplanes at Fairbanks and ew them to Nome via Galena. From Nome, the planes ew across the Bering Straits to Siberia, then to theEastern Front, where they ew in combat against the Germans. --Sidney Huntington, Shadows on the Koyukuk (WWI)
  • 17. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska The Air Force decision to build at Galena created a boomtown on the north bank of the Yukon River, 575 miles from the Bering Sea. About thirty-ve people lived in Galena in 1941 at the start of construction. With the inux of people, the quiet village became a noisy tent city. During wartime, Galenas population ballooned to at least 3,000. The Air Force rst arrived at Galena via the Yukon River with six barges full of tractors, trucks and cranes. Twenty soldiers were dumped on the beach with that heavy equipment. They had no blankets and no housing. The Koyukon people of Galena took those GIs into their homes as if they were their own kids, including the commanding ofcer, a Lieutenant ONeil . . .
  • 18. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska . . . the men slept and ate at the homes o