During the Cold War, the vital task of watching the skies for enemy airplanes was done by the Air Force. At the start of the Korean War, the Air Force built 28 radar installations around the country to watch the skies over North America. The 754th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron were initially activated on 27 November 1950 at a temporary site at Oscoda AFB. After construction was completed on a new base a few miles south of Port Austin it was assigned to the new base in July 1951 and joined the military’s permanent radar network. The station functioned as a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron’s role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit’s radar scopes. Over the years the radar units were updated until the mid-1980s when the main bearing failed on the current radar dish. The duties of watching the sky went to the FAA long-range radar site at Canton near Detroit. The radar was eventually fixed and the base was used until 1988. It was determined that the FAA site in Canton would serve the needs of the country and the base in Port Austin officially closed. The base was sold into private ownership and the former Air Force buildings are now used as a bible camp and an RV park among other things. The road leading into the old complex is privately owned and closed to the public. I took a pic of the old radar stands from the road.
Thank you to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the military. It’s because of your commitment and sacrifices that give me the freedom to roam this beautiful state and country.
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