Volk Field Air National Guard Base
|Volk Field Air National Guard Base|
1998 USGS Photo
|Operator||U.S. Air Force|
|Location||Orange, near Camp Douglas, Wisconsin|
|Elevation AMSL||912 ft / 278 m|
Volk Field Air National Guard Base (IATA: VOK, ICAO: KVOK, FAA LID: VOK) is a military airport located just outside the village of Camp Douglas, in Juneau County, Wisconsin, United States. It is also known as the Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC). The base also houses Camp Williams, which is supported by the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
The origin of the Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) can be traced back to 1888 when the State Adjutant General, General Chandler Chapman, purchased a site for a rifle range and offered it to the state for a camp. In 1889 the State Legislature authorized the Governor to purchase land near the site for a permanent campground and rifle range for the Wisconsin National Guard.
By 1903 the camp had expanded to over 800 acres (3.2 km2) and was used for training by the then reorganized National Guard. From that date until the Federal Call of 1916 the camp was frequently visited by officials of other states who came to observe the model Wisconsin National Guard.
The site was named Camp Williams in 1927 in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Williams, the Chief Quartermaster of the post from 1917 until his death in 1926. Camp Williams grew slowly following the First World War, but with the increasing development of the airplane, it was all but inevitable that an airstrip would be built, and in 1935 and 1936, the first hard-surface runways were constructed.
In 1954 the federal government leased the field from the State of Wisconsin for use as a permanent field training site. That same year work began on the air-to-ground gunnery range near Finley, Wisconsin. In 1957, the Wisconsin Legislature officially designated the facility a Permanent Field Training Site and named it in memory of 1st Lieutenant Jerome A. Volk, the first Wisconsin Air National Guard pilot killed in combat in the Korean War.
False alarm incident
During the Cuban missile crisis a majority of B-47 bombers with capability to drop nuclear payloads were "dispersed" to Volk, among other bases, to make it harder for the Soviets to threaten USAF assets.
At around midnight on 25 October 1962, a guard at the Duluth Sector Direction Center saw a figure climbing the security fence. He shot at it, and activated the "sabotage alarm." This automatically set off sabotage alarms at all bases in the area. At Volk Field, Wisconsin, the alarm was incorrectly wired, and the Klaxon sounded which ordered nuclear armed F-106A interceptors to take off. The interceptor crews had not been notified that the Strategic Air Command had increased its patrols of nuclear-armed bombers, some of which were airborne near Volk, threatening the possibility of nuclear friendly fire.
Immediate communication with Duluth showed there was an error. By this time aircraft were starting down the runway and Volk was too small for a control tower (its aircraft were dispatched from Duluth 300 miles (480 km) away). A truck raced from the command center and successfully signaled the aircraft to stop.
The intruder was later identified as a black bear, not the Soviet saboteurs in advance of a nuclear attack the sentry was expecting.
In 1989 the site was re-designated a Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC). The 128th Air Control Squadron, Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation system (ACMI), Air Base Operability and Ability to Survive and Operate (ATSO) training missions were added in 1991.
- FAA Airport Master Record for VOK ( PDF), effective 2007-07-05
- Doomsday: On The Brink. A two-part 1997 documentary, originally aired on the Learning Channel, of close calls to nuclear war. http://www.56.com/u59/v_NDgyMDgzODQ.html from 26:21 to 28:59.
- Rhodes, Richard (1995-06-19). "The General and World War III". The New Yorker. pp. 47–59.
- Volk Field Air National Guard Base (ANGB) (official site)
- Wisconsin Airport Directory: PDF (132 KiB)
- (PDF), effective January 8, 2015
- Resources for this U.S. military airport: