Volk Field Air National Guard Base

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Volk Field Air National Guard Base
US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg
Part of Air National Guard (ANG)
Located near: Camp Douglas, Wisconsin
VolkMainGate.jpg
Main entrance to Volk Field displaying a former Wisconsin Air National Guard P-51D Mustang
Coordinates N 43° 55.685' W 90° 15.810'
Type National Guard Training Base
Code KVOK
Site information
Owner Wisconsin Air National Guard - Emblem.pngWisconsin Air National Guard
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Site history
Built 1888
In use 1888 – present
Volk Field Air National Guard Base
Volk Field Air National Guard Base-WI-08 April 1998-USGS.jpg
1998 USGS Photo
Summary
Airport type Military
Operator U.S. Air Force
Location Orange, near Camp Douglas, Wisconsin
Elevation AMSL 912 ft / 278 m
Coordinates 43°56′20″N 090°15′13″W / 43.93889°N 90.25361°W / 43.93889; -90.25361
Map
Volk Field Air National Guard Base is located in Wisconsin
Volk Field Air National Guard Base
Volk Field Air National Guard Base
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9/27 9,000 2,743 Asphalt/Concrete

Volk Field Air National Guard Base (IATA: VOKICAO: KVOKFAA LID: VOK) is a military airport located near the village of Camp Douglas, in Juneau County, Wisconsin, United States.[1] 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.[2]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

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 training site to include a dedicated pistol, rifle, and artillery training range for the Wisconsin National Guard.[3]

By 1903 the camp had expanded to more than 800 acres (3.2 km2) and was used for training by the then reorganized National Guard. In 1917 the site served as a major mobilization and training post for the 32nd Infantry Division which was made up almost exclusively of the Wisconsin and Michigan National prior to its shipping to France as part of World War I.[4]

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 development of the airplane, the first hard-surface runways were constructed in 1935 and 1936.[5]

During World War II Camp Williams and Volk served as a mobilization and training station for elements of the 32nd Infantry Division which was made up almost exclusively of the Wisconsin and Michigan National Guard.[4]

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.[6]

A small graveyard near the front gate contains three burial plots, those of Lt. Col. Charles R. Williams, Camp Williams' namesake; his son, Private Robert W. Williams, who died in France during World War I; and Brigadier General Hugh M. Simonson, Adjutant General of the Wisconsin National Guard from 1977 until 1979. It also contains a memorial marker for Lt. Jerome Volk, for whom the installation was named, as his body was never recovered after being shot down over North Korea in 1951.[7]

False alarm incident[edit]

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.[8]

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, 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.[9]

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.[9]

The intruder was later identified as a black bear, not the Soviet saboteurs in advance of a nuclear attack the sentry was expecting.[10]

Recent history[edit]

In 1989 the site was re-designated a Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC).[3] During the 1990 Persian Gulf War, Volk Field was the primary point of embarkation for soldiers and equipment from nearby Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.[11]

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.[3]

Since 2006 Volk Field, along with Fort McCoy, has served as the primary location for Patriot Warrior the largest annual training exercise for Air Force Reserve Command.[12]

Facilities[edit]

Volk Field has one asphalt and concrete paved runway (9/27) measuring 9,000 x 150 ft (2,743 x 46 m).[1]

The Runway's Edge is the installation's all ranks club and provides hot food and drinks.[13]

The Wisconsin National Guard Museum is located at Volk Field. It contains aircraft, helicopters, artillery, and armored vehicles used by the Wisconsin National Guard over its existence.

Camp Williams is the home of the United States Property & Fiscal Office for the State of Wisconsin, as well as the Army National Guard's Consolidated State Maintenance Facility.[14]

Wisconsin National Guard Museum[edit]

Wisconsin National Guard Museum
VolkAirPark.jpg
Location 101 Independence Dr, Camp Douglas, WI 54618
Type National Guard SealAviation Military History

The Wisconsin National Guard Museum is located at Volk. It is housed in one of the former Officer's Quarters built in the late 19th-Century. The museum is open to the public five days a week. It also hosts a large air park with many former Air National Guard aircraft from several states, as well as artillery, helicopters, and tanks formerly of the Wisconsin National Guard.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for VOK (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-07-05
  2. ^ "Camp Williams". Combat Readiness Training Center. 1 June 2005. Archived from the original on 15 December 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Volk Field - History". Volkfield.ang.af.mil. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  4. ^ a b John Pike. "Camp Williams". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  5. ^ Robert Hoagenson. The History of Camp Douglas, Wisconsin and Camp Williams-Volk Field. 1966.
  6. ^ This story was written by 1st Sgt Vaughn R. Larson. "Formal Memorial Ceremony for Volk Field Namesake 1st Lt. Jerome Volk". Volkfield.ang.af.mil. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  7. ^ "Fact Sheet : Wisconsin Air National Guard : VOLK FIELD/CAMP WILLIAMS MEMORIAL CEMETERY" (PDF). Volkfield.ang.af.mil. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  8. ^ Doomsday: On The Brink. A two-part 1997 documentary, originally aired on the Learning Channel. http://www.56.com/u59/v_NDgyMDgzODQ.html from 26:21 to 28:59.
  9. ^ a b Philips, Alan F. "20 Mishaps that Might Have Caused Nuclear War". nuclearfiles.org. Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  10. ^ Rhodes, Richard (1995-06-19). "The General and World War III". The New Yorker. pp. 47–59. 
  11. ^ "McCoy rallied to support nation's call". The Triad. Fort McCoy. 
  12. ^ "Patriot Warrior 06-23-06". Mccoy.army.mil. 2006-06-23. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  13. ^ "Runways Edge in Camp Douglas, WI - (608) 427-1276 - Company Profile". Buzzfile.com. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  14. ^ "Van De Loop appointed U.S. property and fiscal officer for Wisconsin | Local". lacrossetribune.com. 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  15. ^ "Wisconsin National Guard Museum, Camp Douglas, Wisconsin". Tinfeathers.com. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  16. ^ "P-51 Mustang Survivors". MustangsMustangs.com. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  17. ^ "Information on helicopter 66-16171". 129th.net. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 

External links[edit]