Volk Field Air National Guard Base

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Volk Field Air National Guard Base
Camp Douglas, Wisconsin in the United States
The main entrance to Volk Field ANGB with a former Wisconsin Air National Guard P-51D Mustang on display
Volk Field ANGB is located in the United States
Volk Field ANGB
Volk Field ANGB
Location in the United States
Coordinates43°56′20″N 090°15′13″W / 43.93889°N 90.25361°W / 43.93889; -90.25361
TypeAir National Guard Base
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defense
OperatorUS Air Force (USAF)
Controlled byWisconsin Air National Guard (ANG)
Site history
Built1888 (1888)
In use1888 – present
Garrison information
GarrisonVolk Field Combat Readiness Training Center
Airfield information
IdentifiersIATA: VOK, ICAO: KVOK, FAA LID: VOK, WMO: 726436
Elevation277.9 metres (912 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
09/27 2,743.2 metres (9,000 ft) Asphalt/concrete
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]

Volk Field Air National Guard Base (IATA: VOK, ICAO: KVOK, FAA LID: VOK) is a military airport located near the village of Camp Douglas, in Juneau County, Wisconsin, United States.[2] 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.[3]


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.[4]

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 Guard prior to its shipping to France as part of World War I.[5]

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.[6][page needed]

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.[5]

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.[7]

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.[8]

False alarm incident[edit]

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, staff at the base were on the lookout for sabotage operations that might precede any nuclear first strike by the Soviet Union. 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 similar alarms at all bases in the area. At Volk Field, the alarm was incorrectly wired, and the Klaxon sounded, which ordered Air Defense Command (ADC) nuclear-armed F-106A interceptors to take off. The pilots had been told there would be no practice alert drills due to DEFCON 3 status, and, according to political scientist Scott D. Sagan, they "fully believed that a nuclear war had just started".[9]

Since Volk Field did not have a control tower, its aircraft were dispatched from Duluth 300 miles (480 km) away.[10] Before the planes were able to take off, the base commander contacted Duluth and learned of the error. An officer in the command center drove his car onto the runway, flashing his lights and signaling to the aircraft to stop. The intruder was later identified as a bear, instead of the expected Soviet Spetsnaz saboteurs.[9][11]

Sagan writes that the incident had raised the possibility of an ADC interceptor accidentally shooting down a US Strategic Air Command (SAC) bomber.[9] ADC interceptor crews had not been given full information by the SAC of plans to move bombers to dispersal bases (such as Volk Field) or the classified routes flown by bombers on continuous alert as part of Operation Chrome Dome. Declassified ADC documents later revealed that "the incident led to changes in the alert Klaxon system [...] to prevent a recurrence".[9]

Recent history[edit]

In 1989 the site was re-designated a Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC).[4] During the 1990 Persian Gulf War, Volk Field was the primary point of embarkation for soldiers and equipment from nearby Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.[12]

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.[4]

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.[13]


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

The Runway's Edge is the installation's all ranks club and provides hot food and drinks.[14]

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.[citation needed]

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.[15]

Wisconsin National Guard Museum[edit]

Wisconsin National Guard Museum
Location101 Independence Dr, Camp Douglas, WI 54618
TypeNational 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.[16]

See also[edit]


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

  1. ^ "Airport Diagram – Volk Field (KVOK)" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 13 August 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b FAA Airport Form 5010 for VOK PDF, effective 2007-07-05
  3. ^ "Camp Williams". Combat Readiness Training Center. 1 June 2005. Archived from the original on 15 December 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Volk Field - History". Volkfield.ang.af.mil. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b Pike, John. "Camp Williams". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  6. ^ Hoagenson, Robert (1966). The History of Camp Douglas, Wisconsin and Camp Williams-Volk Field. Studies in State and Local History, vol. 1, no. 4. Wisconsin State University. OCLC 16884707.
  7. ^ Larson, Vaughn R. (18 September 2012). "Formal Memorial Ceremony for Volk Field Namesake 1st Lt. Jerome Volk". Volkfield.ang.af.mil. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Fact Sheet : Wisconsin Air National Guard : VOLK FIELD/CAMP WILLIAMS MEMORIAL CEMETERY" (PDF). Volkfield.ang.af.mil. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d Sagan, Scott D. (1993). The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons. Princeton University Press. pp. 3, 99–100. ISBN 978-0-691-21306-4.
  10. ^ On The Brink: Doomsday. Discovery Channel. 1997. Event occurs at 29'25"–31'05".
  11. ^ Rhodes, Richard (19 June 1995). "The General and World War III". The New Yorker. pp. 47–59.
  12. ^ "McCoy rallied to support nation's call". The Triad. Fort McCoy.
  13. ^ "Patriot Warrior 06-23-06". Mccoy.army.mil. 23 June 2006. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Runways Edge in Camp Douglas, WI - (608) 427-1276 - Company Profile". Buzzfile.com. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Van De Loop appointed U.S. property and fiscal officer for Wisconsin | Local". lacrossetribune.com. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Wisconsin National Guard Museum, Camp Douglas, Wisconsin". Tinfeathers.com. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  17. ^ "P-51 Mustang Survivors". MustangsMustangs.com. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  18. ^ "Information on helicopter 66-16171". 129th.net. Retrieved 18 August 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]