Welcome to my KI Sawyer AFB website. My name is Larry Antley. Our family lived at KI Sawyer for nearly 8 years between 1963 and 1971. My father was assigned to the 62nd FIS. A big part of my childhood was spent growing up at KI Sawyer. On July 25, 2002 I returned to KI Sawyer along with my wife Martha, my son Kevin, and my parents Herb & Marion Antley. This site is about that return trip. It's also about the past memories of living at KI Sawyer as told by a former Air Force dependent (brat).
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PHOTO by Bruce@Webshots: Sawyer Airport, north looking south.
| On July 25, 2002 our American Eagle Flight 4332 flew north over KI Sawyer, turned south over Lake Superior, and then made its final landing approach. Seeing the base again after a 31 years was exciting and instantly brought back a flood of memories.|
[Air Force Song]
KI Sawyer was once a bustling community of 7,000 Air Force service personnel and families. From our flyover view the base appears deserted, a hollow shell of it?s former self. The flightline was void of activity. The B-52 Bombers, KC-135 tankers, and fighter planes all long departed.
|The base was named for Kenneth Ingalls Sawyer, a county road commissioner who formed the plan for the county airport. The airport began Air Force operations in 1956. [Click Here] to read about KI Sawyer's history as an Air Force Base. In 1993 the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended KI Sawyer AFB be closed. The base closed late September 1995. [Click Here] to read "Sawyer In Review" from the Gwinn Sawyer Chamber of Commerce website. It contains a very nice historical outline of the major events just before the base closed and then the reemergence of Sawyer as a civilian community.|
|We arrived at KI Sawyer just after 8 PM. It was cloudy and 59 degrees, a big difference from the 95-degree weather we had at DFW Airport just hours earlier. In the terminal we quickly claimed our luggage and picked-up the keys to our rental van. Of course the first thing we did was to immediately drive around to ?check out? the base. Even with an overcast sky the long Upper Peninsula summer day allowed us at least 1-1/2 hours of additional daylight to reminisce. We already had 4 nights reserved at the Red Fox Inn, (which is conveniently located on base), so we weren?t in any hurry to check in.
We drove around the base and easily recognized many of the buildings. It was really amazing how many landmarks had not changed. Darkness settled in and reminded us it was time to check-in to our rooms at the Red Fox Inn. The Red Fox Inn buildings were once the Air Force officer barracks. If you ever visit KI Sawyer and need a place to stay I would highly recommend the Red Fox Inn. The prices are very reasonable and they offer traditional rooms or one to four bedroom suites. My wife, son, and I stayed in a roomy one-bedroom suite, which included a refrigerator, microwave, and place settings. My parents shared another one-room suite. My son was also very happy the cable TV system included his favorite channel ?Cartoon Network?.
The photo to the right was taken looking east behind the Red Fox Inn complex. On the bottom of this valley runs Silver Lead Creek. To the right a short distance away is Little Trout Lake and to the left is the base sewage treatment plant also affectionately known as the ?Officers Swimming Pool?. This is also the valley that separates the main base from the family base housing area.
PHOTO: Red Fox Inn, 520 A. Ave Gwinn / KI Sawyer, MI 49841
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