U.S. Military in
         Alaska
The Closing of the Campion AirBase in
           Galena, Alaska
Campion AirBase
Radar Domes (DEW) during the Cold War
Brief History of the U.S.
  Military in Alaska
• Army, Navy and Revenue Service (forerunner of Coast
   Guard) provided go...
Brief History of the U.S.
  Military in Alaska
• During WWI, the U.S. realized that AK was a strategic
   position in the ...
Brief History of the U.S.
       Military in Alaska
• In 1942, the Japanese
   invaded the islands of Attu
   and Kiska an...
Brief History of the U.S.
  Military in Alaska

            • A 1940 census found 1,000
               military people liv...
Brief History of the U.S.
  Military in Alaska
• During WWII, Military personnel were sent to Fort
   Richardson and Eilso...
Brief History of the U.S.
  Military in Alaska
• The Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) was formed to stand
   watch over Alas...
Brief History of the U.S.
  Military in Alaska
• During the Cold War, AK had to be the “eyes” for the
   nation in order t...
White Alice site in Adak

                             DEW line in Point Lay




                           Dew line stati...
White Alice site in Nome
DEW
line
map




       DEW line site at Barter Island
Brief History of the U.S.
  Military in Alaska
• The White Alice sites were important for jobs and the
   development of c...
Brief History of the U.S.
  Military in Alaska
• In the early 1990s there was a reduction of armed force
   personnel nati...
Brief History of the U.S.
  Military in Alaska
• Headquarters for the Army National Guard and the Air
   National Guard ar...
History of Airbase in
      Galena, Alaska

• In World War II, a military
   air field was built adjacent
   to the civilia...
History of Airbase in
      Galena, Alaska
• “The Galena Air Force Base was originally a Civil
   Aeronautics Authority (t...
History of Airbase in
      Galena, Alaska
• “The Air Force decision to build at Galena created a
   boomtown on the north...
History of Airbase in
      Galena, Alaska
• . . . the men slept and ate at the homes of Native families,
   while they ra...
History of Airbase in
      Galena, Alaska
• . . . life changed for many
   local residents who found
   permanent jobs at...
History of Airbase in
   Galena, Alaska
            • During the 1950s, the the
               Air Force constructed
     ...
11th Air Force
743rd Radar Squadron
        F-15s
The Closing of the Campion
    Airbase in Galena
• The installation served as a Forward Operation Location
   during the C...
Sidney Huntington’s
       Great Idea
• The idea for a boarding school in Galena came from the
   community, with the powe...
G.I.L.A.

• The school was renamed the Galena Interior Learning
   Academy (G.I.L.A.) and offers vocational training in
  ...
Airbase to Boarding
      School
Map of G.I.L.A.
References

•   http://sled.alaska.edu/akfaq/akmilit.html

•   Huntington, Sidney (1993), Shadows on the Koyukuk, Alaska N...
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Campion Air Base

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Campion Air Base

  1. 1. U.S. Military in Alaska The Closing of the Campion AirBase in Galena, Alaska
  2. 2. Campion AirBase Radar Domes (DEW) during the Cold War
  3. 3. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • Army, Navy and Revenue Service (forerunner of Coast Guard) provided govt. services for AK during first two decades following purchase from Russia • Military personnel mapped much of the interior • The military enforced rudimentary law and order during the Gold Rush • In the early years of the twentieth century, the military managed the installation and operation of Alaska's first major communications system, the Washington-Alaska Military Cable System (WAMCATS).
  4. 4. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • During WWI, the U.S. realized that AK was a strategic position in the new world of aviation • AK had become the shortest possible route from the U.S. to Asia • Flying over the pole from AK to Europe was another time saving route • At the outset of World War II, the military constructed docks, airfields, warehouses and bases in AK
  5. 5. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • In 1942, the Japanese invaded the islands of Attu and Kiska and the naval installations at Dutch Harbor were bombed. • In the panic that followed the invasion, the U.S. government imposed martial law on Alaska • The Aleuts were forcibly evicted from their lands and relocated
  6. 6. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • A 1940 census found 1,000 military people living in Alaska • After the invasion, tens of thousands of military personnel poured into AK • The construction of the Alaska-Canadian highway (Alcan) facilitated the military build-up
  7. 7. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • During WWII, Military personnel were sent to Fort Richardson and Eilson Air Force Base • Runways were constructed in Northway and Sitka and Mark Field was built in Nome • Fighting the Japanese in the Aleutians, it became obvious that the troops did not have either the training or the clothing or gear to fight successfully in the Arctic or cold weather conditions • Fort Greeley became, and remains, one of the armed forces cold weather proving grounds
  8. 8. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • The Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) was formed to stand watch over Alaska’s coast • The majority of guard members were Alaska Natives • The ATG became the “eyes and ears” of the Arctic and served without pay • They were considered to be the “unorganized militia” and separate from the National Guard which was the “organized militia” • However, following WWII the ATG units were transferred into the National Guard and armories were constructed in the larger Native villages
  9. 9. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • During the Cold War, AK had to be the “eyes” for the nation in order to warn the rest of the country if an attack was coming from the Soviet Union • At the cost of millions of dollars, radar and communication systems were constructed across AK and key military bases were enlarged • The radar system was called DEW (the Distant Early Warning) and the microwave systems connecting the DEW line and other military installations was called White Alice • This telecommunication system connected Alaska in a way that would not have been economically feasible for Alaska’s sparse population without the military
  10. 10. White Alice site in Adak DEW line in Point Lay Dew line station in Barrow
  11. 11. White Alice site in Nome DEW line map DEW line site at Barter Island
  12. 12. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • The White Alice sites were important for jobs and the development of cash economies in village • Many personnel serving at the DEW line and White Alice sites had television, radio and telephone communication that served as a window into the future for the villages • Personnel stationed at these sites began to marry Alaska Native women • In 1960, some 32,860 persons worked in the military, fully 33% of the labor force in AK
  13. 13. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • In the early 1990s there was a reduction of armed force personnel nationally, as well as in Alaska • In 1999, the active duty military composed only 5.7% of the total labor force in AK • Fort Wainwright (home of the 172nd Infantry Brigade) near Fairbanks and Fort Richardson near Anchorage are the state's major Army posts • The Air Force's major bases are Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks and Elmendorf Air Force Base, headquarters of the Alaskan Air Command (ACC), outside of Anchorage • The Air Force also operates 13 long range radar stations located around the state
  14. 14. Brief History of the U.S. Military in Alaska • Headquarters for the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are located in Anchorage with principal units in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kotzebue, Bethel, and Juneau. • The 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau encompasses Alaska's 33,000 miles of coastline • The Coast Guard enforces the 200-mile fisheries conservation zone, engages in search and rescue and performs maintenance of navigation aids • The Navy and Marine Corps have commands and detachments in Anchorage and on Adak Island in the Aleutians.
  15. 15. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska • In World War II, a military air field was built adjacent to the civilian airport • This air field was designated Galena Air Force Station • Post tent outside of Galena Air Force Station
  16. 16. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska • “The Galena Air Force Base was originally a Civil Aeronautics Authority (today the FAA) airfield. During World War II, it was the first stop for Russian pilots flying American lend-lease warplanes from Fairbanks to Russia. During the war, I saw as many as 132 Bell Airacobra (P-39) fighter plans parked there, awaiting improved weather so they could fly to Nome. Altogether, the Russians accepted 7,929 American warplanes at Fairbanks and flew them to Nome via Galena. From Nome, the planes flew across the Bering Straits to Siberia, then to theEastern Front, where they flew in combat against the Germans.” --Sidney Huntington, Shadows on the Koyukuk (WWI)
  17. 17. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska • “The Air Force decision to build at Galena created a boomtown on the north bank of the Yukon River, 575 miles from the Bering Sea. About thirty-five people lived in Galena in 1941 at the start of construction. With the influx of people, the quiet village became a noisy tent city. During wartime, Galena’s population ballooned to at least 3,000. The Air Force first arrived at Galena via the Yukon River with six barges full of tractors, trucks and cranes. Twenty soldiers were dumped on the beach with that heavy equipment. They had no blankets and no housing. The Koyukon people of Galena took those GIs into their homes as if they were their own kids, including the commanding officer, a Lieutenant O’Neil . . .
  18. 18. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska • . . . the men slept and ate at the homes of Native families, while they ran the tractors, cranes and trucks to build the airfield. The Galena Native homes were mostly small, simple log cabins, but they were warm and open to these hardworking young men. They became homes away from home for the soldiers, and many close relationships were forged. That winter, soldiers built a huge domed airplane hangar. To bolt the girders in place, they worked 150 feet in the air from buckets lifted by draglines, never losing a day of work, no matter how cold or how windy. I saw them working at -58 degrees. Those rugged men became highly respected for their accomplishments during the time they lived at Galena. Some of them fell in love with Alaska and our way of life. Upon discharge from the service, many settled in Alaska and married Native girls . . .
  19. 19. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska • . . . life changed for many local residents who found permanent jobs at the Galena Air Force Base. From seasonal trapping and commercial fishing, with a consequent seasonal income, they converted to a partial cash economy with year- round income. Most continued to largely depend upon game and fish for food.” - Sidney Huntington, Shadows on the Koyukuk (WWII)
  20. 20. History of Airbase in Galena, Alaska • During the 1950s, the the Air Force constructed additional military facilities at Galena and the nearby Campion Air Force Station, in support of Galena's mission as a forward operating base under the 5072nd Air Base Group, headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base • Improvements to the airport and the local infrastructure provided economic growth for the area
  21. 21. 11th Air Force 743rd Radar Squadron F-15s
  22. 22. The Closing of the Campion Airbase in Galena • The installation served as a Forward Operation Location during the Cold War, its mission to intercept Soviet military aircraft entering U.S. airspace over the Bering Sea. • The Campion Air Force Station was phased out during the late 70's and early 80's • The F-15 squadron was reassigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base • Galena Air Force Station (Campion Airbase) closed in 1993, following the end of the Cold War
  23. 23. Sidney Huntington’s Great Idea • The idea for a boarding school in Galena came from the community, with the powerful backing of Sidney Huntington, a Athabascan elder respected throughout the state who served on the board of fish and game. • Mr. Huntington and others saw the closure of the Galena Air Base as an opportunity to use the facilities as a site for students living in rural Alaska to get the best possible education. • The school started in 1997 as Project Education Charter School with 40 students working on project-based education
  24. 24. G.I.L.A. • The school was renamed the Galena Interior Learning Academy (G.I.L.A.) and offers vocational training in automotive technology, aviation, cosmetology, and culinary arts joined to a rigorous academic curriculum, with 117 students • G.I.L.A. turned the Air Force buildings into classrooms, student facilities and residential living quarters • The entire base officially became the property of the school with a ceremony in September 2008
  25. 25. Airbase to Boarding School
  26. 26. Map of G.I.L.A.
  27. 27. References • http://sled.alaska.edu/akfaq/akmilit.html • Huntington, Sidney (1993), Shadows on the Koyukuk, Alaska Northwest Books • http://www.akhistorycourse.org/articles/article.php?artID=446 • http://fairbanks-alaska.com/eielson.htm • http://gila.galenaalaska.org/public/About/SchoolHistory.html • http://galena.iialaska.com/pubdoc.shtml • http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/usaf/11af.htm

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