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Volk Field ANGB

Volk Field Air National Guard Base, located in beautiful central Wisconsin, is the home of Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, the 128th Air Control Squadron and the Wisconsin National Guard Museum. Located adjacent to Volk Field are Camp Williams and the Wisconsin Youth Leadership Training Center. Volk Field personnel also operate the Hardwood Weapons range near Finley, Wisconsin (5 nautical miles north of Sprague).

The Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) at Volk Field Air National Guard Base (ANGB), Wisconsin, is one of four such sites located in the United States. The others are located at Alpena Michigan, Gulfport Mississippi, and Savannah, Georgia. The CRTC is established and funded by the National Guard Bureau (NGB) in Washington, D.C., and is directly under the command of the Adjutant General of Wisconsin. More than 200 units from the Army and Air National Guard, Air Force and Air Force Reserves, the Marine Corps and Naval Reserves use the facility each year. Other users include federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, Civil Air Patrol and youth organizations.

The mission of the CRTC is to provide a year-round training environment for ANG units to enhance their combat readiness. The CRTC allows training to be done which cannot be accomplished at their home station. The facilities approximate a Forward Operating Location (FOL), and provide a realistic setting for the conduct of unit Operational Readiness Exercises and Inspections (ORE, ORI). Additionally, the CRTC manages the operations and scheduling of assigned ranges and airspace training areas.

The Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) system is one of twenty-one such facilities worldwide. The ACMI is the most powerful state-of-the-art training aid for combat aircrews. It is a computerized three dimensional tracking and recording system. The ACMI provides enhanced safety for aircrews training in aerial combat, air-to-ground weapons delivery, surface-to-air defenses and electronic warfare. Approximately 4,000 square miles of airspace are instrumented in the ACMI system and aircrews from the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserves, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Canada use these facilities year round.

The 128th Air Control Squadron (ACS) is tasked on a daily basis to support the flying activities scheduled at the CRTC. The 128 ACS is a worldwide deployable Ground Control Intercept (GCI) unit and often deploys to support counter narcotics operations and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) operations and exercises.

The Commander of Volk Field ANGB is also Commander of the CRTC and reports directly to the Deputy Adjutant General for Air in the State Headquarters. The CRTC commander's staff consists of five principle deputies for Administration and Services, Engineering, Environmental, Operations and Resources.

The installation now employs 87 military and 70 permanent civilian state employees. The annual economic impact of the base and its users is estimated at $25 million including payroll, construction, supplies, equipment and contracts. The majority of the impact is in construction which benefits several counties and local communities.

Volk Field is entirely owned by the ANG. It consists of 2,336 acres adjacent to Interstate Highway 90/94, north of the Village of Camp Douglas. The single runway is oriented 09/27 and is 150 feet wide and 9,000 feet long with 1,000 foot overruns. The runway can accommodate all military aircraft and has both precision and non-precision navigational approaches along with a tower and radar approach control. There are 40 acres of aircraft parking available.

The air traffic control complex provides both visual and instrument flight rule services. The approach control services extend from Volk Field to five (5) civilian airports in the area. The new radar approach control facility, when completed, will provide increased area services. Due to Volk Fields extensive flying activities, the permanent air traffic control staff is augmented by controllers and maintenance personnel from throughout the Air National Guard, through the Sentre Vigilance program.

Existing facilities can accommodate 1200 personnel for training. The facilities for the unit in training include vehicle maintenance, fire department, squadron operations, aircraft maintenance, fuels, command post, a clinic, security control and armory, disaster control center and numerous hangars. There are two dining halls, small arms range, theater, chapel, base exchange, laundry, and an all ranks club. Several recreational areas exist and the Wisconsin National Guard Museum is also located on the base, as well as an array of static display aircraft.

The origin of Volk Field 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 training. In 1889, the State Legislature authorized the purchase of 600 acres for a permanent camp and rifle range for the Wisconsin National Guard. By 1903, it had expanded to over 800 acres. It was an early model training camp and often visited by officials from other states. At the outbreak of World War I, the 32nd "Red Arrow" Division was expanded to 16,000 men and formed into a second brigade at the site. The site was named Camp Williams in 1927, in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Williams, who was the Chief Quartermaster of the post from 1917 until his death in 1926.

In 1935, construction of the first hard surface runways began. During World War II, the airfield was complete with lights and numerous administrative and support facilities. The Department of Defense reorganization in 1947 formed the Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard (ARNG, ANG). The 32nd Division then moved its training to Fort McCoy and the Wisconsin ANG began annual training at Camp Williams. In 1949, the Duluth, Minnesota, 148th Fighter Interceptor Squadron began using the airfield for its training.

During the Korean War and the 1950s, units training at the field were from Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, New York, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin. In 1954, the Federal Government leased the field from the state of Wisconsin for use as a Permanent Field Training Site (PFTS). That same year the Hardwood Air-to-Ground Gunnery Range opened near Finley, Wisconsin. The CRTC manages Hardwood Range which comprises 7,929 acres, along with 11,200 square miles of special use airspace. The first jet aircraft landed on the airfield in 1955. In honor of First Lieutenant Jerome A. Volk, the first Wisconsin ANG pilot to be killed in the Korean War, the Wisconsin State Legislature renamed the PFTS to Volk Field in 1957.

During the 1960s, Volk Field was activated as a Dispersed Operating Base for the Active Duty Air Defense Mission from Duluth, Minnesota, with over 200 personnel. In 1970, the unit was reassigned as Detachment 1, 87 Fighter Interceptor Squadron, K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base and subsequently deactivated in 1974. The base was then exclusively controlled by the Air National Guard.

In the 1980s, Volk Field ANGB began year-round operations for training the Wisconsin ANG, along with all services and some foreign countries. Joint tactical training developed in 1983, when the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs hosted the Sentry Independence Composite Force Training exercises. New equipment and missions, such as the Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation System and Air Base Operability program, were added at the end of the decade.

On June 13, 1990, the site was designated the "ANG Combat Readiness Training Center" with authorizations for seven officers and 55 enlisted personnel. Volk Field played an important role during Desert Shield/Storm as an Aerial Port of Embarkation (APOE) supporting Army deployments to the Gulf War. It supported the transition of 137 strategic and civilian airlift aircraft, including C-5, C-141, B-747, DC-10, L-1011 and DC-8. The results were the movement of 15,471 passengers, 3,866 tons of cargo and the upload of 2,410,795 pounds of fuel. Several Air Force tests were conducted at Volk Field during this period to include the Airfield Mobile Lighting System and the Runway Marker System which were deployed in the war. A five year Department of Defense test of Camouflage, Concealment and Deception, was hosted by the CRTC immediately following the Desert Storm conflict.

Ready Norseman replaced the Sentry Independence exercises and provided more opportunities for aircrews to practice dissimilar aircraft combat tactics and increase their readiness skills. Exercises such as these are expected to prepare the newly formed Aerial Expeditionary Forces (AEF) as they enter their "spin up" phases.

Modernization of Volk Field facilities and equipment continues. An $8 million ramp project was completed in 1993 and a new Radar Approach Control facility was opened in 1995. Fire training and hot pit refueling facilities were added in 1998 and a $10 million runway reconstruction is being accomplished in 1999. Other projects being proposed include Hardwood Range expansion, new dormitories, motor vehicle maintenance, supply warehouse, and an assembly hall.

In 1995, the Wisconsin Military Academy (WMA) moved from Camp Williams to Fort McCoy. Through cooperation with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), a Youth Leadership Training Center was established on a portion of the transferred WMA facilities.

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