Bong AFB, WI
Richard Bong AFB near Burlington in Kenosha County Wisconsin was a new northern tier Air Force base, initiated in 1955 to be an ADC fighter-interceptor base. The Air Force chose the location to defend Chicago and Milwaukee from Soviet bombers. Before the base could be built, the technology of mass destruction changed and these interceptor aircraft would be no match for the ICBM's the Russians would lob at American cities.
The base was named after Richard Ira Bong, who was born in Superior Wisconsin in 1920. Prior to WWII he joined the Army Air Corp, and flying P-38's in New Guinea shot down 40 enemy aircraft becoming the leading American Ace of all times. He flew P-38 Lightnings in the Southwest Pacific and received the Medal of Honor in recognition of his courage and accomplishments. In the air over Hollandia on April 12, 1944, he scored his 26th and 27th victories to break the previous record of 26 set by Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker in WWI. Bong scored 28 air-to-air victories. When he returned to the Pacific for his second tour, he was assigned as a gunnery instructor. He voluntarily flew numerous combat missions and in "self defense" scored 12 more victories to bring his total to 40, making him the highest scoring ace in American history. He lost his life in the crash of a P-80 jet aircraft in August 1945 at Burbank, California.
Although the base was never finished, there is an extensive below ground drainage system and at least one old airstrip. The Federal government turned the land back to the state of Wisconsin, which redeveloped the facility into the Bong Recreational Area, a 4,515-acre tract that offers picnicking, camping, fishing, boating and swimming. Bong is an unimproved area, with many 'non-traditional' activities, like dog sled trials, horse back riding, a few tracks for dirt bikes, cross-country ski, snowmobile, motorcycle and hunt a nice RC airplane field, and rockets.
Wisconsin Rustic Road 43 in Racine and Kenosha Counties consists of County Highway B from the intersection of WIS 142 in Kenosha County to its intersection with WIS 11 in Racine County. Passing through open agricultural land with few residences, this route provides direct access to the Bong Recreational Area. The Rustic Roads System in Wisconsin was created by the 1973 State Legislature in an effort to help citizens and local units of government preserve what remains of Wisconsin's scenic, lightly traveled country roads for the leisurely enjoyment of bikers, hikers and motorists. Unique brown and yellow signs mark the routes of all officially-designated Rustic Roads. These routes provide bikers, hikers, and motorists with an opportunity to leisurely travel through some of Wisconsin's scenic countryside.
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