A trip to the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) isn’t complete without a visit to a cold war site. The UP, one of the last lines of defense from the Canadians (just kidding), is a smorgasbord of old SAC bases, radar sites and a one-time BOMARC sites. This June, our travels took us past the old Kincheloe (once Kinross) AFB and a one-time radar site in Sault Ste. Marie.
The old Strategic Air Command/Air Defense base is right off of I-75 at Exit 378. Named after Iven Kincheloe in 1959, today the base is a mix of Chippewa County International Airport, prison, residences and businesses. Driving in, it appears that the old base main entrance sign is replaced with a smattering of ads for local businesses. In the past, the terminal for the public airport was the old alert building for SAC B-52 crews. Continuing around the airport, there are old military style buildings everywhere and we even drove past a flagpole and courtyard which may have been for the headquarters.
Many of the large SAC hangars still exist with manufacturers now in their place. You can drive on the apron between the row of hangars and the one-time ramp also has the old lighting in place. Too bad the ADC alert hangars aren’t around more.
No one gave us any issues for driving around and taking photos. I’d just advise staying away from the prison and from what you can tell is private property.
On the way in is the Kinross Historical Society, which advertises a military museum. We never make it in time to get in, but it might be a good stop if you’re in the area.
Watch for part 2 with a visit to the radar squadron site.
Kincheloe Naming Ceremony, 1959