On December 8, 1993, twenty people, including the National President of the Yankee Air Force and the membership chairman participated in the first formal meeting. A motion was passed to petition the National Headquarters for approval of a Yankee Air Force Division in Oscoda.
Those who paid their dues within a week of that meeting, were Founders and those who paid by December 1994, were Charter members. Many of the original members were pilots at the recently closed Wurtsmith Air Force Base and all the members had an interest an aviation and preserving the history of Wurtsmith Air Force Base. John Pegg was elected as the first Chairman and the search to find a location that provided runway access, space for the museum building, a library, and room for expansion began.
They rented an old Fighter hangar on base (the current home of the gift shop and static exhibits), began submitting requests for planes and first scheduled the first Fly-in for July 30 & 31, 1994, to coincide with Oscoda River Days.
The first plane in the museum’s collection, which is still at the museum, was a damaged L-19, retrieved from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Work was also begun on a CG4 “WACO” combat glider, which is also still in the museum. A model aircraft club was started. There were dinners, dances, raffles, and rummage sales held and members were involved in community events.
By Dec. 1994 the Wurtsmith Division of the Yankee Air Force had 112 members.
(1950’s – 1990’s)
The 379th Bomb Wing moved to Wurtsmith Air Force Base in June of 1961. Assuming the equipment, personnel and aircraft of the 4026th Strategic wing as it was disbanded. The 379th Bomb Wing immediately continued the 4026th Strategic Wing operations and training. During the Pacific conflicts personnel and the KC-135 Stratotankers were deployed to forward bases in the Pacific to support land operations. However, the B-52H aircraft maintained nuclear alert at Wurtsmith Air Force Base. In 1977 the 379th Bomb Wing replaced the B-52H fleet to B-52G aircraft. During the Gulf War B-52s from Wurtsmith Air Force Base were flown out of Prince Abdullah AB in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. These mission were into Iraq. These planes arrived at dawn on the first day of the Gulf War. One crew flew 29 mission out of Jeddah, setting the record for most missions flew by a bomber crew in theater. The 379th flew with a “Triangle K” tail flash to continue the tradition from their World War II counterparts. The 379th Bomb Wing was disbanded on June 30th 1993.
This section will be updated shortly
* * * THIS SECTION IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION (sept 2019) * * *
Before the Base closure in 1993, the majority of Wurtsmith’s planes were transferred to AMARG, Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson Az.
a.k.a ‘the BoneYard.
After nearly 30 years, a dozen WAFB B-52s are still in the desert, being used for parts to support the flying B-52s.
Once these airframes are no longer able to provide parts, they will be shredded and sold for scrap.
The images below are of the Boneyard and the B-52s with blue markers are from Wurtsmith.
Click on a marker to learn more.