BELLEFONTAINE – Veterans from all over the United States attended the 14th reunion of the 664th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron along with radar veterans from all military branches. The reunion was held June 24-26 at the former Bellefontaine Air Force Radar Station, located at Ohio Hi-Point Career Center on Campbell Hill. The station was one of 28 built as part of a radar network. The network operated from 1951 to 1969.
The station functioned as Ground Control Intercept (GCI), whose purpose was to guide interception aircraft toward unidentified intruders seen on radar scopes. The 664th closed Sept. 19, 1961, due to perceived low threats of air attack and budget restrictions.
Ohio Hi-Point uses the former Air Force buildings for offices and classrooms, but to some it will always be considered the home of the 664th.
The men and women who served on the radar squadrons and their spouses reunited to see old friends, make new ones and to connect with others who understand the feelings and memories of those days.
“The event helps to preserve the legacy and the history of the 664th,” said Event Chair Robert Walker.
The weekend started with registration, snacks and social time in the afternoon. Attendees could look at the 664th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron Historical Archives. They had a catered meal with a ceremony afterward with speaker Col. Rick T. Johns, who commands the 88th Communications Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.
Tours were available of the Fallout/Tornado Shelter and the future home of the National Air Defense Radar Museum. Throughout the weekend there were raffles, door prizes, bingo and a silent auction. A video was shown of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park, Angel Fire, New Mexico. Popcorn, movie, music and dancing were enjoyed and they ended Sunday with breakfast and social time at the American Legion Post on Colton Avenue in Bellefontaine.
The events were planned by the Reunion Committee members and trustees. Assisting were the National Air Defense Radar Museum, the U.S. Air Force Radar Station Veterans World Wide Group, volunteers and descendants.
Tami Wenger is a regular contributor to this newspaper.