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Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center
alpena crtc base history
Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC), formerly named Phelps Collins, began its recorded history in the early 1900's. Before that time, Indians and local residents picked blueberries in the flat area known as the "Seven Mile Plains". With the onset of air travel, area developers saw the potential for a landing strip and plans began for Michigan's first state owned airport. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) cleared and prepared the site for aircraft use. In 1931, Governor William M. Brucker accepted the site during the dedication ceremony. The airport was named after Phelps Collins, a WWI ace from the Alpena area, who was killed in action while serving in the French Escadrille.
The first military to use of the site was the 1st Pursuit Group from Selfridge Airfield; and they housed 500 personnel at the Alpena County Fairgrounds. This marked the beginning of the site as a training base.
In preparation for WWII, 400-500 Selfridge men trained at Phelps Collins with a compliment of 35 Seversky P-35's The next year they brought P-40 Warhawks and the first P-38's Lockheed Lightning fighters.
WWI and WWII highlighted the need for training sites; and resulted in two major construction projects, the first in the 1940's for $5M and second in the 1950's for $2.5M. The facility could now house and feed 2,500 personnel. The Army Air Corps was the primary user of the site until the late 1940's when the Air National Guard (ANG) took it over. Several improvements were made and the facility was instated as an ANG Permanent Field Training Site (PFTS). In the early 60's, a tower and new hangers were built. During that period, the Air Defense Command Detachment from Wurtsmith AFB, Oscoda Michigan, had 60 persons permanently stationed in Alpena until 1972 at which time their unit was deactivated. The Grayling Air to Ground Range became part of the base property around the same time.
In 1991, the base was renamed Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, to align the name with the base mission of "combat training".
The first seven military personnel transferred from the Grayling Army Air Field in 1953. With the addition of numerous missions through the years, the employee number has grown to over 200 combined military and civilian personnel.
ANG units from all over the United States come annually to train. In addition to Air National Guardsman, other users of the site include Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines.
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history of alpena
Alpena Michigan is located on Lake Huron's northwestern coastline at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River. This scenic coastal town has retained much of its architectural tradition from the turn of the century, with many well-preserved houses and buildings - especially in the "old town" section just north of the Thunder Bay River.
Alpena was platted in 1856 by the name of Fremont. After some research by the 'founding fathers' it was discovered that Michigan already boasted a town named Fremont. At the recommendation of Henry R. Schoolcraft, a Michigan Statesman, Fremont was renamed Alpena. The name, Indian for partridge, was chosen because of the many fowl in the area. Alpena Michigan was eventually incorporated in 1871.
Besides tourism, Alpena's economy is supported by cement production, paper processing, and automotive/machine products manufacturing. It's downtown area is a great shopping location, situated conveniently next door to the marina.
ANG: A Short Story
The Air National Guard as we know it today -- a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force -- was a product of the politics of postwar planning and interservice rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard.
History of the ANG