K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum planes vandalized

The display of retired aircraft give visitors an intimate view into the former base’s rich history.
This is a recording of the TV6 Early News.
Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT
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K.I. Sawyer, Mich. (WLUC) - The K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum seeks residential involvement as well as financial support to help in their mission to not only preserve, but protect vital pieces of local military history.

They said aircraft on the outdoor display field have been the target of vandalism in recent weeks.

The B-52 which served in the Vietnam War -- scrapes found lined across its fuselage.

And the canopies for the F-101 and F-111 fighter jets, the former in which longtime Air Museum worker Lani Duquette had served as crew chief many years ago -- shattered. Air Museum President Dan Kill said costs estimate out to $2500 to replace each canopy.

“The F-101...it’s going to be very expensive and very difficult to find a canopy to replace it. And we might have to manufacture one separately because there might not be canopies available for a plane like this,” he said.

The aircraft are on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. And the K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum, composed of volunteers dedicated to preserving the former base’s history, have the responsibility to maintain care of the planes. Anything less, and these long-standing local relics can be taken away. It’ll require both the museum and the public’s efforts to keep this history intact.

“We have to take care of these aircraft. And I just want the community to know we need eyes on these aircraft because we’re very fortunate here. We don’t have a fence around these airplanes. So they’re totally accessible to the public and that’s the way we want to keep it,” Kill said.

The Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office has joined in the effort to add more police presence in the area via funding. Proceeds to the K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum will assist in aircraft repair, routine maintenance and improving surveillance around the display areas. To donate, please visit their website here.

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