The base was first established as K.I. Sawyer County Airport in 1949, as Marquette County's municipal airport. It was named in honor of Kenneth Ingalls Sawyer, a former County Highway Department employee.
On January 24, 1955, the U.S. Government signed a 99-year lease establishing K.I. Sawyer AFB at the site of the County Airport and agreed to joint use. However, the site was transferred to total Air Force control in 1956 and non-military operations ended in 1957.
In January 1956, K.I. Sawyer AFB became the home of the 473rd Fighter Group, a unit of the Eastern Air Defense Command. But in 1959, the 473rd FG became the 56th Fighter Group and was host for the Sault Ste. Marie Air Defense Sector and the 4042nd Strategic Wing, a Strategic Air Command unit. In February 1963, the 4042nd SW was discontinued and the 410th Bombardment Wing or 410th Bomb Wing was activated.
In 1963, the Wing began conducting flying operations with the B-52H Stratofortress and the KC- 135 Stratotanker. With the disestablishment of SAC, the base came under control of the Air Combat Command in June 1992.
In 1993 the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission announced K.I. Sawyer was on the closure list, and in September 1995, K.I. Sawyer AFB officially closed.
Prior to 2010, environmental actions were conducted on a site-by-site, contract-by-contract basis, and occurred as needed. Since the Air Force moved to performance-based remediation contracts, one contractor has been responsible for remediating the land in and around the former K.I. Sawyer AFB.
The former K.I. Sawyer AFB, (now referred to as “Sawyer” by the community) is located in Marquette County in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan, 440 miles northwest of Detroit. The former base is comprised of 4,923 acres. Sands Township has 62.4 percent of the base within its jurisdiction, with Forsyth Township having 30.6 percent, and West Branch Township seven percent. The former base is located about three miles east of the community of Gwinn, and 13 miles south of the city of Marquette.
Telkite Technology Park now exists at the former KI Sawyer AFB. Comprised of 5,200 acres, the area is known as a high-tech, aviation and commercial development. Located within the park is Sawyer International Airport, boasting the longest single runway in Michigan at 12,300 feet.
K I Sawyer RAB Meeting
When: Info coming soon
Where: Info coming soon
K.I. Sawyer Document Archive
Local Redevelopment Authority
Sawyer International Airport and Business Center
125 G Ave
Gwinn, MI 49841
Phone: (906) 346-3308