(Senate - September 11, 2000)

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[Page S8340]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS



 Mr. ABRAHAM. Mr. President, from 1950-80, a large part of the 
Empire, Michigan community revolved around its Air Force Base, and the 
men and women who not only worked there, but also lived and raised 
families together in the surrounding community. To commemorate the 50th 
Anniversary of the opening of the base, as well as the relationships 
that developed between the families, several former Air Force Airmen 
have coordinated a reunion for everyone who served during the 30 years 
the facility was open. The event will occur in Traverse City from 
September 20-23, and I rise today to recognize the Empire Air Force 
Station Reunion 2000.
  Empire Air Force 752 Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron opened in 
1950, having become necessary as an outgrowth of the Cold War. The 
primary mission of the base was to protect nearby metropolitan areas, 
including Detroit and Chicago, from enemy bombers, as well as to 
provide assistance to commercial aviation.
  When the station opened, it was a completely manual operation and 
thus had over 300 personnel assigned. The first personnel assigned to 
the base were housed in the Village of Empire. Eventually, in 1956, 
nine family housing units were completed, and soon thereafter 
servicemen and their families moved into these units.
  As the Air Force Base expanded in size, so too did the residential 
area. Between 1960-62, recreational facilities, including a two-lane 
bowling center, two recreation courts and a softball field, were 
completed. These did not serve just to provide the feel of a community, 
they truly created a community, providing children with places to play 
together and families with places to congregate with one another.
  In 1965, the Federal Aviation Administration assumed the maintenance 
of much of the radar equipment, and with the steady advancement of 
technology, the FAA ultimately took control of the Air Force Station in 
1980. During the many years that the FAA and the Air Force shared the 
station, the relations between the two groups were congenial, which was 
a tribute to both parties.
  The reunion includes many outstanding events. There is a banquet 
Friday evening at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City, as well as a 
hospitality suite at the hotel that will be open from noon on 
Wednesday, September 20th until noon on Saturday, September 23rd. There 
is also an open house at the Air Force Base on Saturday, hosted by the 
  Mr. President, as I extend greetings to all those gathered for the 
Empire Air Force Reunion, I also congratulate Mr. Don Ostendorf and Mr. 
Lowell Woodworth, the Reunion Coordinators, on the job they have done 
putting this reunion together. Their hard work and dedication have 
surely paid off. On behalf of the entire United States, I hope that 
everyone enjoys a wonderful four days, and I welcome all those 
individuals who have left the Wolverine State back home.