Who Remembers The Chandler Minnesota Air Force Base?
See that Air Force plane in that picture? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that probably didn't took off or landed at the Chandler Air Force Base.
Oh, and by the way, the Chandler Air Force Base wasn't actually an Air Force Base.
But as a kid, it was the Chandler Air Force Base. Whew! Let me try and explain.
When I was a kid growing up on a little farm by Leota, Minnesota, Chandler was a little town just five or six or seven miles away. I had uncles and aunts and cousins that live over there, near Chandler. And also in those long ago days, there was an...Air Base...just outside of Chandler.
So imagine my surprise when the internet informed me all these years later that technically it was not an Air Force Base. Nope, it was an Air Force Station. It was the Chandler Air Force Station.
It was in 1951 that Air Defense Command selected the site as one of twenty-eight radar stations. And while I thought it must have had something to do with World War II, since it opened in '51, it actually was prompted by the start of the Korean War.
And the operative word was "radar". So it wasn't an Air Force Base, at least the kind like, say, Lackland or Whiteman where my brother was stationed in the late 60s and early 70s. Chandler Air Force Station was small. According to what I read. Its primary role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes. It gets into a lot more details and you can read about it here.
For me? It was an Air Force Base. I remember when we'd play Chandler in Little League baseball, they'd have a couple kids whose father (maybe mother) worked at the "Air Base". How many people worked there? I don't know, but suffice to say not bunches and bunches. Even driving by, sitting in the back seat of that '59 Impala my folks had, I could see there weren't many buildings. And it was in 1969 that the government said...enough.
Apparently, a few folks hung around for a year to shut things down for good, but the 787th Radar Squadron was deactivated on September 30, 1969. And so the Chandler Air Force Base was no more.
Oops. I mean the Chandler Air Force Station.
But the memories? Yes, sir, they're alive and well.