K.I. Sawyer AFB crash reunion

A plane crash may not be the sort of event that might often be marked with a reunion, but the K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum played host to a unique reunion concerning a crash.

On December 6th, 1988, a B-52 bomber exploded and crashed at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base during a landing practice exercise.

No one was killed and no one on the ground was hurt, but all eight crew members were injured, some of them severely.

“Three of the pilots — the co-pilot, the aircraft commander and myself — were medically retired from the military due to back injuries,” crew member and Felch resident Will Kroeger said. “I assumed, since I was in the hospital for a long time, that everybody knew my injuries and I knew everybody else’s, but we didn’t know, really, the extent of all our injuries.”

Until this reunion, the eight of them hadn’t been in the same place at the same time since the crash.

They brought their families to visit their old crewmates and other people in the Marquette County area.

“My wife and I got married here — in Ishpeming, actually — so we lived here seven years,” crew member and Medford, Oregon resident Anthony ‘Darrell’ Phillips said. “Probably I was here longer than anybody else that was on the crew. We had our first son here, so we have a lot of local friends as well, so it was good to come back.”

The Sawyer Heritage Air Museum also hosted former members of the 410th Security Police Squadron and their families over the weekend.