Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Veterans of the former 664th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron and local dignitaries will gather at the entrance of the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, 2280 State Route 540, at 9:30 a.m. Monday for the dedication of a marker commemorating the base's 18 years of service to national security.

Base veterans commissioned the sign at their own expense to keep the memory of the base alive and to honor those who served here and dedicated a part of their life in service to their country, as the marker reads.

This generation doesn't really know that the base was here or what (it) did, said veteran Larry Lewis, who spearheaded the acquisition.

The radar towers of the former 664th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron base are pictured at the peak of Campbell Hill.

Personnel of the former 664th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron base, located on the current site of the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, line up in front of barracks.

(The base) should be remembered for generations to come.

For nearly two decades, Campbell Hill was home to the radar station and some 1,700 servicemen and servicewomen and civilian employees who passed through its gates from 1951 to 1969.

As Ohio's highest point, Campbell Hill was chosen by the federal government to be part of the North American Air Defense Command during the Cold War era.

An Ohio historical marker at the peak of Campbell Hill relates how base military and civilian operators used sophisticated radar and computer equipment to locate and identify aircraft as friendly or suspicious and then relayed their information to a central base in Michigan.

The base was not only a great asset to national security, but a source of pride and income for the local community.

(The base) put a lot of money in this town, related Mr. Lewis.

After the base closed in 1969, many staffers chose to stay and make Bellefontaine and Logan County their permanent homes and some continue to reside here.

Base veterans reunite annually at the center and they sponsor a scholarship program at the career center.

Those efforts underscore another sentiment on the marker:

Long live the memory of those who served.


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