The Main Guard

The Main Guard

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The Main Guard was built in 1675 by the 1st Duke of Ormond, James Butler, as a courthouse in Clonmel, County Tipperary.

History of The Main Guard

In the 17th century, County Tipperary operated as a palatinate: following the Siege of Clonmel in 1650, James Butler, Duke of Ormonde, ordered the building of a new courthouse. This was completed in 1675, and also contained private apartments used for entertaining – King James II visited Clonmel in 1689 and stayed in them. The architecture is believed to have been based on designs by Sir Christopher Wren. The building also operated as a ‘tholsel’, a place for gathering tolls and taxes for the surrounding area.

In 1715, the Palatinate jurisdiction ended and the Clonmel Assizes were held in the building. Notably, Father Nicholas Sheehy was tried here in 1766: an anti-Penal Laws agitator, he was hanged, drawn and quartered after being found guilty of being an accessory to murder. The Penal Laws disenfranchised and persecuted Catholics in Ireland – many consider Sheehy’s death sentence to have been an act of judicial murder.

In 1810, the ground floor loggia was converted into shops. More recently, in the 1990s, the building was taken over by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the building was heavily restored to be more in line with its original form.

The Main Guard today

The Main Guard is run by the OPW still: entrance is free and the interior is primarily an exhibition and event space. The exhibitions can be pretty sparse, but the interior is lovely and really gives a feel for the building’s original architecture.

Getting to The Main Guard

The Main Guard is on Sarsfield Street, in the heart of the town of Clonmel. Clonmel is on the N24, straddling the border between County Tipperary and County Waterford: there’s plenty of parking in and around town. Buses from Waterford (no. 55), Dublin (no. 717), and Cork (no. 245) will get you there: there are also services connecting from smaller nearby towns and villages.

The SS

Founded in 1925, the “Schutzstaffel,” German for “Protective Echelon,” initially served as Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler’s (1889-1945) personal bodyguards, and later became one of the most powerful and feared organizations in all of Nazi Germany. Heinrich Himmler (1900-45), a fervent anti-Semite like Hitler, became head of the Schutzstaffel, or SS, in 1929 and expanded the group’s role and size. Recruits, who had to prove none of their ancestors were Jewish, received military training and were also taught they were the elite not only of the Nazi Party but of all humankind. By the start of World War II (1939-45), the SS had more than 250,000 members and multiple subdivisions, engaged in activities ranging from intelligence operations to running Nazi concentration camps. At the postwar Nuremberg trials, the SS was deemed a criminal organization for its direct involvement in war crimes.


It is possible to walk the entire circuit of the town fortifications you may find it useful to follow a route clockwise from Meg&rsquos Mount or, following a visit to Berwick Barracks, from the Windmill Bastion. The walls of the Elizabethan ramparts, faced in grey limestone, stand about 6 metres (20 feet) high. Above the walls the rampart earthwork rises a further 5 metres (16 feet).

Outside there was a broad, deep ditch, or moat, that is now dry. On the other side there was originally a high retaining wall similar to that of the rampart.

Proceeding from Meg&rsquos Mount, notable elements of these fortifications include Cumberland Bastion, which is one of the earliest and best-preserved bastions dating largely from Elizabethan times (though the earthworks above it were constructed in 1639&ndash53) Brass Bastion, defending the north-east corner of the town Windmill Bastion, a large regular bastion similar to Cumberland and the Powder Magazine, a gunpowder store surrounded by its own walled enclosure and built in 1749&ndash50.

From King&rsquos Mount to Meg&rsquos Mount, the Elizabethan ramparts were never completed and instead the medieval walls and towers were repaired and modernised.

Against the southern rampart is the Main Guard, a Georgian guardhouse that used to stand in Marygate but was moved to its present site in 1815. Now containing an exhibition on the history of Berwick, it once had a soldiers&rsquo room, a slightly more comfortable officers&rsquo room, and a prison cell for the detention of drunken soldiers, deserters, petty criminals and vagrants.

Berwick Castle and Lord&rsquos Mount

From Meg&rsquos Mount the riverside path leads to the site of Berwick Castle. First recorded in 1160, it was completely rebuilt by Edward I with a strong circuit of walls and an array of impressive buildings, including royal apartments, a great hall and a chapel.

The northern part of the medieval walls can be seen beside the eastern half of Northumberland Avenue. The Bell Tower is conspicuous by its height among the medieval ramparts here. This four-storey octagonal structure was built in 1577 as a watchtower and bell tower, on the foundations of a medieval building.

Lord&rsquos Mount, a great artillery fortification with walls nearly 6m (20ft) thick, was built at the north-east angle of the medieval defences. King Henry VIII, himself a student of fortification, took a personal interest in the drawing up of the plans of these defences (though unfortunately they have been lost).

The lower floor survives, with six casemates for long swivel guns and living accommodation, including a kitchen with well and oven and a latrine. An upper floor containing the captain&rsquos apartments and the crowning parapet was demolished when the Elizabethan defences were begun.

The Main Guard - History

In 1899 George L. Heins replaced Issac G. Perry as state architect he held the office until 1907. Heins designed armories in the castellated/Richardsonian Romanesque style. During his tenure he designed numerous armories, but to date, seven are known to survive. Heins’ armories incorporate features of castle-like fortresses, including: soaring towers, crenellated parapets, massive sally ports, and iron portcullises. Hein’s armories however, tend to reflect a more modern and stylized interpretation of medieval forms and details.

The Main Street Armory is by far the largest and grandest armory designed by Heins and is among the most sophisticated early 20th century armories in upstate New York. Reflecting Rochester’s prominent position in the state at the turn of the century, the East Main Street Armory is worthy of comparison to some of New York’s finest pre-World War II armories.

The Main Street Armory, built in 1905 as headquarters for western New York’s 3rd Battalion, is also historically significant for its association with American military history. The volunteer militia (ie: the National Guard) has been and to an extent still is the backbone of the American military system since the colonial era. The Main Street Armory, like virtually all other National Guard armories, remains a prominent visual reminder and monument of the pivotal role played by the volunteer militia in American military history.

The Main Street Armory was commissioned by the state at the turn of the century and constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers. A castle was chosen to represent the Main Street Armory to historically commemorate the original design used by the Corps. Soldiers on their way overseas to fight in World War I and World War II passed through the armory for final training and processing. The East Main Street Armory was used by various divisions of the National Guard and other reserve forces in the Rochester area over the years. The last personnel to inhabit the armory were personnel from the 209th battalion and the 2nd division of the 174th Infantry Battalion of the National Guard. In 1990 the military decided that renovations to the building would be too costly and built another armory in Scottsville to continue military operations.

In the early 20th century, the 35,000-square-foot main arena (designed originally for drill exercises) hosted circuses, concerts, balls, and auto shows. It was the home arena for the Rochester Iroquois indoor lacrosse team in the 1930s. The Iroquois’ most famous player was Jay Silverheels who played Tonto in the Lone Ranger television series from 1949-57. Silverheels played lacrosse under his real name of Harry (Harold) Smith.

The building was also the home of the Rochester Centrals, the city’s first professional basketball team from 1925-31. The Centrals played in the American Basketball League for six seasons. The ABL was the country’s first professional basketball league. In addition to professional basketball the Armory also hosted many high school games and served as the home court for Rochester East High School. Two future National Basketball Association players came out of East High School in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Walter Dukes (Seton Hall, Detroit Pistons) and Al Butler (Niagara University, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics) played their home games for East High at the Armory.

When the Rochester Community War Memorial Arena (now the Blue Cross Arena) opened in 1955 most of the Armory’s signature events shifted venues. The Damascus Temple Shrine Circus left after their 1960 performance. The Main Street Armory remained for mostly military use up until 1990.

USCGC Mackinaw ’s Importance to U.S. Military

WLBB-30’s predecessor, WAGB-83, was not able to travel out of the Great Lakes region. It is believed by many people that this is because the ship was too wide to travel through the channels and locks to get out into the Atlantic Ocean. The real reason that the WAGB 83 could not travel to the ocean is because it contained raw water cooling piping (1). These pipes will erode in salt water and the ship could be dead in the water were it to be exposed to salt water for an extended period of time. The new Mackinaw uses different cooling piping that can withstand use in salt water opening up the possibilities for the ship were it needed outside the Great Lakes. There are two very important icebreaking operations in the Great Lakes region that WLBB-30 is involved in. The first operation is called Operation Taconite. Operation Taconite is the largest domestic icebreaking operation in the U.S. Shipping offers the only effective means of transporting vast amount of iron ore to steel mills in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. The iron ore is used to make steel that is used by the U.S. military in the production of military technology. The Mackinaw is utilized to ensure the successful transport of this precious cargo in the harsh winters of the Great Lakes (4). The second operation is known as Operation Coal Shovel. Operation Coal Shovel is domestic icebreaking in the southern part of Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair and Detroit river systems. The Mackinaw serves Operation Coal Shovel by preventing ice jams in vital economic waterways. This helps make a continuous flow of maritime commerce in the Great Lakes region which can be vital for the U.S. military (3).

After the decommissioning of the first Mackinaw , it became vital to the military and economy of the United States to provide icebreaking in the Great Lakes region. The old Mackinaw was outdated and not applicable to the modern services that were needed in the Great Lakes. The United States Coast Guard then started the building of a new titan of icebreaking in the Great Lakes. The new ship had to be built to serve multiple functions other than ice breaking including aids to navigation, law enforcement, search and rescue, and environmental response. The new ship named the USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB-30) utilized new technology to become a unique ice breaker whose functions and operation are not matched by any previous ship in the fleet. The ship has continued to keep the extremely important flow of materials and commerce open in the Great Lakes. It has become vitally important to our military in order to keep materials that are needed for the construction of military goods. The Mackinaw (WLBB-30) is set in military history as one of the most innovative and vital resources in the Great Lakes region.

List of United States Coast Guard stations

This article contains a list of United States Coast Guard stations in the United States within the United States Coast Guard's nine districts. There are currently many stations located throughout the country along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Ocean and Great Lakes. Although many of the stations have been located on shore, floating stations have been based on the Ohio River [1] and Dorchester Bay. [2]

Many of the stations listed date from the 1800s, during the existence of the United States Life-Saving Service. Development of stations were started with the 1848 signing of the Newell Act. This act allowed Congress to appropriate $10,000 to established unmanned life-saving stations along the New Jersey coast south of New York Harbor and to provide "surf boat, rockets, carronades and other necessary apparatus for the better preservation of life and property from shipwreck . ." During that same year, the Massachusetts Humane Society received funds from Congress for life-saving stations on the Massachusetts coastline. Over the next six years, further stations were built, although they were loosely managed. [3]

The advent of air stations beginning in 1920 meant that some stations would become obsolete, as air coverage and improved technology were better able to supplement the rescue of mariners in remote regions. With early air stations using aircraft that could land on water, boat and air stations could work together to make sure that maximum help could be provided in time of need. [4]


Until 1978, the national color guard championship occurred in the summer at the DCI Drum and Bugle Corps Championships or at National contests of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. In August 1977, at the DCI Championships in Denver the Guard championship was held in a basement, complete with structural columns around which the guards had to maneuver and the judges crane their necks. The lack of air conditioning was even less conducive to great performances. But, despite these obstacles, there were some excellent performances. In an extremely close contest the Holley Hawks, Holly, NY, became the national champions defeating St. Anthony’s Imperiales after the Imperiales received a penalty for “trailing” (a flag code violation). Little did many of the people in attendance know that color guard was about to change in a major way.

At that time, judges’ training, score sheets, show requirements, and even length of program times were different from one part of the country to the next. Stylistically the Eastern guards emphasized equipment, the Midwest drill, and the West dance. It was clear that the activity had outgrown the connections to summer contests so significantly outside of its “season.” It was time to create a place specifically for Winter Color Guard.

In the spring of 1977, a group of six people met in San Francisco to discuss the formation of an organization to govern the color guard activity from coast to coast. At that meeting, attendees Don Angelica, Shirlee Whitcomb, Stanley Knaub, Bryan Johnston, Marie Czapinski, and Linda Chambers introduced the name Winter Guard International (WGI).

The mission at that first meeting was clear: All parts of the country would be equally represented in the development and maintenance of the activity color guards would govern their own activity shows would take place within their season (winter) rules and regulations would be uniform and there would be a championship contest. This contest would rotate around the country, being held for two consecutive years in each of the three major regions, thereby offering equal opportunity to all guards. (Travel was very uncommon for guards at that time, so site rotation was very important.)

The next step, the organizational meeting, meeting was in October 1977 at the site of the DCI Rules Congress in Chicago. Many of the leading guard instructors at the time were also teaching drum corps and would already be in attendance. The meeting was an open forum for anyone to attend. Representatives of all of the established color guard circuits nationwide were invited 13 associations attended.

It was agreed that Lynn Lindstrom, the current Commander of the Midwest Color Guard Circuit, would head the newly formed organization for the first year. This became a post she subsequently held for twenty-four years. Four existing guard circuits each donated $250 to provide the initial $1,000 needed to operate that debut season.

WGI in its first year was run through the color guard circuits. Three individuals shared the responsibilities of the Chief Judge position, emphasizing the importance that there was equal representation of East, West, and Midwest. The first WGI Regional schedule featured an ambitious 14 contests to be held in venues from Los Angeles to Boston.

The First Scoring System

  • General Effect – 50 points (2 or 3 judges averaged scores)
  • Performance – 10 points
  • Showmanship – 15 points
  • Physical Motion/Equipment Coordination – 25 points
  • Marching and Maneuvering – 25 points
  • Carriage of Equipment – 25 points

Some of the most exciting days of the color guard activity took place in the late 70s and early 80s when East, Midwest, and West came together and competed in what was then called the WGI Olympics. At that time, the South had not yet developed to the level they enjoy today.

The first year there were two size floors because some regions used a 40 x 60 floor and others used a 50 x 70. Every guard carried the American Flag. Many guards carried wooden dowels with bicycle grips as simulated sabers. WGI had a volunteer staff of ten people, and executive director Lynn Lindstrom hand-sewed the championship flag herself.

The preliminary contest was held at Crown High School in the Chicago area, and was attended by 29 units competing in one class. The finals contest, held at Conant HS in Hoffman Estates, IL, featured the top 15 units from the prelims contest. At that time there were two judges on the floor who recorded errors in marching and in equipment carriage. The “tick system” determined the outcome precision and excellence were the cornerstones for success. Some infractions of rules carried a full point penalty and frequently determined the show’s outcome, and nobody debated that issue. Three GE judges shared responsibility for the subjective scoring of the effect of the program.

Shows were designed around specific requirements including Pass in Review, Standing Presentation of Colors, and Post and Retrieve. A fourth requirement, common in the East, was the Manual of Arms, but this was not included in the structure at that time. The starting line was always the perimeter of the court to the left of the audience and the finish line was to the right of the audience. Guards were required to start and conclude their shows over those two lines. A high point of each show was the 1 minute allocated to the Post and Retrieve of colors, when guards would take that opportunity to do a weapon feature some even ventured out on to the floor for a little “drill” moment. The Timing and Penalty judge, who watched for countless potential violations of the American Legion Competitive Flag Code and adherence to Field Manual 22-5, had huge impact.

Rifles weighed upwards to five pounds. Silks were often carried on six-foot poles with finial pieces, and the East dominated the world of saber technique, using genuine Spanish or German Sabers while the rest of the country played catch-up with simulated sabers. Equipment was clearly defined including the description of the rifle that had to have a bolt optional configurations were the site, strap, trigger and trigger guard. There was a specified size for flags, and none could be larger than the National Flag whose finial piece had to be either a spear or an eagle, and if it was an eagle, the bird had to be facing toward the door. It was a time of rules and regulations and figuring out who could get around the dozens of potential penalties.

Growth and Change

Competitive color guard grew tremendously in its early years. Along with that growth, an additional class was created to provide greater opportunity for the newer and younger guards. Dance came to color guard through the Seattle Imperials, and revolutionized the activity’s concept of “movement.”

From that point on, a meteoric rise occurred in the growth of this activity in artistic and competitive development. In progressive steps, the units voted to remove the requirements that had previously been the basis for how shows were constructed. The designers could no longer depend upon those components. Shows began to take on a different look, and creativity and originality became a focus for the growing WGI. Props, flats and sets found their way onto our stage, and creativity lead us to milestone discoveries. When the Board of Directors agreed that the American Flag would no longer be a required piece of equipment, the Flag Code and FM 22-5 became obsolete. From roots based in the military we grew to align our concepts with theater, dance and entertainment of a different nature.

By the time the young WGI held its third Championship March 29-30, 1980, in Cape Cod, there were 60 guards from 14 states and one Canadian province competing to determine which guards were the best in Open and A Class competition.

The creative change WGI experienced sparked interest and appeal in schools across America, and more and more scholastic groups formed. Two additional classes designed specifically for these new high school groups were created, expanding our classifications to 4 and dividing the competitive field to provide greater equity and opportunity. The growth continued and the number of groups increased again to a point where WGI recognized the need to accommodate this expansion and created a third level of competition. Guards could now compete in A, Open, or World classes for either independent guards or for scholastic guards. With the expansion to three classes, the scoring system was redesigned to serve the developmental progression of these groups, resulting in the three-tiered system that we use today.

WGI was now firmly committed to providing a quality educational experience for its performers. Its purpose and function was focused within an educational paradigm with steps to guide and reward groups from the most basic beginning place to the ultimate world class. It offered all levels of guards the opportunity to achieve the highest recognition, honoring champions in each of the six classes. But the growth was not over. The population within the A classes required yet another level of competition specifically for those very new, young groups who would not be traveling beyond the Regional level. The outgrowth of this was the Regional A Class.

In 1992 a new division joined the already thriving color guard division. Indoor Percussion competition began with six groups performing on stage in their debut season. The first Champion was Clovis West High School of California. Paralleling the growth of their sister division, percussion began growing at such a rate that their classification process paralleled that of winter guard and increased steadily to accommodate more and more percussion lines. By 1999 it offered eight classes of competition: Independent A, Open, World, Scholastic A, Open, World, and two Concert classes. Many referred to this division as “Percussion Theater.” WGI was rapidly becoming a full-service organization filling the competitive needs of both independent and scholastic units.

The educational standards set forth by the Board of Directors drew respect and trust from the units, and among other pageantry organizations WGI is acknowledged as the premier leader in education. Not only do the adjudicators commit to ongoing education unparalleled anywhere in the pageantry activities, but also the competitive experience is focused on the educational development of the performers.

At the urging of several members of the Board of Directors, and from other competing groups whose percussion and guard programs had flourished, WGI created the Friendship Cup competitions offering the same standards of competition and adjudication to marching bands. In January of 2003 the Marching Band division of WGI was discontinued.

In 2015, WGI launched a third division – WGI Winds.  This division includes competitions for any instrumentation of musicians in the same intimate competition setting.  Twenty groups competed in the first WGI Winds Championships held on the Sunday following the Percussion World Championships.  Classifications were set up to include Independent A, Open and World, as well as Scholastic A, Open and World right away.

WGI Today

Today, that loosely woven organization that began with a simple goal, a dream, a great deal of trust and 30 color guards, now serves hundreds of guards, percussion ensembles, and winds groups. Over 500 color guards, percussion ensembles, and winds groups compete on two separate weekends for their own World Championships. Approximately 200 volunteers manage the Championship Contests that serves the over 12,000 young performers. Over 135 trained adjudicators service the guards and percussion lines during the season. Some of the same volunteers from that very first contest can still be found working at the championship contest.

All three divisions have their own Advisory Boards that sets the artistic and competitive direction. They select their steering committee representatives and determine all rules and regulations. This keeps the artistic and competitive direction of the WGI in the hands of the units.

Spotlight to shine on decades-old daring rescue at sea

This may be the most amazing rescue of Americans at sea you've never heard of. So much went wrong that day that four Coast Guardsmen didn't know if they would make it back to shore, CBS News' Mark Albert reports.

The story about how they did make it is awe-inspiring.

The motorized lifeboat used in the daring rescue may have seen its fame recede long ago, but the passion the boat invokes in admirers, like Dick Ryder, has not.

"It's really a treasure for me," Ryder said. "It is amazing. This boat is a tough cookie."

Ryder, and many others, helped save the decommissioned Coast Guard vessel, known by its call sign 36-500, which was the scene of a triumph that nearly became a tragedy.

"I listened to the rescue on the Coast Guard radio," Ryder said.


On Feb. 18, 1952, the 500-foot, 10,000-ton tanker SS Pendleton -- its nine cargo tanks filled to the top with kerosene and heating oil -- had been ripped in two offshore.

The crew of 41 faced "imminent death."

"It was what we call here a nor'easter with waves that you can't even describe unless you see it," Mark Carron, the chairman of the Orleans Historical Society on Cape Cod, said about the day the ship sank.

A teletype sent after the storm called the waters "hazardous," the seas "mountainous," the darkness "extreme," the falling snow and winter gale "violent."

"Hellish storm," Carron said.

A quartet of "Coasties" -- none older than 24 -- was at the Coast Guard station on Cape Cod when the distress call came over the radio.

Coast Guardsman Bernie Webber got an order to take his crew into the storm.

"It was a suicide mission," said Casey Sherman, co-author of a book on the rescue called "The Finest Hours," which is now being made into a Disney movie.

"The Finest Hours" tells the story about how Webber and his crew set sail on a small Coast Guard lifeboat, the 36-500. The storm shattered the boat's windshield, sprayed the men with glass, tore out the compass and temporarily knocked out the motor.

With no direction, no help and little hope, they found the stern section of the Pendleton and most of the crew.

Webber then faced a fateful choice: "Does he take everybody home or try to?" Sherman asked. "Does he only try to rescue as many as the boat can fit? And he told his men, 'Boys, we're all gonna live tonight or we're all gonna die, but we're not going home without all these men.'"

Webber, the son of a Massachusetts minister, was praying for a miracle.

Despite the incredible conditions, Webber piloted the boat back to Chatham, Massachusetts, and sailed into history.

His crew saved 32 of the 41 people aboard the Pendleton.

"To his last dying day, he called it divine providence was what brought those men back," Sherman said.

From the top of the Coast Guard lighthouse in Chatham Harbor, Officer-in-Charge Corbin Ross still marvels at the moment more than 60 years after the daring display of courage and gumption in those waters.

Ross said that in the long history of the Coast Guard, "This is the greatest small-boat rescue the Coast Guard has seen, ever."

But the current of history would have all but erased the memory of the rescue if not for a freelance photographer who stumbled upon the abandoned carcass of the wooden boat in 1981.

"He came upon this boat sitting in the woods rotting away, and it was rotting away," Carron said.

He spotted the one recognizable clue the tides of time had not yet washed away -- the numbers 36-500.

He, among few others, knew it as the call sign of a miracle.

So, over the past 30 years, volunteers at the historical society have raised a quarter of a million dollars to restore it, putting the luster back in the legend.

Ryder, who pilots the famed 36-500, said that when he looks out of the windows, he thinks about how he is looking out of the same windows that those Coast Guardsmen did before they rescued the Pendleton.

And soon, millions will too when the Disney movie about the incredible tale docks in theaters in January.

Asked if he was trying to keep the story alive so people don't forget, Carron said he was "because if they forget, then all of what those heroes did and the family of the 32 that were saved is all for naught -- unless history can keep it alive."

The Orleans Historical Society has faced rough seas in fundraising and is running out of time. It is trying to get enough donations to take the lifeboat out of the water and preserve it in a museum.

The boat is already on the National Register of Historic Places, and the historical society hopes the movie will bring in more donations.

Donations to the Orleans Historical Society can be made on their website.

Greenwood Burns

After shots were fired and chaos broke out, the outnumbered group of Black men retreated to Greenwood.

Over the next several hours, groups of white Tulsans—some of whom were deputized and given weapons by city officials𠅌ommitted numerous acts of violence against Black people, including shooting an unarmed man in a movie theater.

The false belief that a large-scale insurrection among Black Tulsans was underway, including reinforcements from nearby towns and cities with large African American populations, fueled the growing hysteria.

As dawn broke on June 1, thousands of white citizens poured into the Greenwood District, looting and burning homes and businesses over an area of 35 city blocks. Firefighters who arrived to help put out fires later testified that rioters had threatened them with guns and forced them to leave.

According to a later Red Cross estimate, some 1,256 houses were burned 215 others were looted but not torched. Two newspapers, a school, a library, a hospital, churches, hotels, stores and many other Black-owned businesses were among the buildings destroyed or damaged by fire.

By the time the National Guard arrived and Governor J. B. A. Robertson had declared martial law shortly before noon, the riot had effectively ended. Though guardsmen helped put out fires, they also imprisoned many Black Tulsans, and by June 2 some 6,000 people were under armed guard at the local fairgrounds.

The Main Guard - History

On June 25th, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. This, as well as with events in China and the Soviet Union, sparked an American military build-up. This also begins the story of Cold War Lincoln Air Force Base. By January 1951 the Air Force was considering use of the former World War II airfield for Strategic Air Command, itself a newcomer to Offutt AFB in Omaha only a few short years before. The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce pursued re-activation vigorously and soon found a voice in Nebraska senator Kenneth Wherry who in turn fought for activation. By January 1952 the bill authorizing funds for Lincoln Air Force Base was thought assured until wording disappeared from the congressional appropriation bill. Only an envoy of Lincoln residents and its mayor were between re-activation and failure, lobbying only hours before the vote. In June 1952 the bill passed and by October the Air Force put reactivation into high gear. The 4120th Air Base Group had been operating with a small staff since February 21, 1952 and now oversaw the activation.

The city of Lincoln desired the return of the base so eagerly that they re-channeled Oak Creek around the needed lengthened runway to support jet bombers. Curtis E. LeMay, commander of SAC and aviation legend, demanded that SAC control the entire field. Initially the Air National Guard and Naval Air Station were located alongside the new Air Force units but were promised to move. Construction began across the field for new facilities needed to house the Air National Guard and Naval Reserve units and were generally complete by 1956.

Construction included new barracks for the airmen, mess halls, road improvements, recreation facilities, warehouses, weapons bunkers, and expanded operations buildings. Two giant hangars were built at the cost of $1 million each and concrete bunkers were built to house the powerful weapons that would soon make Lincoln AFB home. The amount of concrete used for the apron and runways at Lincoln would amount to the largest concrete project in state's history. Construction on other parts of the base continued for many years into the late 1950's depending on funds available. Post-1956 construction emphasized recreation or housing generally.

On February 1st 1954, Lincoln AFB was officially activated as was the 98th Air Base Group (recently of Fairchild AFB in Washington state), in charge of running the field. The 98th Air Refueling Squadron was its first aircraft unit, arriving from Kansas the same month. The first major aircraft, a KC-97, made its appearance in Lincoln during April. During July, the 98th Bomb Wing arrived from Davis-Monthan AFB where it had disposed of its war-wary B-29 bombers from Japan where it served during the Korean War. Later in January 1955, the main body of the 307th Bomb Wing had also arrived from Okinawa also after the unit's action over Korea (They had been the last active B-29 group in the USAF). In November 1954, the 98th Air Base Group was de-activated in favor of the 818th Air Base Group. The 818th Air Division took over control of the base during the month and assumed responsibility over the 307th and 98th Bomb Wings, their respective Air-Refueling Squadrons and the entirety of Lincoln Air Force Base. Jurisdiction also moved that month from the 15th to the famous 8th Air Force.

Other elements at the base that were activated during the period were the Field Maintenance Squadrons, Periodic (later Organizational) Maintenance Squadrons, Armament and Electronic Squadrons, Headquarters Squadrons, a Material (Supply) Squadron, a Motor Vehicle (Transportation) Squadron, an Air Police (Combat Defense) Squadron, an Civil Engineering (Installations) Squadron, a Food Services (Services) Squadron, a medical section, an Air Depot (Munitions Maintenance) Squadron as well as air-traffic control and air transport detachments. These units would work concurrently to help maintain a critical portion of America's nuclear deterrent.

On December 7th 1954, the first B-47 Stratojet landed at Lincoln fresh from the Boeing Wichita, Kansas factory. The 98th Bomb Wing would become combat-ready in April of 1955 and the 307th by June as they received their (sometimes second-hand) B-47s. The world-wide "Force for Peace" mission began, otherwise known as nuclear deterrence although this fact was not well known to the public. 90 B-47 bombers would soon line the concrete aprons of Lincoln AFB.

The Air Base was a city in its own right (actually becoming later the 5th largest town in Nebraska). Everything from a barber shop to a credit union to a dental clinic made the base largely self-sustaining. Swimming pools, a gym, tennis courts, baseball fields and clubs soon made their presence felt as well. Bowling Lake was constructed in 1958 using (what has been ironically gestured by veterans as) volunteer time of airmen and officers. The lake was dug on the Northwest side of the base and was known for its fishing qualities and boating events.

Housing was short in Lincoln proper, and between 1956 and 1958 1,000 units of Air Force duplex, apartment and standard houses were built West of Northwest 48th Street. A school, Arnold Elementary was also built, even then operated by Lincoln Public Schools. Older children tended to go to school at Whittier Junior High and then Lincoln High School. It should be said that airmen also found homes inside of Lincoln, especially the Belmont neighborhood of Northwestern Lincoln.

From 1955 through 1964, a considerable number of accidents occurred at the base (but also nationwide), primarily with the B-47 jet bomber. Fatal crashes occurred near Ceresco and near Raymond during 1955 and 1956. Bowling Lake was named for Captain Russell Bowling who commanded a B-47 that careened off the runway at RAF Lakenheath in England and into a nuclear weapons core storage bunker. The Strategic Air Command pursued upgrades to the B-47 into the late 1950s, however, an air frame built for high-altitude bombing was becoming stressed by low-level flying.

Throughout the 1950's, Lincoln became a major Strategic Air Command base and a very powerful asset to American strategic forces. Its B-47 complement would number above 100 at times before 1965 and news of missile deployment assured the area in 1958 that the base would be there long into the future. KC-97 tankers meanwhile stood a less famous mission but nonetheless made the B-47 medium bomber into a strategic one. The 20 aircraft of each squadron provided support with its dual transport/refueling role. By 1959, an "Alert Force" concept came to dominate SAC's bomber operations in the face of the 1957 Sputnik incident and the now shortened warning time of a Soviet attack. The same year, 2nd Air Force assumed jurisdiction over the base and the naming of several units would change from 1958 into 1962. Strategic missiles coming into the mix would cause institutional changes themselves. Lincoln Air Force Base would move into the 1960's a very large and strong strategic American air base.

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