Several branches of the military have been in or near Sault Ste. Marie – some of them for over 100 years. The U.S. Army’s Fort Brady, established in 1822 near where you stand, was moved in 1893 to a nearby hilltop location, and was used until 1945. Units that have served at Fort Brady inclue the 2nd, 5th, 10th, and 19th Infantry and during WWII, the 702nd Battalion of Military Police, the 131st Infantry, the 399t Barrage Balloon Battalion, the 100th Coastal Artillery, and members of the Women’s Army Corps. At the beginning of the Korean War in 1950 the former hospital compound at Fort Brady was reactivated to defend the locks. The 8th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion was stationed there. The post, known as Camp Lucas, was deactivated in 1960.
The Michigan National Guard unit was founded in 1896, during the Spanish-American conflict. The 1437th Engineer Treadway Bridge Company was the first National Guard unit to be federalized for the Korean War, during which it built many floating bridges and received the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. As the more general 1437th Multi-Role Bridge Company, the unit also served in Iraq.
The U.S. Revenue Cutter service assumed responsibility for the St. Marys River Vessel Traffic Management System in 1896. It merged with the U.S. Lifesaving Service to become the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915; thus the Coast Guard has been in Sault Ste. Marie since its first days as an amalgamated service. The Coast Guard is responsible for search and rescue, marine operations, buoy placement, and safety regulation of ships in the northern Great Lakes, and is home port to the buoy tender Buckthorn and ice-breaking tug Katmai Bay.
The U.S. Army built Kinross Auxiliary Airfield (about 18 miles south of the Sault) during WW II. In 1952 the Air Force reactivated the base; the 438th Fighter Interceptor squadron, part of the 507th Fighter Group, was stationed there. In 1959, the base became Kincheloe AFB, named after Korean War ace pilot Captain Iven C. Kincheloe. By 1961, the enlarged base was part of the Strategic Air Command, and home to B-52H bombers and KC-135 tankers. The 753rd Radar Squadron was located just south of Sault Ste. Marie. Kincheloe AFB closed in 1978, and the radar site closed in 1979