Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

June 29, 2012 at 3:46am

McChord's Memorial Grove landmark rededicated

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On Sept. 18, 1976, a time capsule was lowered into the ground near the main gate of what was then McChord Air Force Base, now JBLM McChord Field, in honor of the 200th anniversary of United States independence and the 29th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force.

On June 21, 2012, 36 years later, a granite stone was placed and the capsule's location at Memorial Grove was rededicated after weather and age made the capsule's original plaque illegible.

The Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter 1461 donated the large granite stone. The chapter works in conjunction with the Memorial Grove Committee to maintain the three-acre grove area located at the corner of Col. Joe Jackson and Barnes boulevards.

"The day this was dedicated, there were 39 C-141's here, 18 C-130's, even a squadron of F-106A Green Dragons, and about 4,500 Airmen both active duty, Guard and Reserve," Col. Wyn Elder, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, said. "Now you look at McChord Field and there are 51 C-17's and about 4,500 Airmen still active duty, Guard and Reserve. So some things have changed, but in a lot of respects nothing has. It's still Airmen defending our country and our way of life. Thank you for redoing this. It's a wonderful testament to our Airmen past, present and future."

Elder along with Col. Bruce Bowers, commander of the 446th Airlift Wing, unveiled the new granite stone and then placed the 40th anniversary brick commemorating the anniversary of the establishment of Memorial Grove.

The capsule, which measures 17 by 30 inches, is scheduled to be opened in the year 2076. It contains paraphernalia from the base and air wing active at McChord in 1976, including flags, patches, newspapers, photos and a roster of personnel.

The Memorial Grove committee's mission is to preserve the past and enhance the future of the grove according to Senior Master Sgt. Ron Carghill, president of the committee.

Their future plans for Memorial Grove include adding a Medal of Honor recipients pavilion and discussions are ongoing to include an area to honor the Western Area Defense Sector. The committee will add four picnic tables and replace the sign marking the entrance to the grove this year as well.

Photo: Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th AW commander, left, and Col. Wyn Elder, 62nd AW commander, uncover the granite stone marking the location of a time capsule in Memorial Grove on McChord Field at JBLM, June 21. The granite stone, donated by the Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter 1461, replaced an illegible bronze plaque. Capt. Tawny Dotson/62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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