F-106A 57-0231 of the 11 FIS Duluth MAP MN in the early 1960's
The City of Duluth purchased the original property for the airport in 1929 from St. Louis County. The airport was constructed on 640 acres (2.6 km2 ) of land with two 2,650-foot (810 m) sod runways. Subsequently, in 1930, the airfield was dedicated as a public airport. The airport was called the Williamson-Johnson Municipal Airport until 1963 at which time it was renamed Duluth International Airport.
The 11th Pursuit Squadron demobilized during the summer of 1945; inactivating on Shymea in the Aleutians in 1946. The unit was reactivated in December 1952 at Duluth IAP as the 11th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, replacing the federalized 179th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the Minnesota Air National Guard flying F-51D Mustangs. In the fall of 1953 the unit transitioned into F-89D Scorpions and later the F-102 Delta Dagger.
In June 1960 the 11th FIS transitioned into F-106 Delta Darts. On 22 October 1962, before President Kennedy told the nation that missiles were in place in Cuba,at the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the squadron dispersed one third of its force, equipped with nuclear tipped missiles to Volk Field. These planes returned to Duluth IAP after the crisis.
In September 1968 the 11 FIS was inactivated and re-designated the 87th FIS remaining at Duluth IAP.
While the 11th FIS deactivation resulted in retirement of the 11th FIS insignia, the new 87th FIS insignia was very similar, retaining the REd Bulls name and the basic Red Bulls design.
In May 1971 the 87th FIS moved from Duluth AP to K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI replacing the F-101 equipped 62d Fighter Interceptor Squadron at K.I. Sawyer, which was deactivated in Apr 1971.
The 87th FIS was deactivated on 1 Oct 1985. The Red Bull lived on however for several years after as the 87 FITS, a training squadron