F-106A 56-0461 Painted as 57-0231
K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum, Gwinn MI
K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum, Gwinn MI
F-106A Serial No. 56-0461 last assignment was 5th FIS Minot AFB, ND, painted now as 57-0231, 87th FIS Squadron Commander 'Toro 1' colors. Officially dedicated for display September 9, 2006 as part of the Sawyer F-106 Restoration Project. History: During the 2002 87th FIS reunion at KI Sawyer, walking around the static displays showed something missing... an F-106 from K.I. Sawyer AFB. Russ St. Onge and Lee Nellist made a presentation 26 August 2003 to the local AFA Chapter and members of K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum at the Sands Township Office Building about getting a "six" back to Sawyer. The original committee that petitioned the museum board included Russ St. Onge (87th Alumni, Eng. Shop), Sam Elder (AFA Member), Lee Nellist (87th Alumni, Plans & Scheduling), Robert Vick (Retired AF, AFA Member, 2001 Comm. Sqd.), Dan Benstrom (AFA Member, Ret'd AF) Dan Kill (AFA Member, former KC-135 Nav.), Michael Prokopowicz (AFA Member, Gwinn Business Owner), Gary Erbe (87th Alumni), David Olson (87th Alumni, MA-1) and Bill Whitaker (87th Alumni). ADOPT-A-SIX While the project names would change several times, the immediate need was to show the government property disposition group support for the program. ADOPT-A-SIX was born to get financial support for the cost of the aircraft, transportation, disassembly, taxes, filing fees, travel, spare parts, paint, storage, tools, etc. Many local businesses and organizations jumped on board and many 87th alumni were generous with financial support and countless hours of background work. Sawyer Six Project: About the time a second 87th FIS reunion was being planned it was felt the alumni should get involved with the project. The "Sawyer Six Project" name was decided on as it linked everyone stationed at KI Sawyer, the 87th and the F-106 together with the project. With alumni spread across the globe the huge task of putting together a mailing list fell upon Russ St Onge, who put the Sawyer Six Project on-line. One of our most invaluable and distant alumni members, Pat McGee (87th Crew Chief, PE Docks) webmaster of www.f-106deltadart.com and the F-106 Forums, worked with Russ on a website. Russ setup a PayPal account for donations and museum item purchases. Nolan 'Lani' Duquette had experience in getting aircraft on static display at Sawyer and had the honor to travel to AMARC Davis-Monthan AFB in Jan 2005 to evaluate two F-106A models 56-0461 and 57-0079, choosing 56-0461. The task of managing multi-governmental agency activities became the primary responsibility of another local alumni Lee Nellist who had many years in public service working with local agencies (including the base's transition team). Lee handled all the behind the scenes work, working closely with various township, county and state offices enabling substantial contributions including "matching challenges" that realized significant corporate contributions and matching funds. Jim Dellies, Forsyth Township Trustee and Congressmen Bart Stupak's Upper Peninsula Representative was the local government supporter who worked with the township in securing the aircraft from the Government Service's Administration through AMARC. Robert "Bob" Vick lent his knowledge of trucking and transportation and was point-man in moving the jet from Tucson to Sawyer. Richard "Hooter" Huth, Sr., 87th Alumni (87th Crew Chief) helped with fundraising, producing and donating items. Scott Mills (87th Crew Chief) along with other committee member's got the donated hangar space cleaned and up to 87th FIS standards before the aircrafts arrival as well as welcoming and unloading the fuselage and wings shipment upon arrival. More volunteers stepped up: Jerry Henthorne, Tommy Lew, Mike Rinaldi, James Heinz, David S. Olson, Richard "Woody" Wood, Bill Dowling, James "Steve" Farnsworth and Scott Ranta as well as a former "Phantom Fixer" Tom Bleu, a machinist for LS&I Rail Road. Tom cleaned up, machined and chamfered the wing pins making the wing installation easier. F-106 Restoration Project: After everything was said and done and the aircraft was in a hanger at Sawyer work got done under the new name "F-106 Restoration Project". Forsythe Township is the official "owner" of the aircraft and the K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum is the official sponsor and caretaker of the static displays.