Inactive Smyrna Sewart Air Force Base Remembered

Posted at 5:16 PM, May 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-30 19:36:20-04

Sewart Air Force base was deactivated 45 years ago, but Monday a memorial highway was dedicated to commemorate those who served there.

Every Memorial Day, the all important theme is to remember. Remember the fallen, remember those who fought for our freedom and remember their sacrifices. But there are other memories, too.

"Growing up I got to swim in the swimming pools of the officers club, I got to go to the Smyrna beach," said one Lt. Col, bringing up fond memories of the base.

In Smyrna at the site of the old Sewart Air Force base, airmen have lots of memories.

"I flew Bob Hope's show in 1969, met Neil Armstrong," said MSGT (Ret.) Wayne Thompson, " he sat on a truck right behind me."

Today the veterans rename the land for themselves and their families, many of whom stayed in the area and remember the base.

"It's something we kind of miss, we used to drive around the same highway to get into the base," Thompson said.

There's also a group that doesn't remember. They're just not old enough. The Smyrna Composite Squadron is a local group of teenagers, carrying on a military tradition since 1941. They served as color guard for the day's ceremonies.

"Our squadron meets right down the street from here so we wanted to make sure our faces were known and we were supporting these great men and women," said lead gun 14-year-old Jonah WIlliams.

Smyrna has kept its identity as a military community strong. And here, while old timers remember their comrades in arms, they also inspire a new generation.

"I wanna fly F-22 Raptors in the Air Force and maybe F-35s," Williams said. He hopes he can get there before the switch over to unmanned aircraft like drones.

His dreams the his idols memories are all in the name of the old base, that is now a highway.

That way, folks remember.

Veterans who served at Sewart and attended the ceremony Monday signed their name to a replica sign that will be displayed at the Smyrna Airport Authority.