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Volunteers Build Veteran's Memorial in Iron County

Updated: 06/25/2014 9:47 AM
Created: 06/24/2014 7:18 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson

More than 50 years ago, two bombers planes crashed in the Iron County forest a few miles and a few months apart. The crashes killed 6 crew members, but now volunteers are coming together to make sure their service is forever remembered.

The man behind the memorial project is retired veteran, Curt Myers. He has spent quite a bit of the past year working on the project.

"I bet you we have close to 1,000 hours of work in here," he said. "Just man labor and the back hoe and the tractor and moving sand and gravel and rock and stuff."

Back in 2004 a few locals put up a memorial with a replica plane, but Myers said time and nature had taken it's toll.

Along with 15 or so volunteers, Myers is part of the B-47 Crash Site Preservation Committee. They raised $13,000 to build the memorial, complete with three flag poles, solar lights, a pergola, and actual pieces of the crashed planes.

"B-47s are one of the very first strategic bombers that we used to battle the Russians during the Cold War," explained Myers.

During the Cold War, Myers said the bombers would train over the Hurley area, coming up from Topeka Kansas.

"The terrain here was pretty ideal to what Europe was like so that's why it was picked," said Myers.

But In 1961, two planes crashed, one in February and one in May. All four crew members perished in the first crash and two of the four crew members survived the second crash.

The crashes were four miles apart.

The memorial sits atop the second crash site while displaying pieces from the first crash - the actual canopy of the plane and an ejector seat.

Myers said they just wanted to make a nice clearing for the site, but looking at it now they have a full-blown memorial, something he hopes will bring more people to stop by Iron County.

"It's one more thing to be able to see while they are out...This is pretty much the heart, to me, of Iron County," he said.

The committee will celebrate the finished memorial Friday, June 27 and Saturday June 28. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be Saturday at 1 p.m. on Trail 13 C near Hurley, Wisconsin.

To learn more about the project head to their Facebook page here.

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