Port Austin Was Part of Cold War Defense
Port Austin Air Force Station was one of twenty-eight stations built as part of the second segment of the Air Defense Command permanent radar network. Prompted by the start of the Korean War, on July 11, 1950, the Secretary of the Air Force asked the Secretary of Defense for approval to expedite construction of the permanent network. Approval was received on July 21 1950 by the Defense Secretary. The Air Force directed the Corps of Engineers to proceed with construction.
Over the years, the equipment at the station was upgraded or modified to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the information gathered by the radars. The site came under Tactical Air Command control in October 1979 with the inactivation of Aerospace Defense Command and the transfer of the site to Air Defense, Tactical Air Command (ADTAC).
In 1982, the main bearing of the search radar failed catastrophically. The FAA long-range radar site at Canton Michigan was then used as a temporary data-tie site until a replacement search radar could be installed at the base in 1983. The site remained in use as an Air Force site until 30 September 1988 when it was closed altogether.