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Canadian Forces Station Beausejour:

Opened in 1953 as Beausejour Air Force Station of the United States Air Force, with the radar functions being run by No. 916 Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron.  As a Ground-Control Intercept base, the 915th’s role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit’s radar scopes. These interceptors were based at Duluth, Minnesota under the 31st Air Division.

Control of the station was transferred to the RCAF 1 October 1961.   The station was re-named RCAF Station Beausejour, with the radar functions being run by No. 48 Radar Squadron.  This was part of an arrangement with the United States that came as a result of the cancellation of the Avro Arrow. Canada would lease 66 F-101 Voodoo fighters and take over operation of 12 Pinetree radar bases.

Radar operations at 48 Squadron were automated on 1 May 1963 by the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, and the station became a long-range radar site. It would no longer guide interceptors but only look for enemy aircraft, feeding data to the Grand Forks Air Defense Sector SAGE DC-11 Direction Center of the 31st NORAD Region. It was later switched to the Duluth Air Defense Sector SAGE DC-10 Direction Center of the 29th NORAD Region.

As a result of the Unification of the Forces, the station was re-named Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Beausejour in 1966.

In August 1984, the station became part of Canada West ROCC. In January 1985 the word came out that CFS Beausejour’s days were numbered. The station closed on 31 July 1986.

The former station then became the Manitoba Regional Correctional Centre, later renamed the Milner Ridge Correctional Centre. Most of the buildings remain and one of the radar towers, minus the radome.  The former gatehouse converted into a staff lounge when a new gatehouse was built.

Canadian Forces Station Gypsumville:

Opened in 1962 as RCAF Station Gypsumville, the last of the Pinetree radar stations to become operational, with the radar functions being run by No. 47 Radar Squadron.

As with all Pinetree stations, Gypsumville was a virtual self-contained town with a fire hall, power plant, messes, a school, Canex, Gym, barracks and Permanent Married Quarters.

As a result of the Unification of the Forces, the station was re-named CFS Gypsumville in 1968.

In 1985, DND announced that the Pinetree Line would be shut down as a part of the North American Air Defence Modernization Plan. As a result, the station closed in 1987.

Very little remains of the former station, of either the domestic site on the east side of Highway 6, or the operations site on the west side. Most the roads have degraded to essentially wagon trails. The former station is now Benson’s Big Rock Camp. About a dozen new houses have been built in the PMQ area for the Lake St Martin First Nation.

A FPS 507 HF Radar remains at the entrance to the former station as a memorial to the men and women who served at RCAF/CFS Gypsumville.

Additional information supplied by MCpl Ken Anderson, Radar Tech, Gypsumville (2015).

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-military-bases/pinetree-line/manitoba/

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