Cheney Free Press -

The day the mountain roared and the base went dark

A look back at Fairchild and the Mt. St. Helens eruption


Last updated 5/20/2020 at 1:59pm

Contributed photos by Al Cole

Darkness descends over Fairchild Air Force Base mid-afternoon May 18, 1980 as the Mount St. Helens ash clouds moves over in a photo taken by former base public information officer Al Cole.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in March 2017 for the Cheney Free Press's special section commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of Fairchild Air Force Base.


Staff Reporter

FAIRCHILD AFB - There's not much that can bring a Strategic Air Command bomber and tanker base to its knees and as close to a shutdown as possible.

Except that is for the unknown fury of Mother Nature's wrath. That's not, mind you with cold, snow, ice or other weather, but a volcano that effectively shut down Fairchild Air Force Base's mission for weeks.

The devastating eru...

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