In the early 1960’s, the US Army was preparing for escalations in the Vietnam War. The Army air cavalry thought the mountains of western North Carolina and specifically around Sapphire Valley Resort were perfect for training.
The Army requested and was granted access to Fairfield Lake, Bald Rock Mountain, the fire tower on Toxaway Mountain, and other areas of the Resort for training.
Army Rangers and Sikorsky aviation trained in and around the resort, testing and gaining experience with the wind, up and down drafts, and close air support in a mountainous area.
The residence of Sapphire Valley and the Howerdd Family, owners of the resort at that time, were very supportive and often had the Army Rangers over for dinner!
Here, the Army's Sikorsky helicopter has landed beside the Country Club of Sapphire Valley. The size of this helicopter as compared to the Club House at the time is amazing.
This is the original Country Club of Sapphire Valley club house and included a wind sock ~ the driving range was actually used for small planes to land and visit the club and Fairfield Inn known at the time as Sapphire Valley Inn and Golf Club.