Return to main page

History of Nike SF-88 Restoration,
- just starting -

This web page was started September 2015,
almost 20 years after most restoration completed.

Table of Contents
- Missing History
- Traces, clues
- Individual Stories - alphabetical order -
     - Alec Gyorfi
     - Bud Halsey (National Park Service web page) - "Bud" Halsey, obituary
     - Al Kellogg - some SF-88 restoration history
     - Ezio Nurisio
     - Ron Parshall
     - Ed Thelen
- An e-mail to try to get a Restoration History Going
- A 1996 magazine article appearing in "High Power Rocketry"


Missing History
There is an excellent book "The Last Missile Site - An Operational and Physical History of Nike Site SF-88 Fort Barry, California". Highly Recommended - and a real bargain !!
(A rumor suggests that a co-author, John A Martini, was the site SF-88 manager even before Bud Halsey.)
However, this book does not cover the restoration (heavy duty maintenance ;-) nor current maintenance of Site SF-88.

The restoration was organized and led by Bud Halsey, obituary, local copy a retired Infantry Colonel. Bud was a large, imposing, determined, persistent, "horse-trading" individual who spent his abundant energy and probably not so abundant retirement money on the restoration of SF-88. At some time, the National Park Service appointed/hired him to be manager of the site.

Bud attracted about a dozen Nike veterans with various skills into the restoration effort.

The story of the restoration of SF-88 from 198? through 1995 will have to be told by others. I (Ed Thelen) blundered into SF-88 in about 1995 when it was almost at its current state of restoration. The last remaining major problem was inability to erect a missile to launch position. This was soon solved by eliminating the voltage droop to the launcher due to long cables.

The restoration of SF-88 by Bud Halsey and his crew of volunteers was largely complete in 1996.

Unfortunately, the Internet, and private web pages were just getting popular at this time. The items of progress and pictures of the restoration are largely in the heads of some getting older, old men.

In 2001, Bud Halsey died, and there was some turbulence not discussed here.
Many or most of the restorers formed/joined the Nike Historical Society, which mentioned the restoration here.
This is an initial attempt to list those pre-1996 restorers. Please e-mail ed@ed-thelen.org with additions.

  • Bud Halsey, the unforgetable 1st promoter, leader, and do-er of the restoration (obit)
  • Alex Gyorfi, still VERY active in keeping the missile elevator and launcher working - here and here.
  • Al Kellogg
  • Ezio Nurisio,
  • Ron Parshall, wishes to volunteer again

The Nike system was made as light as practical to aid in its being mobile - transportable to a trouble spot quickly - by air - 400 Hz saves weight in transformers and electric motors in aircraft and Nike systems :-))

These 60 Hz to 400 Hz converters, now in the generator building, were obtained and transported by Alec Gyorfi, from AT&T in San Ramone, CA. They are now used to power the IFC equipment - BC, RC van and antennas.

When I (Ed Thelen) arrived, they were having great trouble erecting a Hercules to the vertical launch position. It was discovered that there was too much voltage loss at high currents through the long cables from main 400 Hz power.
This was the solution - place a source of 400 Hz power much closer to the launcher motors, much reducing cable length and line resistance.


Traces, clues
1000 hour plaques in
Marin Headlands Visitor's Center


National Park Service page on Bud Halsey
local copy of http://www.nps.gov/partnerships/halsey.htm
Col. Milton F. "Bud" Halsey, A Sparkplug for Success

The Fort Barry Nike Missile Site SF-88 Volunteers is a community-based partnership whose members served at Nike missile air defense sites during the Cold War era. The group formed specifically to restore the historic Nike Site SF-88L, at Fort Barry in the Marin Headlands of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Nike Missile Site SF-88 Volunteers restored the abandoned and derelict site into the most complete Nike Missile site today in the United States.

The "sparkplug" for the success of the preservation effort was the late Col. Milton F. "Bud" Halsey, U.S Army (ret.). A 6'6" energetic mountain of a man, Bud used skills honed during a thirty-year Army career to track down the remaining Nike Missile site equipment and resources needed to haul 18 trailer loads to Fort Barry from around the country to put the Nike Missile site back together. His vision and leadership helped recruit and organize the volunteer Nike veterans and encouraged the National Park Service to take an interest in fully restoring the site.

Brian O'Neill, Superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, comments on Col. Bud Halsey:

Bud Halsey was a leader who inspired others to his vision. He applied the same mission focus he had as a colonel in the U.S. Army to lead a tremendous volunteer effort that restored one of the most important historic resources in the country.

Stephen Haller, Historian at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, comments on Bud Halsey:

Bud was the visionary for the restoration of the Nike Missile site in the Marin Headlands and for the volunteers that worked there. He used the experience and contacts gained from his rank as colonel and years in the Army to obtain technical assistance, spare parts, and missile equipment that would ordinarily have been unavailable to the National Park Service. His networking and leadership formed the core around which numerous Nike veterans rallied to perform many thousands of hours of skilled and unskilled labor to restore the site.

Bud participated in the Nike Missile site project because he felt driven to protect the nation's military heritage. He received satisfaction in taking on a leadership role that allowed him to control an operation much like he was used to in the military.

Bud was a leader. When he said "jump," you said "how high sir?" He also had an unparalled knowledge of Army procedures that paid off handsomely at the Nike Missile site.


Local copy of obituary for "Bud" Halsey

Local copy of obituary for "Bud" Halsey

from
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/HALSEY-Colonel-Milton-Baldridge-Jr-2967050.php
Published 4:00 am, Tuesday, January 9, 2001
no picture was included
This image

"lifted" from http://www.nps.gov/partnerships/halsey.htm a National Park Service web page


HALSEY, Colonel Milton Baldridge, Jr. -- Better known as 'Bud'. Career, army officer, local historian, public speaker known for his stentorian tones, large stature and gentle demeanor, passed on January 4, 2001 in Marin County.

He was a walking encyclopedia on western Military history, US Civil War, General Custer, Indian Wars, the Presidio, coastal defense and Nike missile defense systems. He was born at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in 1933. He spent his childhood at numerous Army posts in the United States and overseas accompanying his father -- a Regular Army officer.

In 1955, he graduated from the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, with honors, and received a degree in Political Science. As a Distinguished Military Graduate, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry in the Regular Army. Bud served in a variety of infantry assignments in the 2d, 3d, and 5th Infantry Divisions, both in the United States and overseas. He is a graduate of the Infantry School, the Armor School, and the Command and General Staff College.

He served in combat in both Korea and Vietnam as the Conmmander of the 2d Battalion, 38th US Infantry and as Senior Advisor to the 43d Vietnamese Ranger Battalion. In addition to service as an instructor at the Army's Command and General Staff College, he served on the staff of the Secretary of Defense and with the State Department. He also served in Germany and Panama; and as the deputy commander, 93rd Infantry Brigade; as Senior Army Advisor to the 91st Division; and with Headquarters, Sixth US Army.

On August 1, 1985, he retired from the Army after completing over 30 years of service and rising to the rank of Colonel. His military awards include the Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit (2 awards), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Joint Services Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2 awards), the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, Vietnamese Ranger Badge, Parachutist Badge and Combat Infantryman's Badge.

Following his military career, he became the Executive Director of the Fort Point and Presidio Historical Association. He was the driving force behind the refurbishiing and opening as an historic site the Nike missile site in the Marin Headlands of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area of the National Park Service. Within the last decade, Bud devotedly served thousands of hours as the full time volunteer site manager.

He authored numerous published articles on western military history, lectured, taught, gave tours, shared his vast store of knowledge and historical archives unstintingly and graciously with all who requested them. He was a member of various historical associations including charter membership in the Council on America's Military Past and had, at one time, served as its National Second Vice President and also served on its board of directors.

He served most recently as the historian for the Fort Point and Presidio Historical Association. Bud was a self-effacing kind, generous, taciturn, highly-principled individual. He was a joy to be around, had a dry wit and a delightful sense of humor. He was a gentleman and a scholar. His wife of 43 years, Sandy; and their children Laurie, Tom, Jon and Meg remember him with warmth and love and plan to pass on to Bud's seven grandchildren his values and sterling qualities. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery. Your remembrance of him and his fine qualities will be his memorial. No service will be held at his request. Memorial contributions may be made to the Christian Science Church, P.0, Box 517, Mill Valley, CA, 94942. 435-764-5009


Al Kellogg - some SF-88 restoration history - photo by Greg Brown
Good seeing you at the Nike Site this Saturday. [Oct 3, 2015]

     Here is a bit of history about me volunteering at the SF 88: I was driving thru the Marin Headlands and noticed that the Nike Site had a missile on the rail and a bunch of cars in the parking lot. I decided to investigate what was happening and that was the beginning to my involvement after I found out it was volunteers trying to restore the site. I told myself I would never again set foot on anything NIKE related property after the experience I had during the 16 months that I had at SF93.

     But when I realized this bunch of guys were trying to keep that Nike history memory alive I needed to participate. Ezio, Ron Parshell were the original volunteers there after the Military Car club left. Bud was the coordinator and I felt I needed to get with the program, I can't remember when it was, but I think it was in the early 80"s I started.

     We were all involved in basic grass cutting and painting at first, but the first big project was replacing all of the piping to provide water to the assembly building, both pits and the dog yard. Duane Fey and I did all of the plumbing which took us a couple of months due to lack of the park service giving us supplies such as PVC Pipes, connections and ditch witch. We followed the best route to get to the original pipes, and we did the piping per Buds direction, but it was not historically correct, or approved. Once the pipes were in the ground and all of the systems were working, Wayne and I replaced all of the open trenches crossing the asphalt with bags of asphalt the park provided, that took a couple of months since they only delivered 20 bags at a time.

     I was given blue prints of what the dog handlers used to construct the obstacle course in the dog yard to train the guard dogs, That project took me and Duane a couple of months to perfect. In between that time we did missile restoration and upper handling rail restoration.

     Alex Gyorfi and Ezio were working on the ready round trailer, Ezio was the master painter, Alex the master mechanic, and after it was painted OD green, I did a letter by letter transfer of all of the original lettering as per the TM.

     The big project I did was one rainy day I dug the foundations by hand for the radar park. I then went over to the parks junk yard and found some used decking that I used to form the concrete molds, it took the park service 6 months later, approvals and some re-engineering, before they poured the site. Of course I was at ha when we mounted the trailers and radars on their pads.

     As part of these large project, I had my riding mower there to cut the grass before each open house, I participated in keeping the elevators and doors working ( with Ron Parshell and Ezio) Judy Kellogg was the sites master painter, she painted the main guard shack and war head building.

     We also went to Edwards air force base on two occasions to get a 400 cycle motor generator and a fully functional Aquisition Radar. I used my truck and trailer, on my dime to go there for that mission. I build the first wooden cover to protect the 400 cycle motor generator.

     I did monthly power washing of the rails and missiles using my power washer, and using my artistic skills, I drew for display what the IFC looked like and what the inside of the missile parts looked like, both pictures have been lost to history.

     My also big contribution was the two missiles we restored to perfect condition and I made the Mail Boxes out of ply wood to cover the probes on the end of the guidance section..

If I remember any more I'll let you know. Al


Ed Thelen
I arrived late in the restoration, but got to go on a last trip to get material - to China Lake, California. Bud Halsey made the contacts and got the OKs. Others of us took several autos, a pick-up truck or two, and a flat bed trailer for a spare Acquition Antenna (among other things) we wanted to get. We paid our own way, gas, motels and all.

We hear tales from other sites "We don't have a budget to ship ...", just do the paper work and get it !!
- OK, cables from Taiwan or vans from Italy might be a big stretch ...

I also did an unusual project for Bud Halsey. Simulate a Nike Hercules engagement using some of the equipment in the BC Van, a PC, and some special I/O cards. Bud gave me a spare chassis used to hold the CRT to display the Acquisition Radar information. The CRT had already been removed, and I replaced it with a display from an IBM PC that displayed only orange (the color of the original display). It was a good job :-)) a casual person could not tell that a different CRT was in the installed chassis when working. I made a simulation program similar to this . Collecting information from the Target Designate handwheel (instead of a mouse) and the Missile Launch switch, the simulation showed the Target Designation by the operator, show the TTR tracking cross on the simulated target, and show a simulated missile interception. The simulation could also drive the Target Speed Indicator. I donated the PC, Bud paid for the IBM Monitor (used) and the special I/O cards. This equipment was removed from the BC Van in about 2002 -

An e-mail to try to get a Restoration History Going
Subject:     Oct 3, picnic, make web page of SF-88 restorers  	
From:	< ed@ed-thelen.org >	 	 
Date:	Sat, Sep 19, 2015 4:25 am
To:	almerx@sbcglobal.net, webmaster@nikemissile.org, historian@nikemissile.org
Cc:	"Greg Brown" < gregorio_cafe@comcast.net >, "Gordon Lunn" < gordonlunn@aol.com >, 
  "Ron Parshall" < NikeMSL@juno.com >, dkreutzinger@earthlink.net, 
  "Jerry Freight" < freightject@sfmail.net >, "Al Blank" < Al_Blank@nps.gov >

I would like to make a web page/section,
   which lists/shows
the volunteers that restored the SF-88 Nike Site
  and to start
a history of that restoration.

[...]

Many/most of the original restorers seem to belong to the
    Nike Historical Society
which is holding a picnic at SF-88 - Oct  3rd

This would seem to be a great time to get individual/group photos
  and contact info
  and start collecting stories and time-lines  of the SF-88 restoration.

This story is totally unknown to the current NPS people,
    and many of the current docents.
I am a "Johnnie come lately", arriving in 1996, when the work
   was almost completed to its present state,
and don't even know when Bud Halsey started organizing the restoration.


( The last remaining thing (in 1996) was to
    get proper power to the elevator launcher
so that it would actually raise a missile,
      without chattering relays and tripping circuit breakers.
   And since I'm an IFC guy, I'm clueless about that. )

Questions
  a) a good idea for my web site?
       or should it be organized and posted by Nike Historical Society
       and/or both ??
   b) Time Line of the restoration ??
   c) lots of newsy details ;-))
         - negotiations and trips to get vans, missiles, needed parts, ...
         - gads, and the launchers, racks, cables, ...
         - struggles against water, rust, crudded up parts, ...
         - pictures of before, during, after ...
         - a list of accomplishments, tubes lit up, acq antenna gear replaced, ...
         - concrete pads for IFC equipment ....
         - the restoration was a major, unequaled success !!
         - heck - even the toilets, phone, power, running water, ...
         - and the 400 Hz converters, and ...
         - and on and on and on ...
   d) probably totally ignore intermediate turmoil

Really, this is a great, untold, interesting story !!!

Thanks for your consideration and comments
   -Ed Thelen

PS Alec Gyorfi does not do e-mail -

1996 magazine article appearing in "High Power Rocketry" - A .pdf version

Published (I think) by	
National Association of Rocketry (NAR)
(Jack Hagerty, below, says this magazine is 
  defunct, replaced by an on-line magazine.)

NAR - (800) 262-4872,  319-373-8910
P.O. Box 407, Marion, IA 52302
http://www.nar.org/

Local club
 Livermore Unit of the NAR (LUNAR) #534
Contact: Jack Hagerty
785 Jefferson Ave Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 437-8543  - JHagerty@juno.com


FCover


Contents


P-15


P-16


P-17


P-18,19,20
, (see text below)

P-21


P-22

For those who have trouble reading yellow text on a light background, I offer

"The Nike Hercules (AKA MIM-14, MIM-14B, XSAM-A-25, Nike-J) began development in 1951 by Western Electric and became operational in 1958. It was designed to improve upon and replace the Nike Ajax and to meet the requirements for the increased threat and capabilities of enemy bombers carrying the new thermonuclear warheads.

The Nike Hercules has the distinction of firing the final US atmospheric nuclear test on November 4, 1962 at Johnston Island in the Pacific. At 21:30 local time, a Nike Hercules was launched carrying a low-yield W-31 nuclear warhead, the Tightrope shot of the Dominic series. It detonated at fifteen miles altitude and two miles south-southwest of the launch point. A "flawless performance."

The W-31, manufactured in great number for the Nike Hercules (approximately 2550 were made between October 1958 and December 1961) could produce either 2, 20 or 40 kilotons. Descriptions of the flash of this test indicate that the highest yield )40KT) was probably used.

No Nike Hercules were ever fired from Hike Hercules bases: the only firings were fir testing and training and these were conducted in Texas and New Mexico. It was phased out in the mid 1970's. The final flight of a Nike Hercules (Nike-J) in this country was Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) commanded by Major General Hyo u Etoh, on November 18, 1992 at Fort Bliss,Texas. the JASDF fired a total 371 Nike Hercules in training out of 500 missile firing in 30 years!

The booster employed a cluster of four Nike solid propellant motors that were cast by the Radford {sp} Arsenal. The solid propellant sustainer, manufactured by Thiokohl, used a 'modern' polymeric binder/oxidizer, cast, uncooled star perforation grain for a long, relatively neutral thrust profile. a distinguishing characteristic of this motor was the extremely long throat connecting the combustion chamber and the nozzle. This served two purposes, keeping the center of gravity as far forward as possible to increase the stability of the vehicle (required for the large surface area of the fins), and so that the control actuators for guidance could surround the throat and therefore be effectively positioned for control at speeds in excess of Mach 3.

As with the Nike Ajax, most of the contractors carried out the sames roles except that American Machine and Foundry replaced Consolidated Western Steel on part of the launcher contract. It carried a nuclear warhead and had a range of between 75 and 87 miles, speed of Mach 3.65. It weighed approximately 19,500 pounds, was 41.5 feet long, 2'7" in diameter, and had a fin span of 8'9". (Photo by Will Meyerriecks)