Nike People Stories
received 1998 through 2004

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Proposed Purpose - Capture the life and times of the era.
Proposed format:

Also see Nike Technical Stories
The Ft. Hancock web site has some oral histories.

Listed usually most recently arrived at the top (near this point) until a better organization makes itself evident.

Click on high-lighted name to send e-mail to that person.

Table of Contents

Also Germany Specific Stories and NATO stories

BrownOut from Charlie Brough
An Artilleryman's Story, or Where is the Lanyard? from Jim Koch
Small Unit Flexibility, or HEY ARMY, Here We Are!! from Ronald De Luco
Eager Beaver :-)) from Jeff Howell
Four Stories - Blizzard, Dog Priority, Friendly Fire, Out-of-Touch from Bill Adams
Final Training & Life on Site from Thomas Lundregan
Massachusetts Guns from Randy Cabell
Warhead Custodial Detachment, French vs Germans from Joseph R Williams
Rifle Range at Nike site? from: Alex Purcell
BatMan ??? from Richard Turner
'Friendly' North Korea from Bob Sykes
Menu for Red Canyon Range Camp for Christmas 1957 from J.P. Moore
The Big E at SF 88 IFC from Eshleman, John
HALT! from Bruce Graydon via J. P. Moore
Statute Of Limitations from B R Blaydes
SAC Perspective from Dick Roush
Happy Ramblings from Chuck Zellers
Souvenir hunters from Mark Morgan
Nothing special, just life by Chuch Sandlin
Annual Family Day by Duke Borchardt
Cuban Missile Crisis, how I grew up in a hurry in October 1962. by Jim Whitaker
Ordered to a closed site by Bill Ellis
Getting Attention by Rod van Ausdall
(at another site) Three Hours from Armageddon - Life at a Cold War Nike Missile Site by Gary Stephens
Helicopters and Operational Readyness Evaluations from Bill Shaw
Experiences at northwest Indiana Nike sites,
at another web site l
by Col. William J. Lawrence
Navy AA, Pearl Harbor, from Joseph K. Taussig, Jr., Captain, U.S.Navy (Ret.)
Naha, Okinawa, from Levine, Richard M
Re-up-blues?, by Timothy H. Smith (Byrne)
Indianapolis Star history item, from Frank Martinez
Korean 'Battle Stations' Nike launch, from Roger Rigney and Ed Durffee
My first Korean 'Battle Stations', from Ted Willard
U.S. AirForce exercises Chicago Nike Ajax systems, from Phil Rowe
Nike Radar vs Cop's Speed Gun, from Steve Bardowski
Ground Observer Corps, from Tom Van Vleck
Site 'Clean-up' but screwed out of a Christmas party, by Julian A. Cini
Practical Joke, from Bill Shaw
Greek Adventure, from John J Federico, Jr.
Alaska Stories, from Bill Momsen, Robert Foy, and Keith Sims
StateSide life in 1967, from Bill Evans
G.I. Soap, from J.P. Moore
?Re-Up or not?, from Ed Thelen
Alaska 'Chopper, from Bob Getman
Electrifying Experience, from Frank Martinez
On-The-Job Training, from Mike Jordan
'Tracking' with alignment scope from Peter Wurzbach
'Visiting' with a purpose, from Ted Willies
Hoover the computer, from Holger
Password, from Peter Vaneynde
Air Mobile Nike & Germany wasn't all fun and drinking, from Dennis T. Morgan
Nike as Bomb Scoring, fromDavid Hawkins
Non-technical Support operations, from Peter Wurzbach
Saw First Herc at White Sands, from B.R. Blaydes
The Sky is Falling, from Paul
Moon Shot from Alaska, from Bill J. Proffitt
"Roll #@%@ $%@ Roll!", from John Morgan
Juarez - South of the Border from Ed Thelen

BrownOut from Charlie Brough
I have written a story called Brown Out, and hope to market it in a major men's magazine. This is the first page. The story in full follows 4 men who go to Juarez Mexico following a successful Hercules Msl firing. As usual they have a few drinks, maybe a few two many and the story follows there actions and happenings. My info is from my many trips there and by consolidating things I came up with quite wild and wacky experience. I have spared you though and only send you the first page.
The story is now editied and ready for sale to who ever will give me three grand for it. That is what those stories sell for. If you can find a buyer.
Need a gift or a good book to read. Try my award winning Thank God for
Pigs, $19.95 or 
Allison's Wedding Dress book. $17.95 incl  Tax and shipping. Email me
Or write Brough Books, P.O. Box 614 East Olympia, WA 98540

"Brown out." By Charlie Brough Copy right 03/07/05 5263 words

Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Fire! Missile Away! Nine, highly trained technicians in the two, Integrated Fire Control Vans, Battery Control and Radar Control, monitored their radar screens intently while following the path of the Missile to its intended destination. A computerized point in space.

After several minutes came the count down to burst from the Battery Commander, "Five, four, three, two, one, burst! Right on Target, zero miss distance." After letting out an audible sigh of relief, the Captain announced, "Good job Men. We’ll party tonight."

Several days earlier the men from both the Integrated Fire Control and Launcher Area had received the call to go to SNAP, Short Notice Annual Practice. The following day, an inspection team from 6th region had conducted an Operational Readiness Evaluation. Both the Integrated Fire Control and the Launcher Area troops had passed the inspection, one hundred percent operational. By Saturday night, the Missile Unit had been air lifted to Ft. Bliss Texas, where they were met and bussed to temporary billeting at McGregor Range New Mexico.

Starting first thing Monday morning there was the weekly checks and adjustments of the whole system, with a practice shoot that same afternoon. Tuesday was a daily checks and adjustments followed by a readiness evaluation. Both days went without a hitch. The entire Missile Unit was very well trained and ready to prove their expertise. The successful firing with a live missile had been conducted, early, Wednesday afternoon. That evening as the Captain promised there was to be a grand party at the McGregor Range NCO Club.

That day had been extremely stressful for each and every man on the team. The beer and hard liqueur relaxed the men and had some talking about their passed exploits across the border in Juarez Mexico.

Gordon Latreau, having celebrated in Juarez before, sat his drink down, and said, "Hey Brad, tomorrow night, how about coming with me and I’ll show you around Juarez." Laughing then, he added, "If you’re on a tight budget, you can always get a toothless old woman to give you a blowjob for twenty-five cents."

"I don’t know Gordon? I want to see Juarez, but I think I’ll leave the toothless blowjobs for you. How many trips have you made down there?"

"This will be my third time. No one should ever go by themselves, a group of four is about right."

An Artilleryman's Story, or Where is the Lanyard?
Jim Koch
I thoroughly enjoyed scrolling through the Nike site. It brought memories rushing back.

I was assigned to Team B, 507th USAAD, 5th USAAG, from September 1974 to August 1977. I was (am still at heart) an artilleryman. I was trained in eight inch atomic projectile assembly and use; deployed to the 85th USAFAD (Pershing missile) in Geilenkirchen (Teveren Air Base), and almost immediately moved to Team B to fill an officer shortage. I didn't know which end of the missile went up. Jokingly, I asked where the lanyard was (a good cannon-cocker question). I was directed to the top of the intersection between the booster and the main missile body, whereupon I found the missile motor actuating lanyard. My education had begun!

Richard Schleffler's account is pretty accurate, except that the TO&E allowed for 29 people (3 officers, 26 enlisted), and we were staffed at levels ranging from 18 to 33, never, however, with more than three officers. For nine months we only had two officers on the kaserne, so taking leave was impossible (though my team commande did it for a week, leaving me alone and almost killed me in the process - a buddy came from Team C to assist for a day so I could go home and sleep).

Team B, 507th WAS Team B, 43rd, but when 9th Wing Missile (Belgian Air Force) expanded early in the 1970s, it was redesignated. By 1974 it was B/507th. A/507th was colocated with Headquarters Detachment in Grefrath. C/507th was about 25 minutes up the road in Kapellen. Team D was added to the mix in 1975 in Xanten. All of these eventually went away as Nike came out of the inventory.

Life there was interesting. If you had kids, they rode to school for an hour or more. Medical support, as well as commissary and PX, was in Brunssum, Netherlands, an hour away. My second child was born in the RAF hospital at Rheindahlen Air Base. That was the nearest NATO hospital. We decided to place our oldest daughter in a German parochial school. I didn't realize it at the time, but we bumped an 18 month waiting list because the German's took great pity on our plight and were glad to see us trying to integrate into their community. As a result, my daughter's German was flawless - for a four year old!

As with Mr. Scheffler, I never took a photo of the missiles....never had a camera in the LCA or IFC. That was just not done! I do have a number of photos of "family" events at the Team building. Life was sparse, but we made a go of it and we became family.

I was happy to see Jim Duffy's name on the list. He was my NCO counterpart for a year and taught me much of the code language. We spent many an evening decoding and authenticating messages as the crew in Heidelberg seemed to enjoy sending out a new on every 55 mintues at night - just enough time to get it decoded, return to the team area, and turn right around and do it again.

Thanks for the great site

And, by the way, Team B, 507th USAAD was located on the road between the town of Kaster (as you have it listed) and Putz (it was called Site Putz by the NATO crews). We nicknamed the place Kaputz! It was appropriate.


James R. Koch, LTC, FA (Retired)
2LT - Security Officer (Sep 74 - Feb 76)
1LT - Assembly and Monitoring Officer (Feb 76 - Apr 77)
1LT - Team Commander (Apr 77 - Aug 77)
James R. Koch
Business Manager
Indian River Central School District
32735B County Route 29
Philadelphia, New York 13673
(315) 642-3441

Small Unit Flexibility, or HEY ARMY, Here We Are!!
Ronald De Luco
(First a bit of background - Nike Hercules sites could have nuclear weapons. At U.S. Army Nike Hercules sites, the war heads were guarded/controlled by the on site Army people. On Nike Hercules sites with National Guard or foreign troops manning the equipment, a small detachment (say 20) U.S. Army Custodians controlled the warheads of the missiles. See Custodians. Ron is talking about site D-58 near Carlton, Michigan in early 1963 when the U.S. National Guard took over operating the site from the U.S. Army.

For the most part, custodians were an unknown entity early in 63. Our duties were to maintain federal custody of Nuclear weapons for the Federal Govt.. We oversaw assembly and maintained custody of the arming plugs for the missiles. When we were assigned to the sites, there were no mess halls nor were our perdiem allowances on our pay.

Our sergeant, being resourceful, scrounged the mess halls for any surplus they could spare. We bought our bread from day old outlets. With a hot plate we cooked whatever our Sergeant could scrounge for us. Generally eggs, butter, some bread, large sausages like bologna etc., (for which we had another expression), cheese, bacon, just anything any mess hall could spare.

Sarge immediately called headquarters and explained our dilemma and got a refrigerator shipped out and arranged for a stove to be installed. We all chipped in and bought our bread, and common cook wear, pot, pans etc.. We all bought a knife, fork, spoon, a large jar of peanut butter and a large jar of jam. We all had our corner of the locker and our corner of the refrigerator. It was while stationed at this site, that I met my future wife. She was teaching school at the near-by town of Waltz. - 2430 Galbreth Rd. Pasadena Ca 91104

Eager Beaver :-))
Jeff Howell
Hi, Ed.

Great tribute to the Nike vets. Thanks. Please include my short and incomplete memoir. (Made even shorter and more incomplete by Ed Thelen ;-))

I arrived at the D/4/6 (Balesfeld, Germany) in June, 1966 after an 8-day cruise aboard the USS Darby. Howard Dennis and I had both attended 16B school at Ft. Bliss. But when I got to Dog Btry it was rumored that there was a shortage of 16C's and so he and I became drinking buddies with the IFC Platoon Sergeant down at Elfi's Gasthaus.

Before long, we were being OJT'ed to 16C. Later we would both score high enough on the MOS proficiency test to get pro-pay as 16C's. ... I took an overseas discharge, so I got my walking papers at Spangdahlem AB. I lived in Germany until August of 1980. Now I'm in Traverse City, MI.

A few names I remember, but haven't contacted [yet]: ... SP4 Gerry Goldberg, Culver City, CA. Gerry was the IFC parts clerk. He spent a week looking, but he never did find the fallopian tubes we had him looking for. The good news was that after that, he knew exactly where everything else was.

Capt. Buckley was a pretty fine officer, as was Lt. Gunter. Both seemed able to balance discipline with mercy, mission with morale. One night we had to dismantle the target tracking radar in the middle of a blizzard. It meant removing the lens, which must have weighed 500 lbs. It took us at least 5 hrs in the snow and ice and we were all frozen when we finished. Capt. Buckley was with us from start to finish, and he pitched in when we needed him. It meant a lot to the rest of us that he was out there freezing with us too.

Jeff Howell

Four Stories - Blizzard, Dog Priority, Friendly Fire, Out-of-Touch
Bill Adams

On Christmas Night of 1966, the first Christmas I had not spent with my family, C Btry was on maintenance status with a minimum manning crew. I had the duty but was comfortably asleep in my BOQ in Highlands about five minutes from the site. During the night New Jersey and the entire East Coast was caught in one of those 50 year blizzards.

About 0200, I received a call from the dog handler in the launcher area. His words were: "Sir, I just stepped over the fence." Even though I was a clueless second lieutenant, I knew the fence was a double eight foot chainlink barrier with a two foot barbed wire overhang. I could not imagine how this trooper and his dog has accomplished this Olympian feat.

My inquiry, of course, revealed that the snow aided by the wind had drifted against both sides of the fences totally covering them. Not having an SOP for this situation, my CYA mode kicked in even though I knew a Russian attack was highly unlikely in such miserable conditions. I ordered the dog handler to secure his dog in the warm kennel, had the lights turned on, and had the Quick Reaction Force to provide two man one hour patrols until daylight.

The next morning we did get a truck with a blade to clear the snow. The Battalion Commander actually came to the site to supervise the removal of the snow.

Dog Priority

In Korea at A Btry, 4th of the 44th, a lieutenant colleague contracted some sort of allergy. His throat closed and we thought we would have to do a tracheotomy right there in the BOQ. However, medication kicked in to give him some temporary relief. We called for a chopper to evacuate him for medical attention. We were told his case was too low a priority to spare a flight. He had to be transported by ambulance to Camp Humphreys through the mountains on bumpy dirt roads for several hours.

A few weeks later a guard dog became ill. We called the vet at Camp Humphreys. Within an hour a helicopter landed on our pad and evacuated the dog to receive expert medical attention.

Go figure.

Friendly Fire

After the Pueblo Incident, the powers that be thought that the missile sites could use some augmented security. We at A Btry were sent a platoon of infantry commanded by an eighteen year old second lieutenant. The battery was to continue to provide its own security within the two tactical area fences. The infantry was to set up security outside the fences. They went about digging foxholes and building bunkers and setting up fields of fire, one of which had to be modified because it cut across the launcher area and would have subjected the raised missiles to friendly fire.

All went well until one night, a nervous infantry soldier on the launcher area perimeter fired a couple of rounds which were directed toward the IFC area. The IFC infantry thought they were under attack and returned the fire. Luckily, no one was hurt and no equipment was destroyed. The incident was quietly dealt with. No harm, no foul.


North Korea had a practice of sending aircraft, usually MIGS, flying bent out of hell due south only to turn away at the DMZ. We would lock on to these sorties and track them. We would usually go up in status when they began these maneuvers. They were probably testing our AD capabilities.

One night A Btry was on hot status and I was in the BCO seat. Four MIGS appeared on the scope headed due south above Seoul. This night they did not turn away at the DMZ. They crossed the line and headed for Seoul. Foxtrot which was located west of Seoul about thirty seconds away by jet was screaming on the tactical line for permission to fire. Permission to fire was denied.

I was locked up, the missiles were raised, and we needed permission to go to red status. That was denied. The MIGS flew over Seoul and turned west and out in to the Yellow Sea. I believe they actually crossed over Foxtrot’s dead zone.

I heard later, true or not, that the general authorized to grant permission to fire was at a social function and could not be reached.

William H.(Bill) Adams III
Warner Robins, GA

Final Training & Life on Site from Thomas Lundregan
--Batt A,85th Bn, Nike site D-23, Foot of Lenex St/ Detroit River.
Hello from Tom Lundregan: Here some data, and some "color"/ stories. Also see map that Doyle provided a few weeks ago.

Nike Ajax--1954-1957; arrived at Detroit Site late Aug/Sept 1955: Batt A, 85th Bn, the site was about 1 mile "west" of Grosse Pointe, Mich. Bat B was about 1 mile "west" of us. Both our launch sites were on "eastern" end of Belle Island. The two fire control sites were right along the shore of the river. I believe you now know where Batteries C and D were. These 4 Batteries were Package 31 -Detroit formed at the Brigade at Ft. Bliss, TX in April,1955.

The last half of Package 29 Chicago was formed same time as well as Package 30--Pittsburgh. Equipment from Western Electric arrived for Batteries in the same sequence as the Packages---29,30 &31. Package 31 started getting the sets in June 1955 !

Tests Prior to City Deployments:

  1. Readiness Checks at the Brigade, Ft. Bliss prior to shipment to Red Canyon Range.

  2. Qualification Tests at Red Canyon Range--- usually three firings at RCATs down range. Success measured by Event Recorders in the BC Van and downrange spotters. Others:

  3. Ship to Package City for installation and deployment.

  4. Became Operational soon after checkout and readiness declared.

  5. Flew crew to Red Canyon Range for Annual Practice in November,1956. Three firings, but last two in rapid sequence ! ! !
Battery A Highlites :

  1. Last to leave The Brigade due to WE Field Engineers using the set first for Checkout of Factory Shipments. Then us.

  2. After Qual at RCRC we had to stay a few weeks more since Annual Practice Boys had to use our set. Last to leave RCRC.

  3. Observation during first winter---Detroit River freeze----icing. MTR multi-path from Nike transmission off of ice. MTR locked-on at stronger energy from ice reflection. MTR pointing below the normal of the straight-line RF path-to- Nike. Nike was erected. (see Frank Fenech's recall of a Simulated Test ).

  4. We had Surprise Ops Inspections by Lt. Col. Mancuso : Just prior to an Inspection is when we discovered the RF multi- concern. We let Mancuso get up on the MTR Tower when locked-on and let him see thru the telescope------he observed we were locked -on the middle-of-the- river. WOW ! ! We quickly explained the situation to him, and he took an action item upon himself ! !

  5. We all respected Lt. Col. Mancuso---he was very good, also not a tall man: Hence (in the electronics world ), his nickname was "short-to -ground".

  6. Re Multi-Path: In 1956 I had heard there had been some simulation of the problem, and "all" was OK. I had thought they had done something in Red Canyon, but I guess I was wrong. See Frank Fenech's recall of a Simulated Test.

  7. (You will like this): Battery A Annual Practice in Nov 1956 at Red Canyon:: Prior to arrival we had heard the "record" for rapid sequential firing of two Nikes was about 20-22 seconds between "explosion" of the first Nike and the launch of the second Nike. Well, our Captain had an incentive, and we all did, to try to better the record. So, once we swung the MTR around to the second Nike on the launch pad and locked -on ,with a quick checkout,-----we were ready-----about12 seconds had elapsed . Well, the Captain started the countdown one second at a time (we were at about an elapsed time of about 17 seconds or so when he covered the last "13" seconds available to us in a rapid verbal voice and we launched the second Nike in about 19 seconds----he covered the last 13 seconds in about 2-seconds !!!!! Battery A was now the World Record Holder !!!! The requirement on all Annual Practice Units was to get the second off in 30 seconds or less. We had plenty to spare. Fun !

  8. Miscellaneous----At Red Canyon Range Camp in summer of 1955: At night when we walked over to the Camp PX a Juke Box was playing---had a large assortment of choices-I think. HOWEVER,, there was always only one song being played all-the- time---can you guess ? It was always "On Blueberry Hill", by Fats Domino! ! ! Why ,I don't know ,but that was it ! ?

  9. I guess anybody like me can consider ourselves Second Generation Rocket Pioneers ! After all- how many people do you know who were firing missiles in 1955 and 1956 ! ?

" Detroit-Detroit, What A Wonderful Town" ! ! IT really was in the '50's ! B. Summer time in Detroit along the River:

  1. From the Radar Towers we could watch the Gold Cup Speedboat racers checking out their speedboats. Gold Cup moved to Seattle in the 60's

  2. Changing radar magnetrons (transmitters ) on the towers in the winter-time was no picnic.

  3. The Detroit River along the shore had Taverns on rafts. Especially a lot of fun in the summer- provided many sights, boats, and "suds".

  4. City of Detroit was a great service men's town in the '50's; the USO provided freebies, etc. FT. Wayne was near downtown; Selfridge AFB was a little "east" of us.

  5. Four classmates of the SAM-23 Nike Fire Control graduating class(April 1955 ) just attended a Red Canyon Range Camp Reunion in Las Cruces in Oct 2004. Although the reunion was more of a Camp Permanent Party reunion, we Fire Control Boys had a good time..

Battery A Personnel- 1955-1957, Limited number

  • Captain Dorious Galipeau-- a great CO. Lieutenants Levaggi and Quegg (sp ? ).
  • Topkick: MSgt Hines ---- couldn't wait to return to Garmisch, Germany.
  • Fire Control Maintenance Men: Sgt. FC Tom Lundregan, MSgt Ed Risk, Spec FC Frank Robinson.
  • Operators and Staff : Ed Keevins, Lauren Kiest, Bob Strawbridge, Meryl Sarber, Gene Scanlon, Tom Goldberg,Bill Feaster, John Baker, Ron Downer, etc.
  • Promotions and Stuff:

    Promotions came fast to the Fire Control boys; after 11 months of schooling the Army wanted to keep us. Also, if we just extended for one year, we could become Warrant Officers immediately. We had opportunities.


    I do have some photos, plus Certificates, etc of life in the Nike Program, in case you are interested ?

    Massachusetts Guns

    from Randy Cabell
    Hi Ed.
    What a great information source. As a young lieutenant, I taught at the AAA & GM School at Ft. Bliss from 1954-1956. But I now want to turn the clock back another 5-10 years or so. Before there was even NIKE AJAX, 90mm and 120mm guns ringed our larger cities. In fact, most of my friends fro OBC-10 at Ft. Bliss went to serve in Batteries around NY and Boston. Do you have anything on those sites?

    Randy Cabell

    Well - I am happy to say that you are in luck.

    1. John McGrath collected gun and Nike information about Massachusetts and Rhode Island and placed it on a web site. About 4 years ago he gave up the web site but kindly sent me a CD-ROM of it which I post at
    2. The second edition of "Rings of Supersonic Steel" gives an interesting introductory history including placement and upgrading of gun batteries to Nike.
    Good Hunting
    Ed Thelen

    Warhead Custodial Detachment, French vs Germans - posted October 12, 2004

    from Joseph R Williams
    I just read the excellent article about the Nike Warhead Detachments supporting the NATO Forces.

    My first assignment was as XO (Executive Officer) of the 357th Artillery Detachment in Stetten a.k.m. (A Cold Market in German) , FRG supporting the French Air Force in 12/1963. While I was there we spent our time training our warhead teams and taking TPI',s (Technical Proficiency Inspections for warhead operations) .

    Since France was in the decision process of leaving NATO, they were dragging their feet with the total deployment of NIKE sites in Germany. There were two 4 battery battalions and only one 4 Team Artillery Detachment. Not enough to support fully deployed units. Why is unknown, but maybe the Team and Detachment facilities weren't provided by the French, so the US didn't provide the Detachment. The French wouldn't spend the money on the facilities and equipment needed to pass the inspections or support the Teams.

    These detachments had a lot of pressure on them to be outstanding, so every little thing was a major situation. These officers and enlisted men were probably some of the finest in the US Army if they were in the original packages that were trained at Fort Bliss and deployed as a cohesive unit. However, some were not deployed for various reasons and those slots were filled after the unit arrived in Germany. The replacements sometimes were not as top notch, even though they had the qualifications and were in the reliability program and of course were not 'members of the team'.

    I think the situation with the French was even worse because the frustration level was so high. Higher HQ wanted us to get the French to provide all the facilities, equipment, etc. and become proficient enough to pass the TPI/NSI. That was the Detachment Commander, XO and the Team Commanders daily task, meet with the French, influence the training schedule and the facility and equipment situation. So these well trained Teams were becoming more and more frustrated each day. I am sure the French units wanted to do well, but were not allowed to by France. A political situation. In fact, I believe the French units had no idea they were leaving NATO and they were as surprised as we were when it happened. If you look at the time frames, you will see that Bottengen passed the inspections, was stocked and almost immediately thereafter the French left NATO.

    I was transferred North in late 1964 and I was the Team Commander of C Team, 42d Artillery Detachment located in Lohne, FRG in 1965-66. The 42d Arty Det was another matter. High morale and we supported an excellent German Air Force Battalion and it was a race between us and the German batteries to pass every inspection and evaluation. The difficult terrain and climate of Northern Germany where our launching site was sinking was our only downfall. We were the first units to successfully complete the TPI/NSI (Technical Proficiency Inspection/ Nuclear Security Inspection) . Our Team was very good at the TPI and our German Battery passed their portion, the NSI, with flying colors. After passing, we were stocked with the warheads and the business of 24/7 began.

    Later, we were the first to perform a real NATO convoy when we had to remove all the warheads to Soergal because our launching area was sinking. One difference in our set up was we had a complete cooks section and our people prepared and served three meals a day and of course when we went on 24/7, a fourth meal at mid-night. We also had a small beer club in the basement of the building for our troops. We were also authorized to live in German Military housing which was located in Deipolz, FRG. All others lived in the Team facility. We had excellent soldiers and absolutely no disciplinary problems.


    Joseph R Williams
    LTC (Ret), Field Artillery

    From: Alex Purcell January 11, 2004 Subject: Nike web site: HA-25
    > and if there were indoor 
    > ranges on Nike housing sites elsewhere in the country.
    [response by Ed Thelen]
    I REALLY doubt it. The Army, in my day, seemed to regard shooting as an outdoor activity, and besides they saved money and fuss on ear protection
  • the old 30-06 round is extremely noisy (and kicked like a mule!)
  • it is bad enough outside.
    I used to chew toilet paper into wet "spit-ball wads" and stick them into my ears when we went to the range
  • and my ears would still ring and hurt
  • and this was outside.

    And when pulling targets in the pits at say 100 yards, the *CRACK* of the supersonic (say mach 4) slugs going by 6 feet above your head was very unpleasant. It was much better at 500 yards -

    I can't imagine what it was like for the armored infantry with those big tank guns going off next to you!!!

    It isn't that I'm a super whimp with guns. I grew up in a rural community. A nice weekend activity was to take my 22 rifle up or down the local river and shoot much too much. I regarded myself as reasonably accurate "offhand" with a 22 rifle or pistol. But military weapons were something else

  • definitely not friendly nor fun.
    Except the 30 caliber carbine was kind of a pop-gun.

  • BatMan ??? from Richard Turner
    Hi Ed...enjoy your website.
    While serving as an IFC maintenance man, I had occasion to be working on the large plotting board in the BC van. When I had finished, I pulled out about 4 or 5 feet of the large paper and drew a batman symbol on it...then rerolled it.

    Wouldn't you know ORI team hit the unit and during the wring out of the radar, our computer operator pulled the plotting board paper out to have a clean board and lo and behold...BATMAN.

    I was called on the carpet for that little escapade. I was known for this kindof thing however and I think everyone had a laugh, perhaps in secret later on.

    This happened on Site 61 Vashon Island Washington State probably about 1970 or so.

    Richard Turner
    SGM Retired

    'Friendly' North Korea
    Bob Sykes
    Us Nike guys may not have fired a Missile in defense of our location, but we did serve our Country and my Korean experience did make me sleep with my 45 and M-16.

    We were on the coast just below Inchon on White Tigar Mountain (Camp Sarafi) Sak Son Ni and the North Koreans had a bad habit of coming in at night to assassinate the local politician or anyone who got in their way.

    When they did that, the whole coast line would be as bright as day with all the flares going off. I was there when the North Koreans shot down the recon plane (B-47) and we went to Red Alert.

    Thanks again!

    Bob Sykes

    Menu for Red Canyon Range Camp for Christmas 1957 from J.P. Moore
    Dear friends,

    If you were at Red Canyon Range Camp for Christmas 1957, you probably received one of these special mess hall menus, personally signed by Lt. Colonel John J. McCarthy. He was so proud of his troops that he signed every single menu.

    Menu courtesy of Mary Elliot, daughter of Lt. Col. McCarthy, who sends best wishes to you this Christmas of 2002.

    Wishing each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    JP Moore
    Shreveport, Luzianna
    Visit my HomePage website at

    The Big E at SF 88 IFC from Eshleman, John
    One week end in '71 the troops were given the order to repaint the lines in the small parking area at the IFC area. I returned Monday morning to find this one lined parking space with a very large "E" painted in the middle of it.

    The "E" wasn't just large, it was very large and thick. I ask SFC Herrin (Maint Sgt) "What's with the big E parking space?" The reply, "Chief, that's your parking space, you're the only Big "E" in this IFC." In the painting process, the paint can was sitting in the middle of a parking space when one of the troops kicked the paint can over and paint was running. Another troop grabbed a paint brush and directed the flow of the spill into the letter E

    I visited SF88 in Oct of '86 and was bearly able to drive up to the IFC and sure enough, some one had painted the big E over with black (tar) paint, but big as the nose on your face, the "Big E" was still there. Should they ever reactivate that NIKE site, I will always be there.

    HALT! from Bruce Graydon via
    J. P. Moore
    Someone mentioned area 5000 the other day and that reminded me of the time just before we packed up to head to RCRC for our attempted firings. We were hanging out in front of our building waiting to go to mess. A guard from the stockade was wrangling a detail of prisoners who were planting the tree's around the buildings.

    They came into our building to get water and when they came out, the 3 prisoners made a break and scattered. The guard yelled, 'HALT". They kept on running. We all just kinda stood there not believing what we were seeing. He yelled, "HALT" again and the third time he leveled his carbine and killed one of the prisoners. The other 2 stopped and were gathered up by a few of us gawkers. I still can't imagine that they thought they were really going to escape.

    Bruce Graydon. Package 8, RCRC 1953-54. D Battery, 738 Missile Bn,
    Philadelphia 1954-55

    Statute Of Limitations from
    B R Blaydes
    It has been a long time since this happened , I wonder if it is worth telling.

    I was stationed at Jacobsville [BA-43]C36th the summer of 1956. One day I was assigned to take two men and go to the ships store at Annapolis to pick up surplus material for construction of a PX

    .I and the two met a Navy Chief who directed use to the material we were to receive . One of the men I took with me noticed several old canon in the yard and asked the Chief if he could have one and the answer was that of course a strong no way . Well it seems that when no one was looking one canon was loaded on the Deuce and a Half and covered and we left with material plus a canon.

    As we neared Jacobsville we dropped the canon on a field to be retrieved later. Sometime later one Saturday morning the Company Commander called me and told me to get the truck and some men and report to the orderly room. When we arrived at the orderly room we met with the company commander and were advised that a farmer had found the canon in his field and we were to go with the farmer and retrieve it.

    Well to shorten this story a mount was made and it was placed outside the orderly room by the flag pole and there it remained. The men that went with me were the ones who loaded the canon that day at the ship yard. I have often wondered about that canon and where it ended up. Needles to say I had visions of repercussions for a long time after.

    SAC Perspective
    Dick Roush
    I was one of many from our Air Force Radar Bomb Scoring site in Ironwood, Michigan who trained Nike personnel in Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit in 1961, and 1962, right when the joint AF/ARMY project first started. Just thought I'd make contact.

    We were just a small SAC detachment of about 50 men. Our equipment at the RBS sites across the nation was very similar to your NIKE Ajax and Hercules. We had a trailer (MSQ-1) with a computerized X-Y plotting board in it, along with the radio communications for communicating with aircraft using the the bomb plot - assigning bomb release times, taking crew info and bomb run information (type, ECM activity, post-release maneuvers, IP inbound, 50 mile call, 25 mile call, bomb release tone, and then transmitting the encoded bomb run and ECM scores).

    There was a separate ECM trailer, and the automatic tracking radar (MPS-9). This was very similar to what the Army had, so since the Air Force needed fresh targets provided by larger cities (surrounded by NIKE sites), and the Army needed live "targets" for practice, the two branches got together............and we got TDY assignments in our assigned cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit to do the training and handle the communications - at first.

    I can share with you now, Ed, that in my experience, had our bombers been from Russia, they would have walked right through us in the beginning. We knew the azimuth, altitude, and bomb release times, and we had so many "aborts" that the Army was embarrassed, and we got our asses kicked by the Air Force for not doing a better job of training. Eventually, we got it worked out.

    I noticed a big difference in how the Army functioned during these bomb runs and how we in the AF functioned. The Army was much more "by the numbers" and more rigid in how they allowed their men to operate. We were all cross-trained and could do all jobs, plus maintain the equipment. Once they let the men use their heads a little more, they did much better. But until then, they were more robotic in their assignments. This is not mentioned as a slur against those Army personnel, just our observation.

    My son, Jeff, was born while I was on assignment in La Porte, Ind (or near there, anyway) at a NIKE site. It was the furthest from my home town, Woodstock, Illinois, where my wife was in the hospital. I arrived after the birth. She was NOT happy.

    I really enjoyed working with the Army guys during those 3 month assignments. The father of one of the guys was a Vice-President at Magnavox at an Illinois plant. I got a job interview with him when I got out, but ended up working for Sundstrand Aviation in Rockford, Illinois on the XB-70 supersonic bomber (the Concorde equivalent), then went to college, graduated, went to work for IBM as an engineer, and now I'm retired. But those years in RBS and working with the Army will always be important years for me. Ain't it always that way, huh? ...



    Happy Ramblings
    Chuck Zellers

    I assume all US units that had Missile Masters had a FUIF system installed. The reasoning was to control which battery was targeting which target(s) within the range of all the Nike sites. As an example, the Missile Master in Omaha was operated by the Air Force who operated the radar at Missile Master used to identify all flying aircraft. Target information from Missile Master was sent via phone lines to each battery FUIF system, allowing selective targeting, i.e., avoiding two or more missile sites locking on and firing at the same target(s). I'm not sure when FUIF equipment was 1st installed at sites...I do know the system I worked on was there in 1961.

    I did visit the "Blue Room" in the Missile Master in was blue or had a blue lighting cast over it and was big, many displays, large plotting boards, a big computer room.

    Looking at my orders for the FUIF training at Pedricktown, NJ I notice several others attended, looks like two people for each site in the Philadelphia area...but I never did run into anyone else who was trained to fix FUIF, at least Army people.

    Oh, also I remember during the Cuban Missile Crisis while stationed at Swedesboro, NJ, the Army had Juliet Prowse visit the site. We all went to the mess hall, they handed out those sample pack of cigarettes to us. I assume this was for a morale builder. Yes, she was good looking!....I think at the time she was going with Frank Sinatra.

    Another time the Battery Commander loaded us in an Army bus, took us to the Jersey shore, we went clamming (sic). After the task of finding clams, they took us to a night club who treated us to front row seats and dinner (I think this may have been after the Cuban thing).

    Another story at Crete, Nebraska: After arriving at Crete, the ABAR (AN/FPS-75) radar was not yet installed. When the equipment arrived, we assembled the antenna (parabolic reflector) which was 10' x 40'. The antenna was made of aluminum and weighted around 1200 to 2000 lbs. Anyhow, the assembled antenna was set on the ground until we could lift it to the pedestal. One night the wind came up (it's always windy in Nebraska it seems). The wind blew the antenna over the parimeter fence into a farm field. Boy the Battalion Commander was pissed!

    Another thing at Crete, I guess I remember hearing from other guys about using the MTR or TTR to discourage radar traps by the police. Now I don't know if it really had any effect but one day/night a police car was parked on a side road near the IFC area. The antenna was aimed at the car and the magnetron was fired. The car left shortly thereafter.

    I remember during IG inspection times, if any part count (magnetrons, tubes, etc) was over the TOE(sic?) count, they had us haul them off time dumping in a river!

    I remember becoming the Soldier of the Quarter in Swedesboro and still have the certificate I received.

    In Nebraska, rank at the time was hard to come by. I had enough time in grade as a SP4-E4 and went before a "Board of Review" along with several others. The board was used to select the next E5 in the battalion. A couple of the people had been before the board before. I was selected and of course felt good about it.

    About 6 months before I left the Army, I got orders for Germany. In order to go to Germany I had to reup. I decided not to, partly because SP5-E5 was the highest rank I could achieve in MOS 229.1 (ABAR Maintenance).

    After my decision, a few of my Army friends said :"you'll be back". I never did look back until now. My electronic training in the Army allowed me to work in the computer field until I retired from Unisys.

    Sorry for the just comes out as a person types!


    Chuck Zellers

    Souvenir Hunters
    Mark Morgan
    Oh no, going into a national park or particularly a national military park/ battlefield is a federal crime.

    These two yahoos came in the back side of the park through one of the adjacent developments; the locals noted these two white guys in a fancy truck with all these metal detection gear and immediately called the police and the park.

    We grabbed them with the gear and a few minie balls, got their truck and they both spent some quality time in jail. Well deserved!

    Artifact collectors and pot hunters are a major problem throughout the country; far as I'm concerned if they get caught, they can go to jail permanently.


    Nothing special, just life
    Chuch Sandlin
    We were lucky at C-03 since a group of new troops arrived at about the same time, trained together and stayed together for almost 3 years. Our IFC crews were the same people for all of that time so we worked extremely well together. We also seemed to get excellent officers to work with. Maybe because our battery was tops in the Battalion and the defense most of the time based on SNAP and ORE scores.

    I ran the battery PX for a period of time in addition to my other duties. Toward the end of my tour I was detached to 45th Brigade to run the SAC Radar Bomb Scoring operation and get it back on track. The Brigade was receiving poor performance scores in this area and the colonel wanted it corrected. Sure was nice being a Sp/5 reporting directly to a bird.

    Having HQ 90 miles away in Milwaukee was nice since they tended to bug A & B Batteries more than us. The only disadvantage was that we got hit by ARADCOM and 5th Region regularly since we were so close to the Chicago O'Hare airport and Glenview Naval Air Station.

    C-03 started as a 120mm gun site and was converted to Ajax in the 50's. I'm not sure when it was converted to Herc, but believe it was a dual Ajax/Herc site for some period of time and became a HERC only site in the early 60's. THe HQ and IFC were at Montrose Beach Harbor while the Launching area was at Belmont Harbor. We had a direct line of site across Lake Michgan from IFC to Launch.

    Our radars were on 40 foot towers so wintertime checks and adjustments could get interesting. Both areas were on the lake shore and exposed to wind, snow and waves. On the other hand, there were a lot of high rise apartments to the west and the columating telescopes really provide a detailed view of certain windows. Amazing that people on the 10th floor don't think that they need cutains!

    There are two pictures in the Redstone library that were taken at the C-03 launch area. One is the scene of troops running for cover with a HERC in the background and a highrise building evident. The other is of several HERCs raised on the launchers with a highrise building in the background. Pretty sure both of these are from C-03 launching area.

    C-03 was decommissioned in late 1968 or early 1969 after our group finihed their tour of duty. At one point, the launching area was occupied by an American Indian group trying to claim that it belonged to them as a result of a long lost treaty. The site buildings have been completely removed including the 40' concrete radar towers. The only thing that remains is an access door to the warhead storage area. It is still on the Corps of Engineers list of contaminated sites and may still be "hot".

    Some of the folks I remember:

    [a long list of people - and at the end -]
    Mick Mindikowski - Chicago - we made his brand new car disappear one day - TTR

    Annual Family Day
    Duke Borchardt, CW5, FLARNG
    For about 4 years before site deactivation, at Site NY-25 we would actually plan and carry out an annual 'Family Appreciation Day', with the festivities actually taking place in the Launcher Area. The festivities certainly consisted of some formal(escorted)tours of the entire site by family members, dog handling demonstrations etc..., followed by fun and games for all children, and those young at heart. We would always provide a great cookout and some beer and sodas, and give-always of prizes by the local community. Members of B Btry would always look forward to this function, and was always well attended.


    Cuban Missile Crisis, how I grew up in a hurry in October 1962.
    Jim Whitaker
    After graduating from the University of Nevada in Reno in 1962, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and ordered to report to the Army Air Defense Hercules Missile School at Ft. Bliss, Texas. Halfway through my officer basic school, the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted on October 13 1962. I was pulled out of school early and assigned to Battery B, 2nd Missile Battalion, 52nd Artillery, stationed at Ft. Bliss. This was the only mobile Nike Hercules unit in the world and an integral part of the “strategic army command” force. We immediately initiated procedures for a deployment to Southern Florida, making up only a small part of the myriad of military forces from all the services being mobilized and assembled to address the Cuban missile threat.

    Battery B was deployed at the very most southern tip of the Florida mainland in the Everglades less than 100 miles from Havana and the Russian missile sites. In a two week period, 24 hours a day, the Army Corps of Engineers literally built an island for us in the swamp by bringing in hundreds of truck loads of earthfill to construct an elevated land surface for our missiles and radars which would keep the equipment elevated above the Everglades water level. Battery B was the very first operational Hercules unit in the theater. Batteries A, C and D were deployed further north, aligned in a defensive mode around the “Strategic Air Command” B52 base at Homestead. Three battalions of Hawk missiles were also integrated into the overall aerial defense strategy to bolster capabilities against a low level, over-water attack. Batteries were deployed from Key West, north to Miami on the Atlantic coast, and around the southern tip of the mainland to the west Gulf Coast. Hercules batteries were armed with 36 missiles with varying warheads. Due to the close proximity of our battery to Havana and the Russian missile sites, Battery B was the only Hercules unit that had the capability of conducting either surface to air defensive engagements or surface to surface strikes on the island.

    Battery B went to “battle stations” many times during and after the initial crisis. After President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, the Battery also operated at the highest alert status for many weeks.

    Each day and night during the crisis we played war games with sorties of Russian Migs from Havana flying straight at our site, only to turn around at the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) off our southern shore and return to Cuba. Their objective was to determine how fast and how efficient we were in locking on to their planes with our target tracking radar. We regularly exchanged electronic counter measures in testing each other’s offensive and defensive capabilities.

    During my entire duty assignment in Florida until my discharge in September 1964, we lived in tents in the Everglades. The site was totally isolated, but completely self-sufficient. All missile systems and site support activities were conducted only with generator power.

    Security all around the perimeter of the site, consisted of six rows of stacked concertina razor wire and armed walking sentries. We had no guard dogs.

    Battery B repeatedly distinguished itself during and after the Cuban Crisis. In February 1964, the unit was given the “ARADCOM (Army Air Defense Command) Outstanding Firing Battery” award, in competition with over 130 permanent sites located around the United States. This award was determined by excellence in performance at the required annual “Short Notice Annual Service Practice” which included firing three missiles at drone targets at McGregor Range in New Mexico. The battery was also extended special honors through a “proclamation of appreciation” from the City of Miami for our efforts in the defense of the community.

    The unit was further distinguished by being selected to participate in the testing and firing of a nuclear warhead in a Hercules missile. These tests were conducted at Johnston Island in the South Pacific, and the only time a Hercules nuclear warhead was ever detonated.

    After leaving the regular Army in September 1964, I completed my reserve requirements in an air defense reserve unit with the Nevada National Guard. I stayed active until 1969. Annual training was conducted at the Presidio in San Francisco and Fort Bliss, Texas. I had the opportunity of working and training on various Hercules sites in the San Francisco air defense arena.

    I have an extensive collection of pictures, memorabilia, and film showing actual missile and site deployments along with various daily life activities at our battery during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Most citizens of the United States today don’t realize how close our country came to being involved in a horrible nuclear war in 1962. I know I will never forget it.

    Jim Whitaker
    Captain, U.S. Army

    Ordered to a closed site
    Bill Ellis
    In July of 1957, I had finished basic training, and my orders sent me to a 90 millimeter AAA gun battery at 103rd and Cicero Avenue, in Chicago, Illinois. I got off of the plane at Midway Airport (a few miles north on Cicero Ave), and I took a taxi to the post that was stated in my orders.

    When I got there, the place was in an advanced state of collapse, the Jamesway buildings were falling down, the ones still standing, had weeds growing in the broken windows, even the taxi driver laughed when he saw it, but, I checked my orders again for the 30th time, and sure enough, this was the place. I paid the taxi driver, and threw my duffle bag down on the ground in front of the locked gate and sat down on it.

    For a brief moment, it occured to me, that I could just go back to the airport, get back on a plane bound for L.A. (where my home was), and my hitch would be over before the Army ever missed me. I was totally dumbfounded that the US Army would send me to a closed installation, especially one that had closed for a VERY long time. But, being very young, (and somewhat naive), I just sat there for about 2 hours, wondering what to do next.

    Eventually a passing deuce and a half came along on 103rd St, and I flagged it down, just to ask somebody what they thought I should do next. The 2 soldiers in the truck laughed out loud when they saw my orders, and they gave me a ride then to 22nd Group Hdqrs in Orland Park, Illinois.

    At this point, my Army career was rekindled., and I was posted to the Nike (Ajax) site in Munster, Indiana. I have had many occasions to tell this story over the years, always evoking a laugh.

    Getting Attention
    Rod Van Ausdall

    I was there in Bliss in 1958 -59 or so.After graduation I taught the M31 nuclear warhead - theory and safety in the Special Weapons Department of HAM. Taught general officer and field and company grade classes.

    I remember opening the classes with the potential Battery Commanders by telling them "Listen to me or you will be relieved of your first missile battery command". Some of them sure were in those days!! Great fun!

    Helicopters and Operational Readyness Evaluations
    Bill Shaw

    Just a short comment on the helicopter pad on our site in Bristol,RI. If my memory serves me right at least 90% of our big Operational Readyness Evaluations and Inspector General etc. inspections where "scrambled eggs" were on the hats came by whirlybird. Looked more official that way anyway.

    One such inspection we had, the helicopter had just gotten off the ground in the launcher area and the rear prop failed about 3 ft above the ground. Nobody was hurt tho.

    On the humorous side the pad in the IFC area had a fair size CO2 extinguisher and we were all the time "borrowing" it to cool the beer fast. Finally the Fire Marshall got after us big time.. He kept wondering where all the fires were!

    Then of course there was the added advantage of the element of surprise using the whirlybird on the Evaluation tests. The other inspections were supposed to be somewhat surprise in nature but ALWAYS we were sent an itinerary of the pending arrival of a big wheel.

    Navy AA, Pearl Harbor
    Joseph K. Taussig, Jr., Captain, U.S.Navy (Ret.)

    I was writing a discussion about the total ineffectiveness of the 3"/ and 5" AA guns at Pearl Harbor. I ran across your Nike effort, and your pre-Nike discussion.

    I was a 21 year old Ensign on USS NEVADA (BB-36) on December 7.1941. My battle station was the starboard AA Director in the foremast, just above the Navigation Bridge. We had ten 5"/25 AA guns, and the extremely complex (over 2,000 parts) Ford 19 Director. My guns were firing before 0800 ("At dawn we slept), and around 0805 a strafing bullet went completely through my left hip. The bullet entered the director and it went dead on me. I spent the rest of the morning in Sky Control as the "senior AA Officer available.) All of us, save the starboard director officer were wounded, but all stayed at their batteries. Lots of blood, we lost 60 men killed and 110 wounded on batteries with only 70 assigned men. The second that third firing strings were also slaughtered.

    The trouble is, I have not been able to find a single individual, out of scores of old AA Officers I have called who claim that the old 3" and 5" AA guns (before the VT fuse) ever hit an enemy plane.

    I was hospitalized until April 1946 when I talked the doctors into amputating my leg, and was so glad to get rid of it, I returned to full duty three days later. It took the Navy eight more years to catch their only one legged officer, and the Korean drawdown caught me.

    Our NIKE site in Annapolis is closed and was one of my "stomping grounds." (see )

    I am still trying to find a reported "Pye Report" accumulated shortly after the attack by Rear Admiral William S. Pye which listed all the ammunition expended by the ships present. If you have any leads, I would appreciate it.

    ... thank you.
    Joseph K. Taussig, Jr., Captain, U.S.Navy (Ret.)

    Naha, Okinawa
    Levine, Richard M

    ... at the Nike Hercules site at Naha AFB in Naha, Okinawa. My enlistment ended in 1965.

    There was a Vietnamese Colonel who visited to determine if the Nike's would be deployed in Vietnam. Evidently, he decided they were too large, and too big a target. I believe he settled on the smaller, more mobile Hawk missiles.

    We had a little training in riot control, because it was expected that the Okinawians might riot in protest of the nuclear subs that would be visiting the island. However, there never were any riots.

    I also noted that the Airforce turned off the runway lights when a U2 spyplane would land in the evenings.

    I understand that one of the missiles had accidently ignited, scooted accross the runway, and killed the guards in the launch-site guardhouse. This was before my tour on Okinawa.

    During the typhoon season, they installed large ropes between the buildings, so that we could get between the buildings presumably without being blown away.

    Our commander died at the beach, while his family were enjoying the sun with him. The undertow was just too strong to swim away from. He just disappeared, never to be seen again.

    It was so hot and humid on Okinawa that we needed to keep a bulb lighted in the clothing closet to avoid fungus on the shoes and clothing. One time the bulb went out, and all my shoes grew fungus on them.

    Since the Vietnam war was just heating up at the time my three years was about to be up, the government was considering extending enlistments. Luckily, mine wasn't extended.

    Richard M. Levine
    123 W. Ramapo Av.
    Mahwah, NJ 07430

    This was information for "Nike People", but I thought it also an interesting "Short Story".

    "served in Korea after AIT in Ft. Bliss. AIT was sep 74-Mar 75. Korea F-2/44 launch area, Apr 75- Mar 76. 24U. Then Ft Bliss HHB 2/52 attched, 76-78. Re-upped for Satellite Comm, got training, but because of critical shortage in Nike, was assigned to A 2/56 79-80. Last was Sp/5 24U40. Timothy H. Smith (Byrne) "

    Indianapolis Star history item
    From Frank Martinez Indianapolis Nike Preservation Group

    Dear Ed, Thought you might be interested in this article from the Indianapolis Star News. By Rob Schneider Indianapolis Star/News

    WHEELER, Ind. (August 15, 1998) -- It's easy to miss. But along a county road near here is a paved drive that leads to the past.

    It looks as if it's heading into a cornfield. It doesn't. Instead, it leads to an 8-foot-high cyclone fence tipped with barbed wire. Bushes and trees have done their best to obscure a guardhouse that sits just inside a padlocked gate.

    There are no signs to mark what went on here -- the anxious moments that occurred when the "red phone" rang and everyone wondered if this was the day the country would go to war.

    But past the gate, up the road where grass and weeds have sprouted and through another 8-foot fence, was the business end of an Army Nike missile base. Armed with the best radar of the day, the base known as C47 stood ready to launch missiles at invading squadrons of Soviet bombers, which Pentagon planners were sure would be used against the United States in case of war.

    The missiles were long gone when Don Peterson stumbled across the base as a teen-ager. But the sight stuck in his mind.

    In the years since, he's wondered how long it would take before people began appreciating the Cold War relic.

    He's still waiting for an answer.

    Last November, Peterson found himself choking on his Thanksgiving dinner after reading a story about how the federal government would pay to have the launch area of the base demolished. Incensed, Peterson fired off a number of letters, helped create the Nike Preservation Group and launched a crusade to save the launch area of C47.

    "The Cold War was the longest war in United States history," Peterson said in a letter to U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind. "This facility stands as a constant reminder to future generations of the dark threat of nuclear war, which haunted the American way of life for more than four decades."

    His letters didn't get much attention. Porter County officials just saw the base, which was closed in 1972, as a nuisance. But the state historic preservation staff began looking at the situation because of the pending demolition. Soon, the staff started receiving information from the preservation group.

    In June, the staff recommended that the base be placed on state and national registers of historic places. In the meantime, the demolition plans were shelved, and in October, the Indiana Historic Preservation Board will review the staff recommendation.

    C47 and other bases like it were developed as a last line of defense in the 1950s as the United States focused on the Soviet Union and its aims. Altogether, there were about 300 bases in 29 states. In C47's case, it was one spoke in a defense ring of 21 bases built to protect the Chicago area and the Gary steelworks. Of those, five were in northwestern Indiana.

    Work on the bases began in the early 1950s, and they were first armed with the Ajax missile. Later, it was replaced by the Hercules, which provided one option the earlier missile didn't -- nuclear capability.

    C47 was less than hospitable for those who were not supposed to be there. An armed sentry was posted in the guardhouse, and attack dogs were used to patrol the ground between the two 8-foot-high fences. About 100 men were assigned to the base.

    Among those was Frank Martinez, who in 1966 was an 18-year-old soldier from New York. His images of C47 are still sharp.

    People thought the Russians had built up huge numbers of long-range bombers, and those bombers "would be first in," said Martinez, who now lives in California.

    The notion of using a nuclear weapon to destroy bombers before they released their payloads made sense. The memories of U.S. planes dropping atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II were still fresh in people's minds.

    With a nuclear warhead, the Hercules missile could do more than just knock down a single plane. It could wipe out anything within miles of its blast. "It wasn't so much to kill the pilots. It was to destroy the aircraft, to stop it from flying."

    If things ever reached that point, C47's soldiers were trained for what would follow. The base had a fallout shelter with a 60-day supply of food. Geiger counters and pocket radiation counters that measure radiation doses were part of the equipment on hand.

    Martinez, a fire control technician, traveled to an Army test range in Texas to fire missiles. "If your eyes were not on the launcher when it took off, you couldn't snap your head fast enough to catch it," he said of the Hercules. "It was kind of eerie to stand there. You could see the target, see the missile coming up in an arc, and a little spark would occur. It was a very quick thing."

    John Braun of Indianapolis didn't serve at C47 but was a fire control technician at a Nike base in Munster in neighboring Lake County. Like Martinez, Braun needed a top secret clearance before being allowed to do his job. Secrecy and security permeated his work.

    At any moment the red phone might come alive. "When that phone rang, it could be only from one place," Braun said. A voice at the other end would announce an alert. An officer and enlisted man each would open a special safe, take out and snap open plastic-covered instruction cards with coded information, and start readying the missiles for use.

    But you couldn't talk about any of that, Braun said. When base personnel went into town, it was against the rules to talk to civilians about what they did.

    "If people ever approached us and asked, there was actually a time when we were to get their license number. They would have been picked up and questioned why they wanted to know that." If someone from the base forgot and "shot his mouth off," his friends were expected to report it. Similarly, Braun didn't even discuss what they did with other men on the base, such as the gate guards or clerical staff.

    Even when he left the base, Braun was never more than a phone call away. If he went somewhere, he had to leave an itinerary of where he was going and where he could be reached every day.

    Changes in the country's defense strategies eventually eliminated the need for the bases. The Munster base was closed in 1968, and the Wheeler site in 1972.

    Before becoming involved in trying to preserve the site, Peterson, 36, had never served on a Nike base, never met anyone who had. He did serve in the Army in Europe toward the end of the Cold War, though, and is a member of the Indiana National Guard. "I still guard whatever we're still guarding," said Peterson, who now lives in Noblesville.

    He believes the site is one of the last in the Midwest, if not in the country, where all the components -- launch area, radar towers and administration -- remain primarily intact. That doesn't mean there haven't been some changes to the buildings that once made up the 14-acre base. The area occupied by the administration buildings and radar towers is privately held and is being used as a paint ball camp.

    Vandals have taken their toll on seven buildings in the launch area. But Peterson, whose background is construction, thinks they are still sound.

    The launch area land is controlled by the General Services Administration, pending disposal of the property. The land is generally offered to local governments first and if there are no takers, is put up for auction.

    It's Peterson's hope that he can persuade the state to acquire the launch site and lease it to the preservation group. He expects to submit a plan to the state's Division of Museums and Historic Sites.

    His model is an effort outside San Francisco where a Nike launch area was restored using donations and volunteer labor. Peterson's preservation idea will also be submitted to a state committee of the American Legion next month for consideration. Stephen W. Short, assistant department adjutant with the Legion, has said he would advise the committee that he believes the effort to be worthwhile.

    For Martinez, the goal is more personal: not to forget or repeat a time when nuclear weapons were part of the Indiana landscape. "Here were actual nuclear weapons. A lot of times people didn't know it. They thought it was high explosives on a missile. But there they were."

    People interested in more information about C47 can call Peterson at (317) 776-3868 or contact him by e-mail at: dspeterson3/5commat4/ They can also call Robert T. Peterson of Valparaiso, president of the preservation group, (219) 464-1851, for fax him at (219) 465-6879.

    Best regards, FAM

    Korean 'Battle Stations' Nike launch
    From Roger Rigney

    I was a launcher crewman with "D" Batterty , 4th Bn. , 44th Ada , Camp Huston, Yogu, Korea from about Jan 1967 to about Mar 1968 , supposed to be only a 13 month tour, but a few of us got extended because of the Pueblo incident ....

    I was on duty 20 Apr 1967 when we got a "Battle Stations" (this was nearly an everyday occurance). I was first to check out my missile so it was selected to fire.

    The IFC had been tracking a North Korean Mig ..... after about 20 minutes the Launcher Control Panel Operator was told to stand down, about that time the missile took off.

    The booster landed in the Hahn River , the missile for some reason did not failsafe (blow itself up) as planned, instead came apart in the air and fell over many square miles of S. Korea.

    I remember only one other crewman, the Launcher Control Panel crewman was Myron W. Goad. Maybe some other readers who were on the crew will read this and add their perspective .....

    More info from Ed Durffee, CW4 Ret

    After reading a comment by a missile man in Korea, D Btry, Yogu Re: Inadvertant launch of a Missile, I would just add this which may not be acceptable.

    At the time of the incedent the N. Koreans and the US Pilots in the South were constantly challenging the Air Def on the opposit side by making high speed runs directly at the DMZ and turning just before crossing the line. They could tell who was up to par and who wasn't by the response they got and the time it took.

    It was on one of these occasions that D-btry, Commanded by a Capt Voltz was hot and called to Battle Stations. It was at stand down and the Missile was to be lowered when it took off as described by the young man before and created a real problem. Two things resulted from that incecent.

    1. Batteries were brought to only 5 min Status after that
    2. Capt Voltz was refered to as Stray Voltz from that day on.
    He and his men were found not at fault. BTW, It was not funny at the time.

    Followup from Roger Rigney

    ... 2nd Lt. Voltz ... was probably B.C.O. Battery Control Operator on the day this happened. The Battery Commander was Earl B Savage, he commanded this unit from 3 Aug 1966 to 10 June 1967. ...

    Added story by Phil Esquibel

    Roger, I was the Ops and training NCO, worked with the 1SG and CPT Savage. I had nine days till rotation, my hold baggage had been shipped and I was counting the days. I was a short timer (So I Thought). I had pulled CQ the night before and came off duty. I had just returned from the shower and the house boy was doing his morning chores when suddenly all hell broke loose in the quansonhut, we heard the explosion the place was shaking. The wall lockers fell on us and then moments later here comes SPC Kitchens running from outside to tell uas a missile had taken off and I thought to myself well I guess this is it.

    Later the personnel at the admin area were ordered to the arms room to draw our weapons and then later we were briefed and dispersed to the mountain sides to look for parts and peices. We found some large peices during the next few days and they were taken to the assembly area where they were being collected. As I recall they posted a reward to recover the batteries and I remember the excitement at the admin area the day the gate guard called the orderly room to notify us there was a papason at the gate claiming to have the batteries and he did on his ox drawn cart. I was always curious how much that guy received in won.

    We had a lot of visitors during the first few days to follow. The 8th army CG flew in and the ROK infantry was nearby and special forces guys. I was told that there were some navy personnel at the site also. I assume that they were to be the ones coordinating diving the Hahn river.

    My first Korean 'Battle Stations'
    from Ted Willard
    June 1974 A Btry 2-44th----ChinChon, Korea.

    This is a true story about life at a front line ADA site.
    I had just arrived in country and after the usual time at the Replacement and Processing Center was shuffled off onto the back of a deuce and a half for the 2 hour ride to my new home for the nexdt 12 months. I was greeted by the first shirt and assigned to the launcher barracks and pointed the way. Stepping into the quanson hut, I found the vacant cube and started unloading my duffel bag when the siren started going off.

    Men running past me with web gear and helmets was quite a sight to a 17 year old fresh out of AIT. I ran back up the hill to the orderly room and was handed a M-16 and 6 loaded clips and told to get on the truck with a bunch of other men. We made a dash thru the village to the launching area and as I jumped off, a buck sergeant asked who I was. I told him my name and MOS and he pointed to a berm surrounding one of 3 launching areas and said "get down there and make sure nothing crosses the fence line". Well now I am really freaking out but dutifully assume my post not knowing what the hell is going on.

    There was a flurry of activity in the launcher section which I recognized as crew drills and then the 3 birds were raised into the air as Red Status was announced over the PA. I did your basic low crawl down the side of the berm because I knew if the missle went off I didn't want to be there. I heard a whining scream coming and looked up as 2 MIG-21's came ripping down thru the valley between the IFC and Launcher areas, followed VERY shortly after by 2 F4 Phantoms in full burner. The birds were lowered after a few minutes and status was lowered to Blue.

    I found out later that this was one of those active probes by the North Koreans to see how we would respond to a threat. It was definitely an eye opener for me as to the gravity of the "Cold War" on the penisula.

    U.S. AirForce exercises Chicago Nike Ajax systems
    Phil Rowe
    Hey Phil, you tell some mighty good B-52/B-58 stories on your web site Flying Stories for your Enjoyment. Did you ever play games with NIKE sites?

    Hello again, Ed ...

    Yup. Ever hear of the WEXVAL exercises? They were a while back, late 50's. Well, I was sent ( as a young lieutenant ) as an observer/evaluator to a Chicago area Nike AJAX site to see how the Army troops handled the exercise. Dozens of SAC bombers (B-36's, B-47's and B-52's) staged a mock air invasion of the USA from Canada. Fifty or so airplanes were Chicago-bound and it was up to a coordinated NORAD/ARMY team to find and "shoot" 'em down in the] wee hours of the morning. I was in an AJAX radar van south of Gary (as I recall) watching the exercise unfold.

    Well, you never saw such a Chinese fire drill in your life. My AJAX site saw only two of the penetrators and both of those were heading south, long past their Chicago targets. The troops did manage to track one airplane but never got a good altitude on it, so couldn't "fire". It's a good thing Chicagoans didn't get the results of that fiasco .. or they'd not sleep another night during those Cold War scary days.

    But I did get to view the effects of radar jamming, various chaff drops and the dificulties of trying to get a coordinated air defense system going ... back in those dark ages.

    An Old Crow and Old Navigator/Bombardier

    Yup, easy to believe - as of Jan 1957, at my site in Chicago, we had never seen any form of jamming, even in training. And inter-site and NORAD communication was chancy at best. I'm told that things got much better in the 1960's.
    Ed Thelen

    Nike Radar vs Cop's Speed Gun
    Steve Bardowski
    I wound up being stationed with a Nike battery just over the county line from my home, in fact, I lived at home. I was at Fort Bliss going through ADA Basic and then Herc officer's course, and managed to swap assingments with a guy from Detroit. He was going to Chicago, and I was headed for Detroit. Worked out well.

    ARADCOM was the first major unit of the Army to meet VOLAR [ Volunteer Army] goals. If you re-upped, you could have your choice of assignment, so most of the troops signed up for the Defense Closest to their homes, plus, although the Marines had HAWKs in Viet Nam, there were no Nike sites.

    On of the guys, a 16C named Pat B**** was also a Lake County Indiana boy like me. So he would commute. Many times he was a tad late and push the gas pedal too hard. Whenever a local or State police officer needed to meet his "never existed" speeding ticket quota, he would just hang near the roads leading to the base gate, and sure enough nab some speeding Nike troop. Pat got nailed two mornings in one week. An easy going guy,but the same State Trooper got him both times, and also he missed formation. So, he got restricted to base. Next time he pulled dailies, he made sure he checked out the MTR. Using the 4 power rifle scope issued to calibrate the radar to the individual missiles, he sighted in othe officer's speed radar antenna, called down to his cohort in the van, and had him run full power through the MTR antenna. State trooper's radar goes "BIP". After a while the officer fires up his Dodge and heads for the State Police barracks for a new radar unit. Supposedly Pat did the same thing the next day, and oddly the officer never set up a radar speed trap near the site again.

    Now this may be one of the "stories" EM use to tease the Officers, but I was back in the corner listening him tell a new arrival. By the way, the South Gary admin site, was located with the pits. The IFC was on the East side of Grant street. My Dad was Civil Defense Directer for Gary and was given the site as a base for his volunteer firemen and police. They also had a water rescue unit with a salvaged DUCK. I also learned to drive using the battery roads there. Dad also arranged for an M4E8 Korean war Sherman that had been sinking into the mud at the Gary airport to be moved to the Civil Defense site as a "gate guard" [he was a tanker in World War II].

    Steve Bardowski
    B/1-60 [HERC] ADA

    Ground Observer Corps
    from Tom Van Vleck
    Not all people providing active defense were military -
    Interesting web page about Nike missiles. I remember some stuff from before the Nikes: My dad was Chief Observer for our town in the Ground Observer Corps during the 1950s. These civilian volunteers watched the skies for Russian aircraft.

    Our post, on top of a building known as the Hinsdale Community House (burned down later), was known as Coco-Metro-zero-four-Roger. It was a little unroofed plywood pen about six feet square, unadorned except for a telephone in one of those all-weather clamshells.

    If an observer saw any aircraft, he logged it on a clipboard and called in a report to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, where all observations were tracked.

    Dad organized the volunteers and assigned observing shifts, and took a turn in the booth himself. I was ten or so, and got to go along a couple of times. The observers didn't use binoculars or anything; they just filled out a little checklist for each sighting, and called it in. There was no attempt at aircraft type recognition either, though I do think they asked if it was a jet or propeller. Jets were rare.

    Site 'Clean-up' but screwed out of a Christmas party
    from Julian A. Cini, Major retired
    I deactivated Site C-48, outside of Gary, Indiana. I finished the deactivation right around 1 August, 1962 as I recall. As the battery commander my life was not that bad, I tried to do what I could for the men under my command.

    I was to be assigned to Fort Sheridan, the day I reported to Sheridan the previous commander at C-48 was relieved and I was given command. I was a very old captain with ten years enlisted service, 1940-1950. I got the job with direction from my commanding officer to clean the site up. The first thing I did was fire the First Sergeant, he was a stereotypical lifer, complete with a half full fifth of whiskey in his desk. It did not take long before I discovered that most of the section chiefs were rejects from other batteries sent to C-48, to hide them. I fired most of the senior NCO's, for the most part they were transferred to be someone else's headache, I then was able to choose the best NCO's on site to fill the section chief slots. Colonel Goldman supported me, and it meant quite a fiew promotions for the men left at the site. Most of the replacements I received in my time at C-48 were look ranking missilemen, that made the old hands happy because there was opportunity to get ahead.

    Working Conditions
    The men for the most part were overworked, underpaid, and not appreciated. Many had part time jobs at the Montegomery Wards store, within walking distance of the control site. I was able to get rid of many undesirables at the site because they were involved in a theft ring from the Auto Center. The store manager appreciated the cooperation that I gave him and treated the honest employees well. Duty swapping was acceptable to help meet moonlighting schedules, and the Store accepted the problems associated with alerts.

    Military Duty was one alert after another. We never had enough man to get everything done. Men were given additional duties of grass cutting, and snow removal. For the most part we had to act as our own Civil Engineers, the men had to fix anything that was broken. In those days we had draftees who often brought decent Civilian skills with them. Carpenters, Plumbers, Car Mechanics etc. We relied on them for many things. For the most part the low ranking enlisted men were very good soldiers, intelligent, reliable, hardworking. Really they were the ones who carried the Program. I never thought it was fair that they had to work so hard, long tedious hours, with so little reward.

    Living Conditions
    Officers and Senior NCO's could live off base in contract housing. The lower ranks were in one story barracks, typical. Open bay, foot lockers and wall lockers, latrine with no water closets. We had a hobby shop, a day room with TV, Pool tables, and Ping Pong, but little else. There was no club or theatre, and only a very small Post Exchange Annex. A Nike Site was it's on little Army Post with very limited facilities. Gary was an industrial city full of hardworking men from the steel mills, the type soldiers we had did not fit in with the local population very well. Intelligent young middle class soldiers don't fight very well in working class bars.

    Sick Call
    We had sick call daily, but the type soldiers we had did not malinger so we did not have takers everyday. For medical services we contracted with the Methodist Hospital in Gary. If an Army facility was needed a carryall took the man to Fort Sheridan. If it was serious then Great Lakes Naval Hospital was the best military facility in the area. I had come from Korea, where I had to deal with a high VD rate among the men, at C-48 that was not an issue. For routine dental work their was a dental van that traveled from site to site.

    Morale at C-48 was very low. We had far too many alerts and too few men to do the work. An example of this problem is the story of a party we had planned. The young lieutenants, all very good officers, planned a party for the battery. The food was waiting in the mess hall, there was a well stocked open bar ready to go, and there were models from a Chicago modeling agency who were coming so there would be a few women at the party. Married soldiers and senior NCO's were to take the duty for the night. At 4:00pm we were put on "HOT" status. If we remained on "HOT" the party would have to be cancelled. I called everyone I could to downgrade our status, but no one cared. From that day on the officers and men were bitter, and I could not blame them. The site had improved greatly, it was no longer considered the worst site in the area, the men were doing a great job, and they got no thanks for what they did.

    When C-48 closed, I do not think that anyone regretted leaving that place. It the worst assignment I encounter in twenty-four years in the military. I believe I did my best to improve it, but making the assignment desirable was impossible. Most ADA officers looked for greener pastures, good missilemen went to the National Guard, or got out of the Army. At the time the program was important and men did a good job for their country.

    Practical Joke
    Bill Shaw
    Stationed at C Btry 739th AAA Msl Bn to be called later C Btry 4th Msl Bn, 56 Arty in Bristol, RI (PR38) from Sept 1956 to June 1963
    I lived off post and every time they had one of those things {inspections} I had to either come in and help clean the latrine or supervise same. There was one time however, that we had an inspection that I did get the last laugh (and almost had to face the firing squad), and that was when we had some big Colonel coming through.

    I took a roofing nail and soldered it to one side of a quarter and nailed the whole thing to the bottom of a doorway inside the maintenance shack. The Col. and his cohorts came through and would you believe it the Col. tried to pick it up, his cohorts tried, and just about everyone with him tried to kick it loose. Needless to say, they didn't have much of a sense of humor. Oh well !! In fact the word was put out that the person responsible "would be hanged". This is when our crew all stuck together and nobody said nuttin. I can still see them doing the "bend and stretch" trying to make themselves a quarter richer.

    Greek Adventure
    John J Federico, Jr.
    After I transitioned to the Ord Corps from ADA (a dark day), my first field assignment was to the 138th Ord Co (Jan 76-Jun 78) in Elefsis, Greece (about 30 miles outside of Athens). The 558th Artillery Group provided command and control for the Ord Co, 4 FA Cannon & Honest John Rocket Detachments in northern Greece, and 4 Nike warhead support teams (A-D) of the 37th AD Det (NH) which were located in and around the Athens area. I ran a crew that supported the Herc teams and 155mm Atomic projectile.

    The teams were typical host nation custodial support operations similar to those is USAREUR. Alpha team was located in Keretaea ; Bravo in Koropi (on a mountain top overlooking Athens), Charlie in Katsimidi, and Delta in the town of Kiffisia, Greece. The Greek fire units were manned by the Hellenic Air Force. The Air Force backed the wrong bunch of Colonels during a coup attempt and the gov't that remained in power never forgot that, so the AF had turned into a rag-tag bunch, whose airmen and equip reflected no command interest and minimal financial support. Their launching area equip was in a sorry state of readiness. If I remember right, each site had three sections in an aboveground configuration. (When I served in Nike at Delta 2-44th Arty in Korea, we had a mobile configuration and I think that was the Greek setup too) The missiles were stored in barns (2 sections were all HE heads and 1was a HE/l Nuke mix or was at one time!).

    I felt sorry for the US missile men that had to serve on those sites. The 24U folks never got to do any of what they were trained to do and the 16B folks pulled many hours of guard duty. No nukes were mated to Greek missiles when I arrived there for duty. It seems that during the war with Turkey, the Greek battery commanders thought the Turks were going to attack, so they wanted the US LTs running those custodial teams to hand over the nukes! Fortunately, the Greek HE missiles were closest to the barn doors, so the Americans rolled out the HE rounds, quickly locked the barn doors and got really close to blowing the Greek missiles with US warheads attached in place before things cooled down. At first chance the nukes were taken off status, demated and canned up. This all happened in the mid to late Sixties. I did DS/GS warhead maint on them during my tour in Ord and during a tour at HQ USAREUR, I did the logistics planning to remove those heads from Greece during the early part of 1990.

    So that's my story and I'm stick' in to it!

    Alaska Stories
    While checking opinions and memories about some Alaska events, the following stories came up.
    Bill Momsen wrote:
    After basic training and electronics at Ft. Monmouth, I was sent to Redstone for Internal Guidance Repair (Nike) MOS 254.1 (although I worked in Launcher Control - does anyone work in their MOS?) and posted to Alameda California, December 1957. There we serviced AJAX. We (197th Ord Det, NIKE) were based in OAT (Oakland Army Terminal) actually in a small corner of the Alameda Air Station. ...

    I was there in until December 1958, when I was sent to Anchorage, Alaska (December in California to December in Alaska!) to install the Hercules (194th Ord Det). It was quite interesting, since all the cables were cut to fit underground sites in the US. Because of the permafrost, the missiles had to be housed in above-surface buildings and rolled out on carriages rather than going up by elevator. Of course, none of the cables fit ...

    Foy, Robert wrote:
    We did have live fire ASP in Alaska. The batteries that belonged to the 2d Bn 562d Arty fired out of Bravo Btry which was out in the boondocks behind Eileson AFB. Alpha Btry's IFC and Admin Area looked down from Moose Creek Bluff at Eileson's runway just off the Richardson Highway.

    ... We did fire from "Bravo" Btry. Our unit fired a surface to surface HE round from there. Unfortunately, the section crew only put four screws on the HPU hatch the morning of the firing and when the round was fired, the hatch came off and the round would not take any dive commands. I remember the ASP board that was maintained at "Bravo". It wasn't long before they put up a Herc diving on an outhouse to signify "Alpha's" moonball shot.

    KEITH SIMS wrote:
    Ed, We were at ASP in March-April of 1979 and were celebrating at the conclusion, when the Bn Cmdr announced that we had received our closing orders. It was at this time that Key West also was notified, but I don't know what the exact dates were for the closing.

    StateSide life in 1967
    Bill Evans wrote:

    ... I was skimming thru the other entries, and here are some thoughts about life at the IFC of W92 (A-4-1) in 1967:

    • Barracks: Once I got a car, I lived off-post for some months. Those of us who did, still had to maintain an 'area' ie a bunk, lockers, etc in the barracks, and had to be there each morning for the sweep, damp-mop, and buffer exercise. I enjoyed running the buffer: 'It's all in the wrist.' Of course, since we had to keep up an area in the barracks, during 'hot battery' us off-post guys would have a bunk all ready to go.

      The barracks was a long, low (one-story) building, with a large open area for bunks (double). There were a couple of rooms for the senior E5's, and an attached BOQ for the E6/E7's. I think all the officers lived off-post. The barracks/BOQ is still there, pretty much intact.

    • Guard duty: We had MPs most of the time, but for a while we had to pull guard duty ourselves. That meant we had to go over to Ft. Meade to qualify with the (as I recall) M1 carbine (or M2?) and the .45 pistol. I distinctly recall firing the carbine on full automatic, and with tracer rounds, setting the target on fire. We stood guard duty with live ammo (IFC).

      There was also a commo watch in the BC van, and a fire watch in the HIPAR building. One time on commo I had to hit the red button that sounded a horn in the barracks; we had to come up in status, in the middle of the night. I also remember the message-authentication procedure.

    • KP: We did our own KP. Names would be posted on the bulletin board (which we were responsible for reading, twice a day). There were 3 jobs: DRO (dining room orderly); dishes; pots & pans. The jobs were assigned based on the choices of who got there first. I lived off-post, and had to get up _real_ early in the morning to drive some 30 miles to get to the mess hall first, compared to someone in the barracks, who would just have to walk a few feet. The cook lived in the BOQ.

      I picked DRO till I realized that was actually a whole lot of work: put up all the chairs, do the sweep-mop-buff thing, etc. Then I started choosing dishes, where you worked real hard toward the end of the meals, but the rest of the day wasn't so bad. Pot & pans was by far the worst. One guy just threw a bunch of filthy-dirty, burned pans into the dumpster. They were found by one of the officers. Not good.

    • Mess hall: Everyone was of course there for lunch (many would leave in the evening, and not everyone went to breakfast). Being up on the hill in the IFC area, we could see the bus from the launcher area coming up Muddy Branch Road, which at the time was a one-lane dirt road; we could see the dust. So we'd all hustle down the hill to the mess hall before the bus got there, to get in line before the launcher guys.

      Sometimes the food was so bad, I'd eat several of those little boxes of Frosted Flakes. From time to time they had great rolls, though. For breakfast you could get eggs fixed however you liked them. Sometimes to this day I'll get a whiff of a greasy breakfast cooking somewhere, and it takes me right back to W92.

    • Striking the colors: I think that was the name of the ritual, in the evening when the flag was lowered. There was a scratchy record of the national anthem. When you heard the scratches, everyone would run to get 'under cover' ie in a doorway, so that you wouldn't have to stand at attention and salute outside while the flag was lowered. As I recall, even if you were in your car, you had to stop, get out, and salute. Today they could use a CD, and so there wouldn't be any scratchy sound to use as a cue.

    • PX: We had a little room at the back of the admin building in the IFC, that was the 'PX.' From time to time, notably at the end of hot-battery week, we'd have a bit of a party. There was even beer, if I remember right. Being a guitar player, when I lived on-post and had my guitar and amp there, I would play, and there would be a lot of general goofiness. In context, it was fun.

    • 'War games': One time we had an exercise where the off-duty IFC guys were taken in the bus to the launcher area, and we spent the night in one of the magazines, ie a 'fallout shelter.' It was crowded, and the spot I got was directly under the warhead of a Herc.

      Another time, I was doing EWPB/commo during a nighttime exercise, and had headphones on, but I could hear a low sound outside, getting louder. It was a chopper, and all of a sudden someone was shouting 'Gas! Gas!' We all know what that means- masks on. I can't remember if they actually dropped some gas.

    Bill Evans

    G.I. Soap

    I (Ed Thelen) was exchanging e-mail with JP Moore about Red Canyon. Quoting from one of his messages:

    "Our ships have passed in the night. Feb 55 I was one of two GI's who kept the mess-kit wash facility operating! After eating in the mess hall, you exited to MY PLACE, where I had lye soap laced water boiling in GI cans in which you washed your kit. One soapy barrel and two clear rinses. The other guy and I alternated, 24 on, 24 off. For five months! ( A highly specialized field, few replacement volunteers.)

    I never received any formal Nike training. All OJT, much of it from civilian tech-reps. Yet, I believe I could walk into an Ajax site today and operate the system. Same way with the Bomb/Nav system on B-47 bombers. Some things you enjoy so much that they are never forgotten."

    I had completely forgotten about those big brown ugly all-purpose evil-smelling bars of "GI Soap". According to very easy to believe folklore, if you did not rinse the soap off well, you would get the "GIs", gastro-intestinal misery involving many sudden trips to the toilet. That soap was definitely not ready for the civilian market!

    A person could easily modify a "Jody Call" to
    GI soap and
    GI gravy
    Gee I wish I'd joined the Navy
    Sound Off, One, Two
    Sound Off, Three, Four
    Sound Off ...

    ?Re-Up or not?
    From Ed Thelen

    Phil Rigney was telling of his dis-jointed military carrier which reminded me of this story on me.

    I was in for 3 years 1954-1957, then mustered out, and then went right back to the site in Jackson Park (63rd & Outer Drive) Chicago and lived there - a civilian, just as though I was still in the army.

    After about a week the battery commander saw me in the mess hall and came over to me and asked if I was thinking of re-enlisting.

    That suggested to me that maybe I should think more seriously about my future.

    I remembered that if you catch a fly in your hands - with out harming it - (I was quicker then) - you could keep it as a pet for a while by the following trick.

    Keep the fly in your 2 cuped hands in the dark for several minutes. Shake your hands sharply several times, I thought that helped dis-orient the fly. Then open your hands - the fly will not fly away for a while - it will walk around but not fly away.

    I thought my military experience was like that - and that I was like the fly. I decided that I did not want to be a fly, so I went back home, got a job, went to college, ...

    Alaska 'Chopper
    From Bob Getman

    Hi Ed, a short tale you may enjoy. Shortly after arriving at Ft. Richardson, outside Anchorage, Alaska, I was assigned to C Battery of the 1st Bn 43rd ADA, The battery was located at Goose Bay on Knik Arm, an inlet adjacent to Anchorage and the Fort. Located across the inlet from the fort, it was pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, and the drive by truck, from the fort,around the Arm, was close to 90 minutes. The battery did, however, have its own gravel airstrip which allowed for travel by air.

    When I was first assigned there in '72 this was accomplished by, "Otter". Single engined DeHavilland prop planes, which made enough noise to deafen you on one flight. The fort had 2 and they made daily flights in the morning and afternoon,transporting personnel who lived at the fort to the battery and back again. I'm not sure how old they were, but I recall that one had a brass plate behind the pilots seat proudly proclaiming its rebuilding by the manufactruer in 1957!

    I couldn't say just when it took place , but sometime later a helicopter unit was assigned to the fort. Gradually, transport was taken over by the Huey's. During the more moderate weather some of the pilots( it was said they were the vets form 'Nam) flew with the doors locked open . A ride from some of these guys could turn into a real adventure. I vividly recall one flight when the pilot decided to chase a moose he'd spotted down on the mud flats. He got right down on the deck and made a half dozen passes,after that galloping old cow! One pass in partifcular, he whipped that chopper up on it's side to follow her and my buddy and I hung suspended, held in the side gunners seats only by the seat belts and straps! From that ride on we always ran for the choppers with the open doors!

    Electrifying Experience
    From Frank Martinez

    December of 1967 at C-Battery (Wheeler, Indiana site, Porter County)

    Our site was snowed in due to the worst storm in twenty years. The site was locked down but still functional. I was working with another IFC Mechanic when we found a problem with the PPI scope. We notified Battalion that we had to drop status for one hour and proceeded to power the BC van down in order to change the scope.

    We pulled the PPI chassis and secured it for the swap. My fellow IFC mechanic reached around to unplug the power cable and immediately started dancing without music. I recognized a pained look on his face and saw that the power cable did not want to let him go. I decided it was not in my best interest to relieve him of the cable. Instead, I rolled the BC's chair forcibly at him and managed to get him disconnected.

    He spun around a few times and kissed the computer cabinet. Now he was face down (All 250 lbs) on the floor, unconscious and barely breathing. I weighed in at 135 lbs. I managed to role him over and proceeded to give him mouth to mouth.

    The frequency converter prevented me from attracting any attention in the IFC area for assistance between breaths. A TTR operator was passing the van entrance and glanced in. He kept walking because he didn't believe what he saw, which was two IFC mechanics kissing. Well after he regained his composure, the idiot called for help.

    A CWO ran in and proceeded to provide cardio resuscitation. The patient now regained steady breathing. We contacted our Medic who was new to NIKE sites and didn't know where the IFC area was. The next problem was how we were going to get him hospitalized.

    No vehicular traffic nor helicopter could move in the storm. We notified the police and they agreed to assist us if we could get him to a major highway. We drove the company commanders station wagon out of the battery area until it stalled then lugged this gorilla two miles by hand on a stretcher. Our boy recovered and was eating a steak dinner at Valparaiso Hospital that night. We had to eat C-Rations because we ran out of food during the storm. The local Reserve Marines came to our rescue with a bulldozer and shoveled the battery area and helipad.

    This PPI scope was now under intense scrutiny. The Battery Commander was trying to figure out who he was going to blame. Further investigation found the PPI scope bleeder resistor open (Thanks to our repair depot). This made the entire PPI scope a slow discharging capacitor of several thousand volts. The gorilla could no longer touch a cable without sweating. I was supposed to be written up for an award (Army Commendation etc.). Since this was very embarrassing to the Repair Depot my award was swept under the carpet, never to be heard of again.

    I walked back to the barracks, brushed my teeth and washed my mouth out for several hours. Later that night in below zero weather I was on the ACQ tower changing a magnetron and wonder what I had done wrong to deserve this kind of treatment. End of Story

    On-The-Job Training
    From Mike Jordan, Major, ADA (Ret), Albuquerque, NM

    As a brand new 2LT, commissioned out of Fort Sill Artillery OCS in January 1968, I went directly to Battery D, 1st Bn, 62d Arty, Grafton, IL (Site SL-90). I did not go to Fort Bliss for any Nike specific training. All of my training was OJT on Site. I was assigned as Launcher Platoon Leader.

    One night that remains very strong in my memory was a night on duty as BCO in April 1968. This was the night that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot in Memphis, TN. We were not the "hot" battery. I got a call about 0200 hours in the morning from the duty officer at 53d Arty Gp (our next higher headquarters) at Scott AFB, IL, wanting to know how many troops we could afford to send down to the St. Louis inner city for riot control duty.

    I was never given an explanation for being sent straight to the site without going to formal schooling at Fort Bliss, but everyone at the site said it was to my advantage to learn how thing were done "in the real world". I was told by the Battery Commander when I arrived that I had 30 days to get BCO qualified or I would move into the BOQ on site until I did. I passed my ORE on the 29th day. I arrived on Site in Feb '68 and went to Bliss for the first time as LCO with the SNAP crew in April.

    'Tracking' with alignment scope

    From Peter Wurzbach C/4/562 (1966-67)

    According to technical information elsewhere on this website, the tracking radars were calibrated mechanically with telescopes and electronically with pulses. One day a guy brought a telescope to me to send in for repair or calibration. I can do that. But being curious I asked what it was for and was told that it was for mechanical alignment of the tracking radars. How? And I was told.

    So I got this bright idea to go out to the TTR the next time we were on hot status, mount the telescope and see whatever.

    Now, when we were on hot status (1966-67) we tracked Air Force B-52s to test our radar tracking skills. We knew there would be 'runs' at us but we never knew when or how often. Runs would start after dinner and end before breakfast. I think the record was 23 runs one night. That drove one of our ACK operator nuts. But he was good at it. The B-52s scored us based on our capability to avoid their jamming and lock onto them with either TTR or TRR. This scoring was serious stuff. Missed lock-ons (successful jams) generated hot memos.

    So the next time we were on hot status I mounted the telescope on the TTR and watched. I'm on the TTR platform so I rotated with the antenna. No doubt about it, we were locked onto a B-52, I tracked it on the telescope for 10 minutes as it traversed our area. Fantastic!

    'Visiting' with a purpose
    Ted Willies

    Just for the record, I wasn't exactly "visiting" when I went to other sites. While at Group HQ I was on the Operational Readiness Inspection [ORI] Team, so I got to see all the sites in the SF Defense.

    They were not usually happy to have us stop by, however. It was often late at night and 15 minutes after we cleared the gate, there had better be a missile ready and a target tracked light.

    ...we usually traveled by vehicle (sedan if we were lucky, van if we weren't). Sometimes we could hitch a ride with the old man in his chopper if he was going to visit the site. General Lolli liked to go on the ORI's every so often. He was qualified as a BCO and had fired missiles at the range.

    Hoover the computer

    little story. When I arrived at our missile site right after basic training I thought Wow high tech until they told me to Hoover the computer. Thought they were teasing me. Then I saw the tubes.....

    Peter Vaneynde

    My late father was the commander of one of the Belgian Nike sites in Germany. Aah, the German sausage, the English bread, the Belgian food, the American barbecues... bliss.

    I know my father was trained at El Paso, and that the test firings where in Crete (Souda bay).

    I also have heard a lot of amusing stories. Like one day my mother gets dozens of phone calls of personnel that only asked one question : "What's your name again?". Guess what the password for the day was?

    The day the US bombed Libya security was at an all time high. I knew something was up when the gate was closed, the barbed wire was extended, the concrete gate was closed and a lot of security people walked around with guns at the ready... And I just wanted to go see the movie that evening :-).

    Air Mobile Nike & Germany wasn't all fun and drinking
    From Dennis T. Morgan

    I brief, I attended one of the very last Army AIT's for 24Q20(Nike- Hercules Fire Control Technician) matter of fact they were considering sending our class to Fort Benning, GA to jump school. Some idiot got the idea to make a Nike Sys. air mobile. They pushed one out of the back of a C-130 over White Sands. Needless to say vacuum tubes don't take kindly to being bounced off the desert floor, chute or no chute. Ended up send the whole system back to Letterkenny Army Depot for rebuild. Incidentally, Letterkenny (of Nike, Hawk, and Patriot Missile fame) is located in the town of Chambersburg, PA. I happen to be from Chambersburg, PA.

    I graduated after 40 some weeks of AIT and was sent to Dexheim, Germany. There the concept of 24 hours on duty 24 off introduced me to military mathematics 'cause 24 off sure equated to a couple of beers a few hours of sleep and back to the IFC area. I was stationed there during the Iranian hostage crises and the trash can bombing in Munchen during Octoberfest, Polish MIG Fighter Pilot defection (there's a joke to that, something about suck starting a jet engine) and not to mention the Red Army Faction and other terrorist group activities in the area at the time. Point is we stayed hot pretty regular. We'd come down in status to perform scheduled maintenance and the age old adage, (I had always thought it was introduced in the original M33/Ajax Tech Manual) "If ain't broke don't fix it" came into play. Due to these occurrences I received a massive amount of OJT. For an have an ORE (Operation Readiness Evaluation) Team walk up to your gate and announce "Blazing Skies Simulate Case 3" You're looking at either firing a surface to surface round in less than 20 minutes or being called out of action which means every other battery moves up a status notch. Even the battery with the waveguide torn apart in their TRR from replacing ferrite switches. So you learn your systems quirks and capabilities, and how to pass an ORE. Sometimes you had to cheat a little but the idea there was not to get caught and lord help you if you did. I was never told nor did I ever hear of what the punishment was for get nailed falsifying and tactical evaluation. I never wanted to know but I seriously doubt it would have been a pat on the back for being creative.

    Moving right along, I left Deutchland to come back to the world. Big mistake. In Germany you were rated by job performance, back in the states I had to be reacquainted to regular haircuts, a high gloss shine on my jump boots, and biting my tongue when I saw an NCO screw up. I guess I was elite, refined, and combat capable were as the most of the other troops at McGregor Range/White Sands had no idea what it was like to live eat and sleep in an RC Van the high frequency pitch of syncro resolvers humming you to sleep as you lean back against the Radar Set Group and prop your feet up on the black Formica topped board used to rest you're hands on after they get to feeling as thought they weigh a ton from the constant and steady cranking of the handwheel drives. Pretty poetic huh? I finished my tour even followed the process of re-up. Took the Army flight physical (I wanted to go to Warrant Officer school and fly helicopters). But, job offers convinced me to go to the private sector.

    I got back to Chambersburg, figured on drawing unemployment and doing some hunting and fishing for a few months before jumping into a job, that didn't work out. Seems Ronald Regan came up with an Omnibus Budget Act stating that if you got out of the military on your own accord you were not eligible for unemployment. After a high toned conversation with the supervisor at the unemployment office it was clear that since I was not dishonorably discharged and was not barred from reenlistment I couldn't draw. The VA Rep. heard of conversation (and my opinion of the whole concept) and came over to somewhat calm me down. He had a job opening at Letterkenny with a private contractor but the guy was looking for someone with 10 years Nike experience. He asked me how well I could bull**** and after I explained that I was an honest upstanding young man and that the truth was my forte I believe he'd of hired me on the spot. Two hours later I was sitting in the home/office of a Mr. Alfred Cyril Toll Jr. We talked Nike talk and he hired me that day I was to start the next day 13 November 1981 a Friday at that.

    RAD Consultant Services Inc. was a dream job. Owned by Al Toll we contracted directly with the government. What occurred was that Al had retired from the military at Letterkenny. His retirement coincided with the Army's phasing out and salvage of Nike assets. Al pick up damn near every asset that Letterkenny had. We in turn re-engineered the Receiver/ Transmitter somewhat state of the arting following the guide line that the Norwegians, Germans, and Japanese had set. Of course we were able to freelance and I virtually rewrote the Theory Manual. We would install these systems, mostly for the Navy, and instruct a course on the operation and theory of. This kept me traveling quite a bit. EW Ranges and Naval Air Stations such as Fallon, Widby Island, Pincastle, China Lake, Pacino- Sicily, and Roosevelt Roads-Peurto Rico became like second homes. We would engineer from the field and R&D as we went along.

    Nike as Bomb Scoring
    From David and/or Minnie Hawkins

    I was a BC van operator in the Boston/Providence defense sector. First at Rehoboth, Mass. then at Bristol, R.I. The first was an Ajax site and the second was an Hercules; the improved Hercules site. I was in Nikes for 3 years.

    A few years ago I was at the Fallon, NV Naval Aviator training site and went to the range on a day off. They were using an IFC site setup to score bombing runs and things. They had an RC van with all three radars and they worked great. This was more than twenty years after I had left the Army. You may still be able to go there.

    Non-technical Support operations
    From wurzbach

    Keep in mind that I was a support person in the capacity of supply specialist. At our site support personnel usually bunked in the IFC barracks. So I naturally migrated towards IFC personnel and felt attached to them. Perhaps the real action was in the missile pits and I missed it. I don't know. On the few occasions when I visited the launcher area I did not feel unwelcome. This was in 1966-67. We did have our rivalry, though: scope dopes Vs pit rats. My closest contact was with an SP5 who worked in the warhead building.

    Story # 1
    I arrived at Battery C, 4th Battalion, 562nd Artillery on March 24, 1966. I was an SP4 supply specialist and armorer by MOS 76K30. My duty assignment was as 'duty driver' instead of guard duty or KP and I pulled this duty about one week every month. The best and most interesting duty was when our battery was on 'hot' status.

    As duty driver, I was available from dinner to breakfast to drive anyone anywhere on official business. I also manned the telephone switchboard, which was a manual unit, during my shift.

    One of my jobs as duty driver was to strike the U.S. Flag every evening and raise it again the following morning. Flag raising formally required a ceremony performed around sunrise. But in reality, troops and officers arriving on-post came in after sunrise and were more interested in breakfast and coffee than a flag raising ceremony.

    Texas in 1966 did not observe daylight savings time. During the summer months the sky lightened around 4:15 to 4:45 am. There's no one around at that hour so what I did was to go out to the flagpole when the sky began to lighten and raise the flag. No one ever knew that a flag raising ceremony was never held. No bugles, either. No reveille, no taps.

    Later on in the year when sunrise came later in the day I just went out and raised the flag in the dark before any officers or men began arriving on post for the day. No one ever knew what they missed.

    Story # 2
    At C/4/562 in Alvarado, Texas we depended on many other facilities for support. Our mess hall drew rations from the Carswell Air Force Base commissary in Fort Worth. Our site PX also 'bought' stuff from Carswell's Base Exchange. I was an employee of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service running our site exchange. Medical hospitalization was provided by Fort Wolters in Mineral Wells, TX which also was the location of our Battery D. Military driver's licenses were issued at Fort Wolters and service exit medical exams were performed there. I once had to drive to Fort Hood to exchange some missile igniters. When we needed to send excess or expended items to a salvage facility, I took them to the Dallas Naval Air Station.

    On one such trip, I took a load of worn out lawn mowers to DNAS. But the clerk wasn't up to his challenge that day and I got him to sign off on having received this junk and then I took it all back to my battery. I don't remember what we then did with it. Maybe we donated it, I don't know.

    By 1966 we did not have weekend passes. In fact, Nike service was treated as a 9-5 job Monday to Friday with weekends off. Except when we were on 'hot' status. We could go anywhere, do anything, as long as we didn't get arrested. One guy did, for rape. I had to attend his trial in Dallas as a military observer. In uniform I couldn't sink low enough on the church type bench to escape the prosecutor's attack on the Army person who was on trial. He was in uniform. I was in uniform. It was a sad event. He got 30 years. He's probably out now. Don't know where he is. He was a cook and made damn good coffee for us. That's all I can remember about that incident.

    Saw First Herc at White Sands
    From B.R. Blaydes

    I don't know where you served but the unit I served with both sections got along very well. I trained at White Sands and TAS at Bliss and then Edgewood we went on permanent site at Jacobsonville every where I served the men all got along very well . I also served from Feb 1955 to Feb 1957 and we fired all of our shots from Mcgregor Range the R-cats were launched from Oscura range camp

    When I was first assigned I did a short stint at white sands and had the chance to see the first Hercules fired at the proving grounds I then went back to Bliss with the 602nd AAA for more training and then back to Mcgregor to fire the equipment .About the time our training was complete we were to go to Chicago and I was happy about that because it would put me about 3 hours drive from home , well as luck would have it at the last minute orders were changed and the 602nd was assigned temp at the Edgewood arsenal on the south edge of Aberdeen Proving grounds

    We stayed there until the permanent site was completed. We were then realigned and my unit became "C" btry 36 AAA missile Btn.Headquartered at Fort Meade, The site I was located at was at Jacobsonville ,Pasadena MD located on the Chesapeake about 10 miles north of Annapolis. I find it very unusual that you were not permitted in the fire control area as it were with our unit there were times when I came to the fire control area and worked as a ttr operator, acq operator or missile tracking operator, the only area that was left totally to certain personnel was the fuel and assembly and Rf Check and war head installation as you have probably noticed I did the fueling and war head installation but all of us who trained at Bliss who came with the original package worked where ever we were needed. The shoulder patch I wore was similar to the one on you page but it was one missile in the center with an A on either side of it. I do have several pictures of the launcher area.

    The Sky is Falling
    from Paul

    Hi Ed, I thought that I might fill you in on my Nike experience of 1958.

    My mom and I were visiting my aunt and my cousin Nancy on the fateful day. After lunch Nancy and I were out playing and wandered off to the radar installation which was through two neighbor's yards and then a bit into the woods. Just as we got there we heard the explosions and started running home, sure that we were under attack. As we ran, I heard things falling through the trees. We went into my aunt's cellar and waited for about an hour, before going upstairs to listen to the radio and turn on the TV. We noticed that all of the drinking glasses in the sink had their bottoms broken out but there did not seem to be any other damage.

    Outside the Army was closing the roads and going door to door to make sure everyone was all right. A large piece of one of the exploded missiles landed on my Aunt's property, down near the Earle military road. We were never able to find out what it was.

    Interestingly, only a week or so before the explosions, my father had taken me to the Middletown base for an armed Forces Day Open House. Everything was on display, hot dogs, popcorn.

    I haven't got started on newspaper research, since I live in Oregon now, but hopefully the net will help. Hope that this little diatribe isn't too long.


    Moon Shot from Alaska
    From Bill J. Proffitt

    I saw the comment on the webs site about the Anchorage sites. Thank you. I really don't know too much more except the nuke Nikes were kept at site A next to the Anchorage Intl. Airport.

    Lots of barbed wire, razor wire and cyclone fences. The first sign you encounter is-If you are not on official business-turn back deadly force will be encountered. Consequently I had to reason to be there and did not go past the first gate.

    Site B on the mountain top and Site C at Goose Bay had only the HE heads. The mountain site was spectacular. Then engineers cut off the top of a mountain in the Chugach range, and bored a base in it. It seemed kind of funny though that you could see the whole base from the top chairlift of the Arctic Valley Ski Slope (commercial side). They did a test fire once per year and everyone at Ft. Richardson would gather to watch the fire come from the mountain.

    One of the missiles did have a problem and went straight up and then straight down into the Moose Run Golf course at the base of the mountain. Scared the hell out of some duffers on the driving range!!. I never understood, except for security reasons, why they kept the nukes literally in town next to an airport and the HE stuff out of town. If god forbid, something had went wrong with one of the nukes, I would have thought it safer to have one go off way on top of a mountain range or across the large inlet from the major population area of Alaska. An airliner crash possibly could have contaminated the area. I realize the safeguards on our weapons are supposed to be top notch, but when a 707 crashes, it does lots of damage. Anything else I can do for you, please drop me a line. Thank you for adding and maintaining this essential part of our history.

    Bill P.

    "Roll #@%@ $%@ Roll!"
    From John Morgan

    I was a Nike Hercules fire controlman when I was in the service. (NATO Germany). Thanks for collecting the information.

    "They drew a line and the Herc made sure they never crossed it."

    (Quote from web page") "Remember, this missile goes off like a bottle rocket..."
    More like a bullet. Boom....gone. I was on an ASP crew. I was scored for the drill so I got to see that beast disappear. I was impressed... Manned space shots have to go slow else their eyeballs would drain through their ears.

    The moonshots you mention were a bit of concern. When the Herc was launched I was standing under a concrete cover with the WO4. A few seconds after launch we were staring straight up and Chief yells "Roll #@%@ $%@ Roll!"

    Just like everything else around those sites the Chief ordered a roll and the missile put its nose down range.

    ---------- Life on the site remembered --------
    I think it's evident who were the real manly men of the Nike sites. It seems every month some group of terrorists just ran over all the MP's and pit rats and took over a barn. In my two years on site, 30 drunk radar tech's and operators never failed to retake the barns so quickly that our beer got warm.

    I've noticed a forgotten group of people. The MP's that manned the towers and defended the space between the fences were indeed a part of the life of the site. They had the worst job of all. They used to have dogs to help them patrol the fence lines, but the dogs were always getting lost. When the Army decided to quit replacing them the MP's had no choice but to give up the monthly barbeques.

    Juarez - South of the Border
    Ed Thelen
    I received some junk mail, in German, that had strings like "Dating Web Team" and references what appeared to be Russia.

    I sent it to Don Bender for mutual amusement. Don sent back

    > ...    Are you going to
    > put this down as a link on your site? Or, maybe you
    > could have a link to the "Girls of Juarez" Web site if
    > there is such a thing. It might be more appropriate
    > for the Nike topic! Part of Nike package training??
    Well - That aspect of Nike training life is a bit under reported.

    Juarez, Mexico was just across the bridge from El Paso, Texas, where The Artillery School at Ft. Bliss was situated. El Paso was a bit stuffy - most of the locals and soldiers seemed to go across the border for bull fights, liquor shopping, ... There were good cheap resturants with outstanding Mexican music. Older folks might remember the popular album by herb Alpert "Tijuana Brass" - similar quality. There were other recreations.

    Part to the recreation available was a street of brothels "Pig Alley", reportedly owned by the chief of police. A drunken soldier was safer there than most places in the world.
    The booze was slightly cheaper in the establishments in Pig Alley than the usual bars, and you could talk and joke there - may I say like a British pub? And there were girls hanging about there.
    We had a guy in our barracks, not in our training package, who wanted to marry one of the "working girls". He was really upset when she ran-off-with/married? a truck driver.
    Another guy in our barracks had a "working girl" as his girl friend. He would visit with her in her place of employment, bar on ground floor, bed rooms above. If someone else got interested in her, off she would go upstairs with the paying customer.
    Our guy had trouble keeping money from month to month - so he just gave her his pay check and she kept the accounts. When he needed some of his money, he got some more from his girl friend. That way he had money during the last two weeks of the month.
    When he was going to be shipped out, she presented him with what he said were accurate records, and also about two months of his accumulated pay. Even at that time the arrangement seemed more honest than the average American marriage.
    Ah - stories - where to stop?
    There was a serious guy in our class who showed up at school one Monday morning and would not take his hat off - not even when suggested by the civilian instructor. One of his friends grabbed his hat. The head was freshly shaved bald, and tattooed across the top of the skull was something like "I Love Suzie". Apparently this serious guy had been led far astray by his rowdy friends. The guy said that he remembered nothing.
    One establishment seemed populated by Texas Western co-eds (local El Paso college). Many shunned the place - too close to home? - maybe reminded us of previous girl troubles? the girls seemed loud, brazen, unfriendly? who knows?
    Life in the military student barracks was - er - confining. No privacy, even the toilets were exposed to public view. Wiping your butt in plain view of 5 other people doing the same is not the togetherness I wish for. All your stuff had to fit into a footlocker and tiny vertical locker, daily area inspection - place had to be neat and all beds made. Walking to the mess hall several hundred yards away with its limited open hours was not fun. ... We envied married students who could live "off-post" in rental housing. Three of us decided to try to rent a house - in cheap Juarez (our take home pay was $72/month). So as we strolled about a residential section of Juarez we started asking about renting a house - casa. (That was just about our limit of Spanish). So we three gringos wound up in a little residential store using our extremely limited Spanish and waved our arms to help fill in the language gaps, Suddenly the young lady cashier turned very embarrassed and called for her husband. His knowledge of English was slightly (I think) greater than our Spanish. "AH - I know" and waving arms and fingers, he directed us three block this way and a block that way. We arrived at a much more classy "cat house" than found in "pig alley". Not the kind of rental house we had in mind! We were very out of place.
    I always felt sorry that we had embarrassed the lady cashier - We really didn't think we were "Ugly Americans".
    It turned out that the Army was way ahead of us - enlisted students had to be *married* to live off post. :-((
    For many years there after, I could claim to have been in more whorehouses than hotels. Little experience with either, but the basic fact was correct ;-))

    While at Ft. Bliss, I bought a car, (with my $72/month Army pay)
           $25 down and $25 when the paperwork arrived from his sister. (never did)
    Car smoked a lot - needed a ring job - at least -
           I worked on that car, at night, in the parking lot - for a week.
                crawling around on the cold tar, no jacks
                putting  in new rings and main bearings -
                My first (and last !!! ) engine job !!!
           Unfortunately the pistons had been damaged by all the blow-by
                and I knew the new rings would soon fail.
           Sold car to friend who had helped for $50 - (no papers)
                friend wanted to sell car in Mexico, "had connections" .
           Well, no paperwork triggers his arrest in Mexico -
                his "connections" got lost - he went to jail -
           His mother (in Wisconsin) got him out in 2 weeks.
                He never told us a thing about his jail time !!!
                   We assumed it was worse than being mugged.

    My game in Juarez was to come home with a
         quart of that lovely Bacardi dark rum, $1.25 each,  each time.
              - one quart was the US Customs limit for free -
         Great stuff !!
         When I left Ft. Bliss, I had like 40 quarts in my trunk
              thought I was set for life  :-))
         Along about Oklahoma, I starting smelling this wonderful smell,
               great, what happy memories - but it was too good -
         I stopped, and opened the trunk,
               it was swimming, overflowing in rum -
         Somehow many of the horizontally stacked bottles
               - had opened - and mostly emptied -
         Story over, everyone cry with me :-((       ;-))

    If you have comments or suggestions, Send e-mail to Ed Thelen

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    Updated Mar 6, 2014