Archive for the ‘Nike Bases’ Category

Fire on Clausland Mountain near tunnels of Tweed

A fire on Clausland Mountain is finally under control after more then 24 hours. Several homes were threatened, but local firefighters were able to prevent any damage to them. The mountain is more than 300 acres of woodlands with hiking trails thru out. The mountain is home to the Bluefields Rifle range, more commonly known as the tunnels of tweed

take a tour of a cold war relic in the Florida Everglades

Tours of old Nike bases now being offered

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK – At the height of the Cold War, anti-aircraft missiles stood at the ready here in Florida’s swamplands, protecting the South from a potential Soviet nuclear bomber attack launched from Cuba. For almost two decades, beginning shortly after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the HM-69 Nike Hercules Missile Site was manned by about 100 military personnel, one of the last lines of defense if the unthinkable happened. When it closed in 1979, the park took control of the site.

Now the site is undergoing a rebirth of sorts as a public exhibit, drawing the curious who want to see the Cold War relic along with those who stumble upon it while visiting Everglades National Park. With a $10 Everglades admission fee and a phone call to park officials, tourists can join the hour-long driving tour of the Nike site, which was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. Although the missiles were dismantled and removed, visitors can see the site’s administration building, the tiny missile assembly shed, the missile barns and protective berms. Tours continue through March, during the park’s peak season.Sites like this sprung up during the Cold War to defend U.S. cities from attack and send the Soviets a message of strength. The missiles in South Florida were certainly not hidden — at 41 feet (12.5 meters) tall, anyone could see them. While some Nike missiles were nuclear-tipped, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis said the weapons at the Everglades site probably weren’t.

“You could just drive down the road and see them setting out there,” said Bobby Jones, who was transferred to the site in 1965, when it was still a temporary operation. “The missiles were setting on trailers. … everything was mobile. We could move within an hour. The radar and everything.” Jones repaired diesel generators used to power the site, including its radar system and missile launchers. He remembers the wild birds and alligators that he shared the land with, and the porous ground that the site was built upon. “I had never seen anything like South Florida before in my life,” said Jones, who was from Missouri. “It was all really new to me. And I was fascinated with the wildlife there.”

Park officials said interest has been high in the landmark, which takes on a greater relevance this year, the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. They have already added an extra day to the tour schedule. “I think certainly in this community, what people focus on is how things were doing the Cuban Missile Crisis. And a lot of our demographics are interested in the history of our dealings with Cuba,” said Melissa Memory, chief of cultural resources at the park. “But I think in the broader preservation community, Cold War historic assets, our appreciation for them is evolving.”

Because the site was placed inside a national park, it has survived urban expansion and is now well-preserved, said volunteer tour guide Gregg Halpin. Other Nike sites scattered around the United States, strategically placed near cities, have disappeared. As the threat of a Soviet attack faded, many of the sites (after the missiles were removed) were integrated into urban communities as parks or business centers. In Arlington Heights, Illinois, a former Nike base is now an 18-hole golf course. A New Jersey town proposed converting its former base into a commuter parking lot in December. And part of an old site in Gardner, Kansas, has been converted into Nike Elementary School. The school’s nickname: the Missiles.

The Nike site tucked away in the Everglades was not the only one in Florida. The former launch area of the Nike Hercules Site HM in Opa-Locka, just north of Miami, is now a National Guard reservation. Another site in Miami has become an Immigration and Naturalization Service facility. The Everglades site is now searching for information, historic replicas and artifacts used at the facility during the Cold War to include in the tour. Park officials are also working to spruce up areas that have not yet been open to the public because of health and safety concerns, and are conducting interviews with former military personnel who were stationed here.

“We can go on the Internet and other research is available to us, so we know who built (it) and when it was built,” Halpin said. “But we need those personal stories to make it a connection with the people, so the people will want to come here and see what it was all about.”

The British War Grave

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While hiking at Sandy Hook looking for the old Nike base, I came across this unusual grave. On December 31, 1783 a British warship floundered & sank off the coast of Sandy Hook. Its 1st Lieutenant, Hamilton Douglas Halyburton, and 12 of his crew died just off the coast in a bad storm. They were buried at what would eventually become Sandy Hook. What strikes me as being so weird is that here we have a grave of what was at the time, a foreign enemy, buried here on American soil. Now I’m not suggesting that we ship his remains back to Britain, but how weird would it be if an American soldier was buried in Iraq?

The Bunny Bridge of Watchung

The bunny bridge was built so that animals could cross rt 78 and get in and out of Watchung Reservation. The entire concrete bridge is covered with grass, trees and thorn bushes and if you hang around long enough you probably will see deer crossing it. What’s strange is Nike Rd’s access is only a half mile south of there, so why this wasn’t used is beyond me. Perhaps the bunny bridge was built before the Nike base closed?

Wayne Nike Base

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detailed info on the Wayne Nike base

One part of the Nike base has been converted into ugly ugly townhouses. The other part is near a traffic circle and from I hear, there’s really nothing there to see. Anyone with info, please respond.

Mahwah Nike Base

Read more about this Nike Base here

This site is long gone and from what I have been told there’s nothing left to see. If anyone knows anything more, please say so.

Swedesboro Nike Base

You can read more about the Swedesboro Nike base here

I have never visited this location. If anyone can tell me anything about it, I’d appreciate it.

Summit Nike Base

You can read more about the Summit Nike base here

Entrance to Nike Road

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Nike Rd was the entrance to the Nike Control Base in Summit just outside the Watchung Reservation. The military buildings are long gone, and only the name of the road remains to remind people of what once was a part of our national defense system. The road is blocked off to vehicular access but foot traffic is permitted. The control base was built in 1958, despite
concerns about being located so close to the woods of the Reservation. Interstingly the base was shut down only 4 years later. The launch control site is located where the Watchung Stables are located now.

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Battery Lewis

The Atlantic Highlands and Sandy Hook have been of great strategic importance to coastal defense for centuries. Naval defenses consisted of various forts, gun embankments, and even Nike missiles in the Cold War. Eventually these various defenses became obsolete and the military elements were removed, but the physical concrete bunkers remain. In Hartshorne Woods County Park in Navesink are the concrete remains of Battery Lewis and Battery 219.

Here’s a guide to the hikes from the NY/NJ Trail conference.To learn more about these fascinating pieces of military history, there’s a really good reference here.

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All the rest of the pictures here

A history of the Nike Defense program

A REALLY GOOD WEBSITE ALL ABOUT THE NY/NJ NIKE BASES

Disclaimer: most of the information form this page was gleaned from Weird NJ, a recent article in the Bergen Record and the site listed above. I will give an overview of the Nike Missile Defense System here. For much more details, please see the site above. As for specific site sin NJ, I’ll detail them individually.

The Nike missile system was the first successful, widely-deployed, guided surface-to-air missile system. During WWII the U.S. Army realized that conventional anti-aircraft artillery would not provide enough defense against the newer, faster jet aircraft which were being developed by our enemies. Bell Labs proposed a guided missile which could follow a target, even if it performed evasive maneuvers.

When the Soviets developed long range bombers, followed by the nuclear bomb, there was an immediate concern that these bombers could be used to deliver nuclear payloads. The Nike system was hastily pushed into production, to be used a final defense against such war birds. The missile sites were placed in rings around the area meat to be defended. Often, the federal government had to go to court in order to obtain the property needed for such sites.

One of the largest rings was in the NY/NJ area, possessing almost 20 individual missile sites, many in heavily populated areas because of the short range of the Ajax missile which was the original Nike missile. Across the United States nearly 250 sites were constructed in the United States as well as in many NATO nations in Europe & Asia.

A “Typical” Nike Site

A “typical” Nike air defense site consisted of two things: the Integrated Fire Control (IFC) Area & the launcher area. The IFC contained the radar and computer systems designed to detect aircraft, and to guide the missiles. The Launcher area contained heavily constructed underground missile “magazines”. A large, missile elevator brought the Nikes to the surface of the site where they would be pushed (manually) by crewmen, across twin steel rails to one of four satellite launchers. The missile was then attached to its launcher and erected to a near-vertical position for firing. The near-vertical firing position ensured that the missile’s booster rocket (lower stage) would not crash directly back onto the missile site, but, instead, would land within a predetermined “booster impact area”.

Guidance & Control

Nike was guided entirely from the ground. The electronic “eyes” (radar) and “brain” (computer) of the Nike system were located on the ground, within the IFC. Hostile aircraft were first identified by means of an acquisition radar (ACQR). This radar was manned 24 hours per day, scanning the skies for indications of any hostile aircraft. Having acquired and positively identified a hostile aircraft, a second radar, the Target Tracking Radar (TTR) would be aimed at and electronically locked onto it. This radar would then follow the selected aircraft’s every move in spite of any evasive action taken by its pilot. A third radar, the Missile Tracking Radar (MTR) was then aimed at and electronically locked onto an individual Nike missile located at the nearby Launcher Area.

Both the TTR and MTR were linked to a guidance computer located at the IFC Area. This analog computer continuously compared the relative positions of both the targeted aircraft and the missile during its flight and determined the course the missile would have to fly in order to reach its target. Steering commands were computed and sent from the ground to the missile during its flight, via the Missile Tracking Radar. At the moment of closest approach the missile’s warhead would be detonated by a computer generated “burst command” sent from the ground via the MTR.

For surface-to-surface shots, the coordinates of the target were dialed into the computer and the height of burst was set by crew members at the Launcher Area. The standard technique was for the missile’s guidance signal to be terminated as it dove vertically onto its target. Detonation of the warhead was via the pre-set barometric fusing. Alternately (and presumably as a back-up system) the warhead could be exploded via contact fusing when it impacted the selected target or target area.

End Of The Nike Era

Nike was created in response to Russian efforts to design and deploy long-range bomber aircraft during the early years of the Cold War. Their strategy soon focused more on ICBMs, a threat for which there was no defense. This made Nike less necessary as a defense system, and beginning in the mid 1960s, the total number of operational Nike bases was steadily reduced on an almost annual basis.

The signing of the SALT I treaty in Moscow during the spring of 1972 limited the number of missiles with ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) capabilities. Nike Hercules, due to its limited capabilities against certain types of ballistic missiles, was included in this treaty. During 1974, all remaining sites within the nationwide Nike air defense system were inactivated. One of the nation’s most significant Cold War air defense programs had come to an end.

In spite of the termination of the nationwide Nike program, Nike missiles remained operational at sites in Florida and Alaska for several more years. Others remained operational with U.S. forces in Europe and the Pacific, and with the armed forces of many U.S. Allies overseas. Although no longer in the U.S. inventory, more than four decades after the first Nike missile became operational in the U.S., Nike Hercules missiles are today deployed by the armed forces of U.S. allies in Europe and Asia, and are likely to remain in service well beyond the year 2000.