Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

Someone has cut a hole in the fuselage of the jet in the woods

I have covered the jet in the woods several times here on my blog. It generated quite a debate over what kind of plane it was until a local geocacher located the model # on the wing. I visit periodically and the last time was about a year ago when I went showed it to Bergen Record Columnist Bill Ervolino I visited the jet in the woods today and was shocked when I realized that someone had cut a piece of the fuselage out with a sawzall. This was the jet 5 years ago.

Here it is today.

I brought a friend with me and he commented that the jet might not be there given the rise in value of scrap metal. He told me the airplane was made from aluminum and that it wouldn’t be too hard to cut off pieces of it. I laughed at the idea commenting “even the military felt it was too much of a pain in the ass to remove it from these woods. How would anyone possibly do that now?” I guess if you have a sawzall you can cut it down to size and then it’s easy to remove….

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Picatinny Arsenal develops Mad Max style vehicles for combat

They’re just prototypes, but still…

interesting info on the jet in the woods

I recently visited a resident who lives about 300 yards south of the jet in the woods. I had a long talk with him about the area and the jet crash. His home is interesting, the driveway is paved with blocks taken from the West Side Highway in NY, given away for 25 cents a piece when they paved it with concrete…

The woods where the jet crashed are deceptive. The crash site is right on the rim of a lake, which is now covered over with layers of branches, tree limbs, leaves dirt and other plant life. they’ve woven themselves into a permeable layer over water in some cases 40 feet deep. Called a quake bog, if you jump up and down you can feel the ground bounce like trampoline. He took a stick about 2 feet long, scratched a bit of surface dirt off, then shoved it into the ground with the ease of a knife thru butter. If the jet had crashed another 100 feet, it would’ve pierced this top layer of plantlife and sunk to the bottom, like crashing thru a frozen lake.

Looks pretty solid, eh?

While there he pointed out bear tracks and the fact that a mama bear, about 700 lbs worth, had slept right about 100 feet from his house…

Bear tracks

Why all this talk about the jet in the woods? Can’t say right yet…

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 Cape May Bunker is no longer out in the ocean!

I received the following email and pictures from a reader

Just returned from Cape May and thought you’d appreciate this.

The attached pictures are of a naval gun emplacement fort on the beach just northeast of the Cape May light. The emplacement was completed in 1942 by US Army Corp of Engineers for use by the Navy as a coastal defense against German U Boats. The fort originally had 2 large naval guns that had the ability of firing 17 miles. What’s so weird about it? Well, most people think that WW2 was fought ‘over there’ with the exception of Pearl Harbor. Not true. In fact this very fort and several coastal gun batteries from New Jersey to Delaware defended the entrance of the Delaware Bay against several attempts by German U Boats (submarines) from disrupting US cargo shipping out of Philadelphia.

The German Navy had sunk numerous Liberty ships, fuel tankers and civilian cargo ships in and around the Cape May and Lewes, DE coastal waters. Of further interest, German U Boats prowled the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and got as close as New Orleans port waters. Anyway, this was my first trip to Cape May where I could get close enough to explore the exterior. The fort is now under the control of the NJ State Parks and is being preserved.

Cape May Bunker

This bunker for munitions had 6 inch round turret guns on the sides, and in front are Panama Mounts which held 4 155 mm coast artillery guns.  A sister bunker sits across the Delaware Bay. Originally built 900 feet from the shoreline, 60 years of rising tides and erosion have now brought the ocean to the bunker. As recently as 20 years ago you could, you could walk underneath it during low tide. Now it remains in the water at all times. Park officials have removed access ladders which used to allow you to climb inside and on top.

the Glen Gardner tank