From January of 1977 until the unit was deactivated in July of 1979, I lived and worked in the 1/43 AADCP. Being one of the last to witness the workings of the last of the North American Nike Hercules units, I have a fairly unique perspective on the subject and thought I would write some of it down for posterity since there appears to be a great lack of information on this subject recorded on the Internet and in fact I have read some misconceptions. Many of those that write about Nike Hercules units are unaware of the purpose of the AADCP or even that the Alaska units remained active for five years beyond the time of the AADCOM shutdown of the Nike sites in the lower 48 states.
This is written from the human perspective of a soldier that simply lived and worked there, and should not be interpretted as an authoritative work by someone with a view of "the big picture". Many years have passed since the 1970's and my own memories of the time and place are fading as the years go by, just as the pictures I have included in this document have been yellowing in their shoebox.
Over the years my thoughts have often wandered back to that time with great nostalgia and I have wondered what became of the people I knew and worked with as well as the facility that then served as both home and place of employment. Since that time, and up until I posted the first edition of this webpage in December of 2003, I had contact with only one other person that ever worked there, though I know there were many.
I will report the facts as I remember them (a big caveat there, folks), and I certainly welcome[d correction and input from anyone that was there that happened across this site for the eight years leading up to December, 2011. This project has now run its course.]
Because no one else has!
There is little remaining evidence that the place ever existed and very little documentation about its history as you will see in the follwoing paragraphs.
In December of 2003 on a whim I did a search on the internet for information about the Nike Hercules program and happened across Jeral Sexton's fine (but no longer extant) website that described some of the history of B Battery on site Summit east of Anchorage. I found it fascinating to see the condition of the old facility at site Summit, but was shocked to learn that A Battery at site Point had been razed to the ground at some point prior to 1996. Below is an aerial photograph taken in the summer of 1996 of the site where the main IFC (Integrated Fire Control) buildings at site Point stood. Only the foundations remain.
A photo of the AADCP building's remaining foundation in 2007:
Similar aerial photographs of the launcher area show that most of the buildings there appear to be intact. With further web searching I learned that point Campbell is no longer a military reservation and is now run by the city of Anchorage as a recreational area called Kincaid Park! Apparently the area is now famous as a cross-county ski and trail bike spot and one of the launcher buildings is now called a "chalet" in the tourist literature!
But even more disturbing was the fact that I could find not one photograph and almost no information in the way of any historical account of the old site. It is as if it never existed. Furthermore, there is very little information about what went on in a Hercules AADCP. I found it interesting too that a 1970 USGS topographical map of the area doesn't show a hint of the site. Not even an unimproved road. The 1985 version shows some of the roads, but no buildings - not even the launcher buildings that remain there to this day.
One more item of "missing" documentation: a visit to the U.S.Army's Historical Lineage and Honors Information for the 1/43 (at http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/branches/ada/0043ada01bn.htm) describes the unit's long lineage from WW1, through WW2, the Korean conflict, and the Cold War, then lists:
In the section where it lists the unit's Honors, we see that the 1/43 received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for ALASKA. That makes it pretty clear that the 1/43 was quite active in Alaska., right?
Now, since the 1/43 was reactivated again in 1982 and there is a current web site for the unit (which is now assigned to the 6th Cavalry Brigade and stationed in Korea), upon a visit to the web site's Lineage page (at http://6thcav.korea.army.mil/1-43ada/index.htm ), we read that "...the unit was re-designated in 1971 as the 43d Air Defense Artillery Regiment. The 1st Battalion, 43d ADA received the first PATRIOT equipment at Ft. Bliss... " and then it goes on to record the excellent service to the nation and the world that the unit has performed since then.
Did you notice that there is mention of the redesignation in 1971, but not one word regarding the service in Alaska or the deactivation in 1979?
This startling lack of historical information has lead me to create this web page before any memory of the facility is lost for all time. My regret is that the condition of my surviving photographs (which make up the lion's share of what is included here) is poor. They were not very good to begin with. At that time I had only a beat up 110-size pocket instamatic camera and a cheap Kodak polaroid. There was at least one guy stationed there at that time that had a real camera, but unfortunately I haven't heard from any of those guys since about 1981.
So, in a nut shell, I have put this web page together for the benefit of the hundreds of U.S. servicemen and civilian engineers that spent many long days and nights there over the twenty year history of the site (1959-1979), and to the families and other interested individuals to whom the place would otherwise remain a mystery.