Updated 22 May, 2007
A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 562nd Artillery was one of five Nike-Hercules missile firing batteries that were deployed to provide a defensive ring of supersonic fire around the Fairbanks/Eielson AFB complex during the height of the Cold War. This webpage is an attempt to preserve some memory of the place and time that is rapidly disappearing. If you stumbled across this webpage by means other than the link from the NIKE-HERCULES ALASKA INDEX page, you may wish to go there first for a little background information before proceeding. Please CLICK HERE to do so, then follow the link back. Thank you.
Site Tare is located in the hills along the Richardson highway between Fairbanks and Eielson Air Force Base, not far from North Pole, Alaska. The photograph below shows the tops of the IFC (Integrated Fire Control) area buildings with the "golf ball" cover of the HIPAR (High Power Acquisition Radar) poking prominently above the trees. Taken just off the highway, Moose creek is in the foreground.
Let it never be said that keeping the roads into and around an Alaskan Nike site clear of snow and ice was not a major chore. Here is a photo of A-battery's front gate with the guard shack to the right.
The photo at left below was taken in the front parking lot a few tens of yards inside the front gate. Here you can see the main IFC building in the background. The photo at right was taken from the top of the IFC overlooking the back parking lot facing toward Eielson AFB. Note the yellow posts that provide electricity for vehicle engine heaters. This is standard equipment in the Great White North.
This next view, also taken from the roof of the IFC building, shows the front parking lot on a day when a H-16 helicopter was picking up "scope dopes" for training at another battery. These helicopters were later replaced with HU1B's. Note the front guard shack at far right.
The photo at left below shows the TTR antenna and HIPAR dome. One contributor to this webpage notes "I remember on summer mornings doing checks on TTR, TRR, MTR we could watch the planes glide right by us at almost eye level." The photo at right was taken in the upper floor hallway of the main building just before cold weather indoctrination training. The photo contributor notes that "We returned much the worse for wear a few days later." Who of us that were stationed in Alaska at that time can forget the parka's, bunny boots, and heavy wooden skis?
As with any military unit, continual training was an important part of gaining and maintaining proficiency with the skills and equipment needed to perform the mission. Part of this readiness training was the ASP, or Annual Service Practice, where each year every Nike-Hercules unit performed a live firing of one or more missiles to demonstrate it's readiness and be scored accordingly. Due to the proximity of population centers around the site, A battery traveled to more remote B battery to conduct their annual live firing.
The photo at right below was taken from B battery during A-battery's 1969 annual service practice launch. (The white exhaust of the missile is just visible above the center of the guard shack roof.) One contributor noted that "We took a deuce and a half (2-1/2 ton truck] from A to B [batteries for live fire]. They had gas or diesel-fired heaters in the covered over back and we were almost asphyxiated from the fumes." The photo at left is of the helicopter carrying the commanding general of the 87th artillery group while arriving at B battery to observe.
In the face of budgetary constraints imposed by the protracted Vietnam war, the changeing Soviet threat, and therefore changes in the defensive requirements of NORAD, the 2nd Missile Battallion, 562nd Artillery which occupied the sites surrounding Fairbanks was deactivated in 1970 and 1971. The Nike sites of the 4th Missile Battalion, 43rd Artillery in the Anchorage area were redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery and continued operations until 1979, thereby becoming the last operational Nike Hercules units in North America.
- Juliet Tango Sierra
NOTE 22 May 2007:
GOOD NEWS! It is very unlikely that further updates to this document will occur as there is now a more extensive website dedicated to the preservation of the memory of site TARE. There you will find a great many photographs and anecdotes about living at site Tare, and if you are veteran of the site, you may find the list of names the webmaster has accumulated to be of supreme interest! CLICK HERE to visit this exciting new resource.