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Nike HA-26 Portland

If you were stationed at this Nike site, or any of the nearby sites in CT or MA, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact us at webmaster@coldwar-ct.com


This site was operational from 1956 - 1963.
Missile Types were Ajax only, Nike 1B, 2C/30A/12L-A.

The IFC  (radar) site was on Del Reeves Road in Portland, in the Meshomasic State Forest (see photos from 2011 site visit below).

The launch site was on Clark Hill Rd. in South Glastonbury, also in the Meshomasic State Forest (see photos from 2010 site visit below).

On May 18, 1957 the Army hosted an open house at the S. Glastonbury Nike battery. The photos below are from that event.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2dECTTvsYY&feature=channel&list=UL


Nike Ajax missile being inspected.



Aerial view of the Portland, CT Launch Battery (date unknown).



Aerial view of the Portland, CT Launch Battery, Oct. 21, 1959.



Missile ready to fire.


Nike Ajax being inspected on it's way to the launch pit.

(Above) View of one of the underground "pits", 2010.


(Below) Launch site photos from a August, 2010 visit.



Entrance. The guard house would have been just past the gate on the right.



These steps would have connected the guard shack to the
enlisted barracks.


All that's left of the guard shack is this foundation.



Close up of well worn stairs to the enlisted barracks.



Foundation of the enlisted barracks.



From the lower base this road leads to the missile battery area.



The remains of one of the launcher "pits" can be seen here.  The underground batteries were partially filled and then covered over with fill.



Small building foundation near the missile battery, perhaps the missile assembly building?



The other end of the missile battery.


The battery area has been covered with wood chips.



Foundation of the BOQ and medical office. "...rifles and gas masks were also stored in a secure  room in that building.." according to one contributor.



Spots of glue the held the floor tiles down in the enlisted barracks.



Remains of an unknown device or structure.



A hint that there are sub-surface structures, particularly under the missile battery area.






It's unusual to find three phase power out in the middle of nowhere.  We found  thick telephone cable and 3 phase power running through the forest connecting this site to the corresponding IFC site on nearby Del Reeves Rd. One contributor recounted the story of how Navy Seals penetrated a Nike missile battery in a test of security by utilizing the overhead power lines.  They allegedly painted a large black "X" on the back of the launch control trailer to prove that they had been there!



Remnants of the security fencing to the right of the entrance. In addition to
armed guards some Nike sites used attack dogs.


A contributor submitted the photos below of the remains of one of the Portland Nike missile underground batteries taken in 2009. 















One of the personnel access hatches.

The pictures below are of the IFC (radar) site on Del Reeves Road in Portland.










Images from May, 2011 site visit to IFC radar site



Gate. The guard shack was reportedly on the right just inside the
gate.  No sign of it now other than a depression in the ground.



Looking up the road toward the site from the gate.




One of many building foundations.




There were numerous paved paths leading off into the woods.



Local mountain bikers had built a neat ramp on this foundation.


Remains of floor tiles.


The base flagpole still stands after nearly 50 years! 

                                                                                                                  


The site is so overgrown one has to look very
hard to find some remaining items.  Can you see the
flagpole in this image?


The structure was in the vicinity of where the electrical power
entered the base. 


|
A number of the buildings looked as if they had simply
collapsed upon themselves. Reportedly the buildings
were still standing in early 2010.



Luke, the colwar-ct.com exploration dog, participated in this
site visit.


The area was full of concrete footings such as this one. At
other CT sites we've seen radar platforms sitting on
footings such as this.


We've seen this exact same thing at other sites. 
Not sure what this metal assembly was used for.



Another metal pole still intact.



This brick lined manhole was in the vicinity of the
transformer pad, for access to
underground utilities such as water and sewer.







Can you see the flag pole in the trees?



If you look closely you can see the cross member
of an old utiity pole. This is where 3-phase power
and communications cables entered the site
from the assoicated missile battery area
a mile away.




The site was very overgrown . . . we plan on coming back in the late
fall for a better view.



This large metal tank was above the barracks area and was
probably used for water.


Overgrown utility pole.







Access hole with ladder in the middle of the parking lot
makes us think that this was a manhole for utilities. It had been filled
 in with dirt so we were not able to determine its function.




Access to underground utilities?



A storage tank of some kind used to sit on these concrete
supports which were adjacent to a large metal tank.



One of several stairs from the parking lot to the
barracks/admin. area.



Another set of stairs from the parking lot to the barracks area.











Nike Portland Memories:

  
  I served at the Portland site from 1959 to 1961. I was a launcher section chief (B section). The site was turned over to the National Guard around 1960. I was  retained in a training status to get them through their first OPS check...
    Fantastic photos...It is hard to imagine a missile site ever being there.  The first set of steps on the right after the guard shack went to the enlisted barracks. The next building on the right would be the BOQ and medical office.  Our rifles and gas masks were also stored in a secure room in that building. The next building on the left would have been the POL locker. On the right after that would have been the missile assembly and maintenance area. The launch control trailer was somewhere near the assembly building but time has erased  some of my memory. The generator building was also in that same area followed by the missile fueling area on the right. Continuing down the road you come to the "pits" as the missile storage and launch areas were called. There were 3 pits, A, B and C sections. 
     The site had two areas, the launch area and the radar site. I remember standing under the target acquisition radar with a fluorescent bulb held up end wise. Every time the beam hit the bulb it would light up. I can't imagine what it was doing to our bodies!
     Life was not easy for a launcher crew. We had only every third weekend off.  Every third week we were designated as the "Hot" battery. If (when) a  potential "target"  was acquired, we had to have our missiles on the launcher racks and elevated with gyros running within fifteen minutes. As you can imagine, this did not allow us the luxury of sleeping in the barracks. Think of trying to sleep in a damp cellar with bright lights shining. One person had to be awake at all times to monitor the status lights on the section control panel.
     One of the more interesting stories involved a operational readiness inspection.  As crew chief it was my job to operate the LOCI box.This was a device located on the launch rack. By depressing certain buttons and activating switches we could check out the control surfaces, voltages, etc. on the missile. As part of that operation, we also connected a device to the missile squib line connector. This line went from the missile to the solid fuel rocket booster. We then did a electrical continuity check on the missile. A new second lieutenant was checking me out on the procedure. After I had completed the check procedure he said "Sergeant, you failed the check." Because I had done this procedure literally hundreds of times, I couldn't believe he was failing me. I said something to the effect of "Sir, what part of the procedure was incorrect?" He said "You failed to check the booster continuity." I said "Sir, if you want me to do that, I suggest you may want to plug your ears because there will be one god awful noise in here when that booster touches off!" (I'm not sure the Lt remembered that any voltage induced in the booster would ignite it.)
    The alerts were random. SAC bombers from Maine and Labrador would overfly the area to test our ability to detect them. The only "real" alert the NIKE sites had was during the Cuban missile crisis. At that time one section in each battery had four missiles elevated at all times. The missiles could have been launched within five minutes.
     Our security was minimal. There was a guard posted at the main gate. I don't remember how long the shift was. Another funny story comes to mind. I had driven back to CT from VT on my weekend off. I arrived around 5 AM. I tried to get the guards attention to open the gate for me. Failing that, I crawled under the gate and found him sound asleep. So much for security!
     I heard another story which may or may not be fact. I was told that early on a team of Navy SEALS had penetrated the launch site by utilizing the overhead power line. They allegedly painted a black "X" on the launch control trailer.
     As you can well imagine, days in the pits were long and left young soldiers with little to keep them occupied. One of our favorite past times was to think of ways the "enemy" could disable our site.    The best one I can remember would require someone to access one of the pits. Once in the missile storage area a piece of telephone field wire would be connected from the LOCI box to the booster squib line.
     To complete the circuit, the launch control panel would have to select the proper LOCI box. Someone could then call the site from some distance away, ask the operator in the launch control trailer to select the pit where the box was located and place a call to that pit. The resulting voltage from the LOCI box to the booster should have "taken care of business." Would it have worked?
     One of (your sites) Simsbury photos shows four missiles in various stages of elevation. Looking from left to right the box on the front of the second launcher is the LOCI box I refer to. Apparently the sites were not all configured the same.
     Please feel free to use any of this info. It is important to remember that these events took place 50 years ago but they are correct as I remember them. I will forward additional information as it comes to mind. - Bill Johnson. 2010.
 




I was stationed in Portland, CT at B-Battery, 2nd Missile Battalion, 94th Arty from late '58 to early '61.  My twin brother and I enlisted in Coos Bay, Oregon for the Army's new technology NIKE.  Following boot camp, we were assigned to Portland, CT.  We both served in the IFC (Integrated Fire Control) as fire control operators.  My primary function was operating the Target Tracking Radar.  Brother Mike functioned as a Plotting Board Operator in the Computer van.  In early '61, the Army's 1st Region Artillery recruited us for the new 'Nike In The Attack' show team located at Ft. Totten, LI-NY located in Flushing, NYC.  We conducted sophisticated presentations at college/universities, convention centers, public schools and traveled extensively throughout CT, MA, NY/NJ.  The concept was to introduce Nike to the public and defuse fear and misunderstandings.  The public was concerned with missiles and explosives (later nuclear warheads) located near their communities, including schools and such.  Subsequently, I served three years with the 7th Army, Europe at  Zwiebruken/Pirmasens, WG.  All NATO NIKE units inventoried and operated Hercules Missiles armed with W31 low yield nuclear warheads. - Martin P Matheny, Techachpi, CA. 2010.


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