Air Force Bases

Nike Missile Site Bay, Alaska

Site Bay (Battery C) was built at the site of a World War II dispersal air field at Goose Bay. The Nike battery was reached by Knik Road with the battery control area near the World War II runway and the launch area sited 1.6 kilometers west of the battery control. From the junction of Knik Road and the Parks Highway in Wasilla it is 35 kilometers to the battery control area.

There were only minor deviations, usually the result of terrain, in the site plans of each of the Alaska Nike installations. There were three main buildings at each battery control area : an operations building that included the target tracking and missile tracking radars, the barracks and living facilities for the enlisted men, and a Hi-Par (acquisition radar) building with radar tower and motor repair shop. There was also a guard house and security fencing.

Located about one to three kilometers from the battery control area of each site was the launch area. The two areas were connected by road. Alongside this road was a magazine for high explosives and guided missiles.

The facilities for the assembly, maintenance and launching of the Nike Hercules missiles were within the launch area. Structures included two missile launch and storage structures, launch control and general operations building, missile maintenance shop, motor repair shop, fuse and detonator magazine, warhead building and a dog kennel. This area was protected by a double fence, an alarm intrusion system, two sentry stations and two guard towers.

The total construction cost of Site Bay in 1958 was $4,702,500 which was representative of the costs of other batteries. In addition to the structures, there was other necessary construction including helicopter landing pads, communication lines, sewer and water lines, drain pipes, culverts, utilidors, roads, sidewalks and a flagpole at each battery control that cost $3,000 each.

The battery control at each Anchorage site was linked by microwave to an aircraft control center on Fire Island. Fairbanks sites were linked to a control center at Murphy Dome. Maintenance shops were located off-site at Fort Richardson and Ladd Air Force Base. Additionally, NCO's and officers lived in base housing at Anchorage and Fairbanks. For awhile, personnel stationed at Site Summit and Site Bay were flown by helicopter to work from Fort Richardson.

The Anchorage batteries continued in operation after the closing of the Fairbanks area Nike Sites. One battery of the double battery Site Point had been closed after being damaged by the earthquake of March 27, 1964 and was not returned to service, leaving only three fire units at Anchorage.

On May 10, 1979 soldiers at the three Anchorage batteries started the process of preparing the sites for deactivation which was completed on July 30, 1979. Unlike the Fairbanks sites, which had been abandoned and then subject to heavy theft and vandalism, the Anchorage installations were guarded. To guard Site Bay and Site Point, however, cost $212,509 a year. This expense came out of the limited Army operations and maintenance budget.

At Site Bay the composite building and the battery control area were transferred to the State of Alaska in 1984 for use as a minimum security Correctional Center. The launch area was also transferred to the State. In November 1986 it was intact and in good condition with its future use presently undecided.

Probably the most impressive artwork was found at Site Bay on the exterior wall of the composite building. It was a unit sign painted on the concrete block wall of the generator room. The sign was two crossed Hercules Missiles on an artillery red background. Above the crossed missiles was a yellow streamer with "Charlie Battery" lettered on it. Below the crossed missiles was another yellow streamer with "1st EN 43 A.D. ARTY". The 4.10 meter wide by 4.80 meter high painting was signed by a Mario M. Gonzales and D.L. McCheaky and dated July 5, 1978.

Mario Gonzales also painted the 43d ADA, Alaskan Command "Polar Bear", and the 172d Infantry Brigade and U.S.Forces Command unit patches in the Section B launch building (Building 1430) which have survived to the present time.