Because of the region's industrial might, "there was a fear of a domestic attack here," said Jack Gordon, spokesman for Army Reserve 99th Regional Support Command. A 1952 U.S. Army National Guard report outlined the threat to Pittsburgh, noting its vulnerabilities. At the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Westinghouse Electric Corp. was hard at work on the first "atomic engine," a force that would propel submarines and make the U.S. Navy the most powerful on Earth. The site in North Park is a training center for county police officers and firefighters. "Back then, Pittsburgh was definitely a target," said Barry Kukovich, who as a boy witnessed the arrival of the Nike missiles. "Critical industrial areas strung out along the Monongahela, Ohio and Allegheny Valleys, though well dispersed, are suited for pinpoint landing but not mass or atomic bombs. The Nike missile "would be a good weapon today against terrorism," said Donald Goldstein, a professor of international relations at the University of Pittsburgh.
. . Newspapers hailed Nike, which looked like a telephone pole with fins, as a "wonder weapon" and a "new city guardian." This prompted the U.S. government to ring the region with missile bunkers and control towers, By Dan Fitzpatrick, Post-Gazette Staff Writer It inspired a poem that Kukovich published in "Manortown," a collection about his hometown. It stationed more than 1,000 military officers amid the hills and woods of Allegheny, Westmoreland and Washington counties, asking them to monitor the skies and live in hastily constructed, low-slung barracks.
Nike Missile Type Key. In the early 1950s, "Pittsburgh was one of the more heavily defended cities in the U.S.," said former Army National Guard Sgt. ", The same could be said for the 11 other underground Cold War missile bases scattered throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. pointing overhead into the light, blue morning sky . pointing overhead into the light, blue morning sky . D= Either, increaed access room in the magazine thicker than my arms." . Ad Practitioners, LLC. Try searching all Nike Missile Web Sites.
America built 107 missile bases around the country during the arms race in the 1960s, including the Atlas F Missile Silo located about 130 miles north of Albany. Many of the homes and barracks have been renovated into new housing, too. For 10 years, Eathorne's group has been trying to buy the 15-acre site from the federal government, and use it to store salt, gravel and other road materials. Their mission was to watch for long-range Soviet bombers and be prepared to knock them down with the world's first guided surface-to-air missile, known as the "Nike.". Kukovich, a public relations director at the University of Pittsburgh's graduate business school, remembers one such tour near his Westmoreland County home, in Manor. Earl Close, co-author of the 1952 "Operation Plan for the Anti-aircraft Defense of Pittsburgh.". And then they were lowered again into their pits . Not only did it inspire pride in the city's industrial assets, but it provided people with a strange, silent reassurance at a time of uncertainty. transfer your personal data to the United States or other countries, and, process your personal data to serve you with personalized ads, subject to your choices as described above and in. ". ", For Pittsburgh, a city never seriously threatened by air attack, the biggest boost from the Nike missile was always psychological. Today, many of the old Nike sites are hard to find. For Pittsburgh, a city never seriously threatened by air attack, the biggest boost from the Nike missile was always psychological. The soldiers manning the sites became known as the "Buck Rogers boys," and the military tried to dazzle people with the missile's technology, letting young boys climb the rocket at a Downtown parade and giving tours of the underground bunkers.
Most former missile sites are undergoing similarly nonglamorous transformations. On a warm Saturday morning in May 1955, Pittsburgh's Nike missiles went on public display for the first time. . Remaining are three underground missile bunkers, an administration building and a fallout shelter, all of it flanked by "Nike Road."
Before the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, these sites and their missiles were still buried deep in the public's imagination, relics of another period in history. Starting in the early 1950s, the Army made the protection of Pittsburgh's industrial complex a matter of national security, circling the area with bunkers, radar towers and communications equipment. It was a program that worked." To house and guide these missiles, the Army built 12 installations on the fringes of Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties, according to military records. F-86 jet fighters roared overhead. . When the base opened, a crowd gathered around the silos, children and parents holding hands. The last to close its doors in the Pittsburgh area was in Robinson, where a military man packing his papers into a cardboard box told The Pittsburgh Press, "It's the end of an era. We were given this job and we did it.
Each battery, including barracks and underground storage space, had more than 100 men, with 60 percent of them required to be ready at all times to launch within 20 minutes. The site near Manor is still obscured by low-hanging leaves, branches, thorny bushes and grapevines. The ceiling, which was once retractable, filters light through a camouflage of dirt and grass. They would tilt at an 85-degree angle and shoot into the sky over Pittsburgh at 1,500 miles per hour.
There still are cows grazing in a nearby farm. In Union and Finleyville, developer Robert VanVoorhis purchased 30 units of housing that once belonged to the Nike sites, paying $600,000. . The stairs, descending into the ground, lead to a dark room fortified by three-foot-thick concrete walls. "If you had one on Long Island, it would have done the deed."
Deep in the woods of the North Hills, a steel door creaks open. .
. It had a maximum speed of 1,600 mph and could reach altitudes of 70,000 feet. . When the time came, the bunker would mechanically spring into action. Also, the Nikes were thought to be no match for the Soviet's newer intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. On a warm Saturday morning in May 1955, Pittsburgh's Nike missiles went on public display for the first time. A few missile sites are still in the federal government's hands, awaiting a sale. At the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Westinghouse Electric Corp. was hard at work on the first "atomic engine," a force that would propel submarines and make the U.S. Navy the most powerful on Earth. Should an enemy fire thousands of bullets, Kennedy said, it would create a problem "which we have not mastered yet." Some of the sites have been left as they were during the Cold War, with switches on the walls and warning signs on the doors. In some cases they have been sold to the public, and converted into private homes or commercial spaces, offering the opportunity to live or work in a truly secure location. In the Pittsburgh area, the list of Nike sites was winnowed to six by 1959 and four by 1973.
The same could be said for the 11 other underground Cold War missile bases scattered throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. The site in Oakdale, once mission control for the local Nike missiles, is an air traffic control tower for the Federal Aviation Administration. The following is a list of Nike missile sites operated by the United States Army.This article … Earl Close, co-author of the 1952 "Operation Plan for the Anti-aircraft Defense of Pittsburgh." The sites were often on hills, heavily protected by woods. .
Should an enemy fire thousands of bullets, Kennedy said, it would create a problem "which we have not mastered yet."
As former Pittsburgh Mayor David Lawrence put it, after touring the underground missile bunkers in 1958, "I, for one am going to sleep better because of what I saw." It was a program that worked.".
The missiles were white, the color of victory and God .
The sites were often on hills, heavily protected by woods.
It had a maximum speed of 1,600 mph and could reach altitudes of 70,000 feet.
Scanning the room with a flashlight, Allegheny County Fire Department official Tom Cook said, "There is not much to see anymore." Allegheny County Fire Department official Tom Cook emerges from one of three bunkers in North Park.
The Nike missiles had an immediate impact on the public's imagination. "It can be approached from all directions with no protection from the mountains," read the report, now on file at the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Their mission was to watch for long-range Soviet bombers and be prepared to knock them down with the world's first guided surface-to-air missile, known as the "Nike."
The same report also catalogued Pittsburgh's strengths as an industrial power, calling this area of the country "probably the most important section of the United States." Also, the Hercules could target a plane carrying nuclear weapons, hit the plane and prevent those weapons from being detonated.
An elevator would carry the rockets to the surface. . Each battery, including barracks and underground storage space, had more than 100 men, with 60 percent of them required to be ready at all times to launch within 20 minutes.
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