Camp Hero (1942-1948) - A World War II Coast Artillery Camp was first established in 1942 in Suffolk County, New York. Named in G.O. 58, 29 Oct 1942, after Major General Andrew Hero Jr., (Cullum 3392), Chief of Coast Artillery 1926-30, who died 2 Feb 1942. Abandoned in 1948.
Part of the Harbor Defense of Long Island Sound.
The land purchase for Camp Hero was completed on 13 Jan 1942 and construction for the two large 16" gun batteries (Battery 112 and Battery 113) began on 23 Mar 1942. Construction on the 6" Battery 216 began on 26 May 1942. All three batteries were completed in June 1943 and all three were accepted for service on the same day, 12 Jan 1944. Supporting facilities including plotting rooms and fire control stations were scattered around the 278-acre reservation.
Every effort was made to disguise the post as a New England coastal village. The two 16" gun batteries were earth-covered casemated concrete structures that were further disguised by camouflage netting and appropriately placed foliage. The 6" battery had the central concrete magazine covered with earth and disguised with foliage but the guns were not casemated and required more elaborate concealment. The fire control stations were built to look like normal beach community houses with slits for the observation instruments just below the roof lines.
The camp cantonment did not have the orderly look of a military post but had buildings scattered about at angles to one another. One central location contained the barracks, mess hall, gym, and bowling alley in an irregular circular pattern. The post-gym was disguised as a church with a fake steeple.
At the end of World War II, the post was temporarily shut down and the armament removed with the last of the big guns removed for scrap in 1949.
As the Cold War began in the late 1940s the western side of Camp Hero was turned over to the U.S. Air Force for use as a long-range RADAR station. The RADAR facilities evolved over time from early warning and direct aircraft interception control to a part of the larger SAGE system. The RADAR equipment evolved over time from small short-range sets to the massive AN/FPS-35 long-range radar set. The huge antenna for the AN/FPS-35 was abandoned in place and remains there today. The RADAR site was known as Montauk Air Force Station and the unit designation began as the 773rd AC&W Squadron and was changed to the 773rd Radar Squadron (Sage) in 1963. The station closed on 31 Jan 1981. Camp Hero State Park was opened to the public on 18 Sep 2002.
Part of Camp Hero State Park, Montauk Point, Suffolk County, New York