Fordland Air Force Station

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Fordland Air Force Station (1952-1961) - A Cold War Air Force Radar Station first established in 1952 near Fordland, Webster County, Missouri. Named Fordland Air Force Station after the location. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of P-68. Abandoned in 1961.

History of Fordland Air Force Station

Established in 1952 and became operational in 1952 as Fordland Air Force Station manned by the 797th AC&W Squadron. The station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and early warning mission. The early warning mission involved tracking and identifying all aircraft entering their airspace while the GCI mission involved guiding Air Force interceptors to any identified enemy aircraft. Controllers at the station vectored fighter aircraft at the correct course and speed to intercept enemy aircraft using voice commands via ground-to-air radio.

Initial equipment included the FPS-3 search radar and an FPS-4 height-finder radar. During 1954 a TPS-10D was placed in service but it was removed in 1955. In 1958 the FPS-4 was replaced by one FPS-6 height-finder radar.

As the implementation of the SAGE System took hold in 1960, Fordland AFS continued operation as a manual radar site passing manual track information to the Manual Direction Center at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Kansas City Air Defense Sector (Manual). The site was not given a "Z" designation or classified as a "SAGE" Radar Squadron. The manual direction center (MCC-2) was closed down on 1 Jan 1962


Fordland AFS and the 797th were deactivated on 1 Jun 1961.

Physical Plant

The physical plant of the site was divided into the main site, a cantonment area, a housing area, and a radio site. The main site housed the operations buildings, the radar towers, and the backup generators. The cantonment area housed the enlisted barracks, the bachelor officer's quarters, the orderly room, the dining hall, the motor pool, and other support buildings. Apart from the main site were two small housing areas for married personnel, one 9 unit, and one 18 unit housing area.

Separate receiver and transmitter radio sites housed the radio equipment for directing aircraft intercepts.

Fordland AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems Com Scopes IFF/SIF
Unit Designations
  • 797th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1952-1961)
797th Assignments
  • 1 May 1951 - Activated at Fordland AFS, MO, as the 546th AC&W Group.
  • 4 Jun 1951 - Transferred to 159th AC&W Group.
  • 6 Feb 1952 - Transferred to 33rd Air Division.
  • 1 Mar 1956 - Transferred to 20th Air Division.
  • 1 Jan 1960 - Transferred to Kansas City ADS. (Manual Direction Center MCC-2)
  • 1 Jun 1961 - Discontinued.

Fordland Air Force Station Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1955 1958 Major St. John, Larry N/A

Current Status

Now the Ozark Correctional Center (OCC), a minimum-security (C-2) institution.

Location: Fordland in Webster County, Missouri.

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.15417 Long: -92.87583

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 1,663'

See Also:


  • Cornett, Lloyd H. & Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization (1946-1980), Office of History ADC, Peterson AFB, Colorado, 31 Dec 1980, 179 pages, Pdf, page 102.
  • Winkler, David F., Searching the Skies: the Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program, USAF Hq Air Combat Command, 1997, 192 pages, Pdf, page 129.
  • USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2087615


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