McChord Manual Direction Center P-4

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McChord Manual Direction Center P-4 (1951-1959) - A Cold War Manual System Direction Center first established in 1951 on McChord Air Force Base, Lakewood, Pierce County, Washington. Named McChord Manual Direction Center after the base. Assigned a Permanent System ID of P-4. Deactivated as a Manual Direction Center in 1959.

Holabird, Root & Burgee Designed Type 4 Command/Control Station. ADC's first generation Command Center at McChord AFB, Site P-4 as it appears in 2017

History

Established in 1951 and became operational in 1951 as McChord Manual Direction Center P-4. This was the first of the original set of eleven permanent system command centers.

The Manual System Command Centers were based on the standardized AC&W infrastructure site design of the Chicago design firm of Holabird, Root & Burgee. These designs dated to 1949 but construction did not begin on any facilities until after the beginning of the Korean War. At system completion, 16 of these command centers were built. The Command Center was designated as a Type 4 Site while the most common operations center configuration at the AC&W radar sites was the Type 2. The Type 2 Operations Center had similar characteristics to the Type 4 Direction Center except the operations centers were single story. The site designs included, where appropriate, a power plant, an administrative building and one or two radomes all incorporated into a secure compound. The Command Centers and the Operations Centers can be easily identified by a small louvered ventilation tower that rises above the roof.

Key features of the Type 4 Manual Control Center
  • Reinforced concrete column-and-beam structure, oversized columns and thick beams
  • Flat, reinforced concrete roof (thick)
  • Double concrete-block exterior walls, with intervening airspace
  • Four-inch thick interior concrete-block walls
  • Heavily protected communications cable trenches
  • Exterior pilasters (reinforcing strengthening)
  • Windowless
  • Outer- and inner-lock rooms
  • Air baffles and chemical filter banks
  • Pressurized interior air system (air conditioning)
  • Ventilation shaft (tower)
  • Clean- and contaminated-clothes areas, with disinfector
  • Decontamination showers
  • Gas-proof clothes chutes
  • Communications, code equipment, and message rooms
  • Two-story, open central operations room with balcony glassed-in observation cubicles
  • War room
  • Associated administrative building (type 3 station), power plant, and radomes

The Manual System Direction Centers did not survive the transition into the SAGE System because they were far too small for the massive SAGE computers and consoles and did not have big enough power or HVAC plants. The radar site Type 2 operations centers did survive into the SAGE System but each one required the construction of an attached SAGE Annex for the large FST-2 computer system and later additions were necessary for those chosen as BUIC Sites.


McChord Manual Direction Center P-4 Radar Sites (edit list)
Location Type State Unit ADC NORAD JSS From To GPS Notes
Burns AFS OR 634th M-118 Z-118 1953-06-20
1958-08-15
1954-10-01
1958-09-01
43.5625,
-119.15139
McChord AFB WA 635th P1 1952-02-06 1960-03-01 47.12417,
-122.49222
Condon AFS OR 636th P-32 Z-32 1952-02-06
1958-08-15
1953-01
1958-09-01
45.23667,
-120.30167
Othello AFS WA 637th P-40 Z-40 1952-02-06
1958-08-15
1953-01-01
1958-09-01
46.72139,
-119.18
Curlew AFS WA 638th P-6 1952-02-06
1958-08-15
1953-01-01
1958-09-01
48.87722,
-118.78556
Yaak AFS MT 680th P-11 1958-08-15
1960-05-15
1958-09-01
1960-07-01
48.86222,
-115.72167
Mount Hebo AFS OR 689th M-100 Z-100 1956-10-16 1960-03-01 45.21609,
-123.75836
Blaine AFS WA 757th P-46 Z-46 1952-02-06
1954-10-08
1953-01-01
1960-04-01
48.91333,
-122.73417
Makah AFS WA 758th P-44 Z-44 1952-02-06
1954-11-08
1953-01-01
1960-03-01
37.03528,
-120.03306
Colville AFS WA 760th P-60 1952-02-06
1958-06-15
1953-01-01
1958-09-01
48.59083,
-117.58861
North Bend AFS OR 761st P-12 Z-12 1952-02-06
1954-10-08
1953-01-01
1960-03-01
43.53333,
-124.17639
Klamath AFS CA 777th P-33 Z-83 J-83 1959-03-01 1960-03-01 41.55917,
-124.08611
Baker AFS OR 821st SM-149 Z-149 1960-05-15 1960-07-01 44.58639,
-117.78722
Cottonwood AFS ID 822nd SM-150 Z-150 1958-08-15 1958-09-01 46.06701,
-116.46392
Mica Peak AFS WA 823rd SM-151 Z-151 J-79 1958-08-15 1958-09-01 47.57406,
117.08126
Keno AFS OR 827th TM-180 Z-180 J-82 1959-03-01 1960-03-01 42.06889,
-121.97222
Puntzi Mtn AS BC 917th C-19 C-19 1953-01-01 1960-03-01 52.16139,
-124.20611
Baldy Hughes AS BC 918th C-20 C-20 1953-02-16 1960-03-01 53.61833,
-122.93556
Saskatoon Mtn CFS AB 919th C-21 C21 R-33 1953-02-16 1960-03-01 55.23083,
-119.30528

The McChord Manual Direction Center P-4 remained operational until 1959 when the nearby SAGE Direction Center DC-17 became operational.

Current Status

The McChord Manual Direction Center has been modified, most noticeably with peaked roofing, and repurposed. Now in use by the base civil engineer.


Location: McChord Air Force Base, Lakewood, Pierce County, Washington.

Maps & Images

Lat: 47.12316 Long: -122.49246

See Also:

Sources:

  • 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 54.
  • Weitze, Karen J., Ph.D., Cold War Infrastructure for Air Defense: The Fighter and Command Missions, Prepared for Headquarters, Air Combat Command Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, Nov 1999, Contract DACA63-98-P-1363 United States Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, 167 pages, Pdf

Links:

Visited: 23 Sep 2015


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