Naselle Air Force Station

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Naselle Air Force Station (1950-1966) - A Cold War Air Force Radar Station first established in 1950 near Naselle, Pacific County, Washington. Named Naselle Air Force Station after the location. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of P-57, later a Sage ID of Z-57. Abandoned in 1966.

Naselle AFS former Entrance, Road to Radar Hill on the Left, Road to the former Cantonment Area on the Right
Commercial Antennas on the upper site of the former Naselle AFS. FPS-26A Radar Tower visible on the Left.
Former Naselle AFS Cantonment Area (left) and Housing Area (right) now Naselle Youth Camp Correctional Facility.

History of Naselle Air Force Station

Established in 1950 and became operational in December 1951 as Naselle Air Force Station manned by the 759th AC&W Squadron. Replaced two Lashup Radar sites, L-35 at Pacific Beach, Washington and L-36 at Fort Stevens, Oregon. The two lashup sites were discontinued in February 1952.

The station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and early warning misssion. The early warning mission involved tracking and identifing 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 FPS-3 search radar and FPS-5 height finder radar. In 1958 the FPS-3 search radar was upgraded to the FPS-20 and two height finder radars, one FPS-6 and one FPS-6A were installed in preparation for integration into the SAGE System. An FPS-26A height finder later replaced one of the FPS-6 height finders.

SAGE System Transition

The transition of the manual GCI system to the automated SAGE system began with installation of the FST-2 coordinate data transmitter and search radar upgrades. The FST-2 equipment digitized the radar returns and transmitted the digital returns to the SAGE direction center. Under the SAGE system interceptor aircraft were directed to their targets by the direction center computers and controllers, greatly reducing the need for local controllers and equipment at every radar station.

The FST-2 was a very large digital system using vacuum tube technology. Over 6900 vacuum tubes were used in each FST-2 requiring 21 air conditioned cabinets, 40 tons of airconditioning, 43.5 kva of prime power and usually a large new addition to the operations building. The FST-2B modification added two more cabinets but with newer solid state (transistor) technology to process coded responses from aircraft transponders.

The site began operation as a SAGE site in February 1960 initially feeding radar data to the McChord SAGE Direction Center DC-12.

Closure

SAGE operation continued until the site and the 759th Radar Squadron were deactivated on 1 Apr 1966 in the first round of SAGE consolidations and reorganizations.

Physical Plant

Naselle AFS Upper Site

The physical plant of the site was divided into a main site, a cantonment area, a housing area and a radio site. The main site was located separately from the other sites up on "Radar Ridge" and it housed the operations buildings, the radar towers, a dining hall and backup generators. Also on the upper site were separate Ground to Air Transmitter/Receiver (GATR) radio sites that housed the equipment for directing aircraft intercepts.

The lower 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 was a small housing area for critical married personnel.


Naselle AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems
Unit Designations
  • 759th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1950-1960)
  • 759th Radar Squadron (SAGE) (1960-1966)
759th Assignments
  • 1 Jan 1951 - Assigned at Naselle AFS, WA, assigned to 505th AC&W Gp.
  • 6 Feb 1952 - Transferred to 25th AD.
  • Jan 1953 - Transferred to 4704th Def Wg.
  • 8 Oct 1954 - Transferred to 25th AD.
  • 1 Mar 1960 - Transferred to Seattle ADS.
  • 1 Apr 1960 - Redesignated from AC&W Sq to 759th Radar Sq (SAGE).
  • 1 Apr 1966 - Transferred to 25th AD.
  • 25 Jun 1966 - Discontinued


Naselle Air Force Station Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1956-06 1958-11 Maj Sherry, Floyd F. N/A
1958-11 Maj Hagan, Ben N/A
Dates are formatted in yyyy-mm-dd to sort correctly.
The Cullum Number is the graduation order from the United States Military Academy by year and class rank and links to a page for the officer on the website version of the Cullum Register. Listings without a Cullum Number indicate that the person was not a graduate of the United States Military Academy.

Current Status

Former Housing Area now Youth Camp Dorms.

Lower site is now Naselle Youth Camp established after the site closed in 1966 while the upper site now has commercial radio facilities. The family housing area appears to now be dorms for the Naselle Youth Camp with just a few houses remaining. The road leading to the upper site is open to the public, the youth camp facilities are not.

Naselle AFS Structures (work in progress) (edit list)
Number Building Exists Notes
1 Pumping Station
2 Bachelor Airman's Quarters (BAQ) No
3 Bachelor Airman's Quarters (BAQ) No
4 Bachelor Airman's Quarters (BAQ) No
5 Heating Plant
6 Dining Hall No
7 Bachelor Officer's Quarters (BAQ) No
8 Orderly Room/Supply/Recreation No
9 Sewerage Plant
10 Bachelor Officer's Quarters (BAQ) No
23 Hobby Shop
24 Community Building
25 Warehouse AC&W
26 NCO Club
27 Shop
27A Emergency Power
29 Motor
30 Main Gate
402 Guard House No
404 Communications/Telco No
406 Radio Transmitter Site No
408 Service Stock No
416 Dining Hall No
417 Heathing Plant No
419 Commercial Power No
420 Operations No
422 Diesel Generators No
4XX FPS-6 Height Finder Tower No
4XX FPS-6 Height Finder Tower No
4XX FPS-67 Search Tower No
4XX FPS-26A Height Finder Tower Yes
502 Radio Receiver Site No

Location: Near Naselle in Pacific County, Washington.

Maps & Images

Lat: 46.42194 Long: -123.79806

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 165.
  • 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 149, 164, 165-166.
  • NORAD/CONAD Historical Summary Jan-Dec 1966, dated 1 May 1967, Command History Division, HQ NORAD/CONAD, Unclassified (originally classified Secret), pdf, pages 28-31, Backup Intercept Control Systems
  • USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2089733

Links:

Visited: 17 Sep 2015


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