Pyote Air Force Station

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Pyote Air Force Station (1957-1963) - A Cold War Air Force Radar Station first established in 1957 on Pyote Air Force Base near the town of Pyote in Ward County, Texas. Named Pyote Air Force Station after the location. The radar site was initially assigned a Permanent ID of TM-186. Abandoned in 1963.

Pyote Army Airfield Entrance with Commemorative Plaques.


Established in 1957 and became operational in 1959 as Pyote Air Force Station manned by the 697th 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-3A search radar and an FPS-6 height-finder radar. Both radars were mounted on open frame temperate towers without radomes.


Operations were discontinued on 1 May 1963. Pyote AFS and the 697th were deactivated on 1 Aug 1963.

Physical Plant

This site was located on what had been during World War II, the Pyote Army Air Base. The base transitioned from the Army to the Air Force in 1947 when the Air Force was created and was named Pyote Air Force Base. The base was in a caretaker status when the radar site was established.

The physical plant of the radar site was divided into the main operations site, a cantonment area, a family housing area, and a radio site. Part of the radar site used some existing buildings as a portion of the cantonment area while the operations area, radio site, and family housing area were purpose-built using civilian contractors. It was estimated that the cost of the site was about $2.5 million dollars.

The main operations site housed the operations building, the two radar towers, the backup generator building, and the tech supply building. A separate Ground to Air Transmitter/Receiver (GATR) radio site was located a short distance from the main operations site and it housed the radio equipment for directing aircraft intercepts. The operations site was fenced in and had an access road that connected it to the cantonment area and the housing area some five miles away. 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 cantonment area was the small 27-unit housing area for married personnel.

Pyote AFS Structures (edit list)
Number Building Area Currently
FPS-3 Radar Tower OPS No GFE
FPS-6 Radar Tower OPS No GFE
Radio Receiver-Transmitter Building Radio Yes $30,615 Est
Operations Building Ops Yes $109,927 Est
Tech Supply Ops Yes $18,500 Est
Power Building Ops Yes $35,886 Est
Security Fence Ops Yes $5,000 Est
Access Road & Utilities Ops Yes $125,000 Est
Barracks Cantonment $42,600 Est
Barracks Cantonment $42,600 Est
Bachelor Officer Qtrs Cantonment $89,100 Est
Multi-purpose (Mess Hall, Disp, Unit Supply, Community bldg.) Cantonment $286,000 est

Pyote AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems IFF/SIF/Beacon
Unit Designations
  • 697th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1958-1963)
697th Assignments
  • 8 Dec 1956 - Activated at Kirtland AFB, NM, as the 34th Air Division.
  • 21 Feb 1957 - Moved to Pyote AFS, TX.
  • 1 Jan 1960 - Transferred to Albuquerque ADS.
  • 15 Sep 1960 - Transferred to Oklahoma City ADS.
  • 1 Sep 1961 - Transferred to 4752nd Air Defense Wing.
  • 25 Jun 1963 - Transferred to Oklahoma City ADS.
  • 1 Aug 1963 - Discontinued.

Current Status

Pyote AAF Plaque.

Abandoned as a Radar Station and in private hands in Ward County, Texas.

Location: Near Pyote in Ward County, Texas.

Maps & Images

Lat: 31.47778 Long: -103.16833

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 2,618'

GPS Locations:

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 100.
  • 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 157.
  • USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2089928


Visited: 26 Nov 2017 Area

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