Richards-Gebaur Manual Direction Center SM-169

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Richards-Gebaur Manual Direction Center SM-169 (1955-1962) - A Cold War Manual System Direction Center first established in 1955 on Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. Named Richards-Gebaur Manual Direction Center after the location. Assigned a Permanent System ID of SM-169. Also designated Manual Combat Center MCC-2. Deactivated in 1962.

Richards-Gebaur Manual Direction Center Right Side, 1999.
Richards-Gebaur Manual Direction Center Left Side 1999.
Richards-Gebaur Manual Direction Center Right Side, 2020.
Richards-Gebaur Manual Direction Center Left Side 2020.
Richards-Gebaur Manual Direction Center(Right) SAGE Direction Center (Center) in 1999.


Established in 1955 and became operational on 8 Oct 1955 as Grandview Manual Direction Center SM-169. In 1957 Grandview Air Force Base was renamed Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base and the Manual Direction Center assumed the Richards-Gebaur name.

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.

The manual direction center (SM-169) and manual combat center (MCC-2) in building 602 closed down on 1 Jan 1962 when the nearby Richards-Gebaur SAGE Direction Center DC-08 in building 612 became operational.

Richards-Gebaur Manual Direction Center SM-169 Radar Sites (edit list)
Location Type State Unit ADC NORAD JSS From To GPS Notes
Walnut Ridge AR 725th SM-143 Z-143 1956 1961 36.13,
To Truax DC-07
Olathe KS 738th P-72 Z-72 1956 1961 38.835,
To Sioux City DC-22
Waverly IA 788th P-81 Z-81 1956 1958 42.69,
To Truax MDC P-23
Omaha NE 789th P-71 Z-71 1956 1961 41.36083,
To Sioux City DC-22
Kirksville MO 790th P-64 Z-64 1956 1958 40.29778,
Hanna City IL 791st P-85 Z-85 1956 1958 40.69889,
Hutchinson KS 793rd P-47 Z-47 1956 1961 37.92611,
Bartlesville OK 796th P-77 1956 1961 36.76222,
Fordland MO 797th P-68 1956 1961 37.15417,
Belleville IL 798th P-70 Z-70 1956 1961 38.47556,
Dallas Center IA 650th M-122 1956 1957 41.71819,

Current Status

Manual Direction Center SM-169 repurposed but vacant on the former Richards-Gebaur AFB in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

Location: Richards-Gebaur, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

Maps & Images

Lat: 38.84462 Long: -94.5464

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 1009'

GPS Locations:

See Also:


  • 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.
  • 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 53.
  • 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
  • Cold War Infrastructure For Air Defense: The Fighter And Command Missions, Headquarters, Air Combat Command Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, 1999, Pdf.


Visited: 17 Aug 2020

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