Rye Air Force Station
Rye Air Force Station (1955-1957) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station established in the summer of 1955 as Rye Air Force Station. Located near Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of M-104. Closed as a manned radar site in 1957 and converted to the Fort Dearborn unmanned gap-filler radar site P-10B/Z-10B that same year. The gap-filler site closed in June 1968.
Established in 1955 and became operational in 1955 as Rye Air Force Station manned by the 644th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron. Final acceptance of the site occurred on 14 Mar 1955.
The nearby Sugden House (now incorporated into the Seacoast Science Center) was used as barracks for about 15 men. A fire station, mess hall, gate house, operations center, and other support buildings were built by the Air Force. Some existing older Army buildings and Quonset Huts were also used.
By October 1956 construction had begun on a 70 foot tower for a SAGE system gap-filler site. In May 1957 the radar station commander, Captain Edward A. Petrick, announced in the local newspaper that the word had come down that the station would be deactivated and become an unmanned site. He estimated that it would take 12-18 weeks to finish and test the SAGE System gap-filler radar and he guessed that the deactivation might occur sometime in August.
Rye AFS and the 644th AC&W Squadron were officially deactivated in October 1957. At that tine the site was converted to the Fort Dearborn unmanned gap-filler radar site P-10B/Z-10B and maintained by personnel from North Truro Air Force Station. The FPS-14 radar antenna is said to have been located behind Battery 204 but a newspaper article indicates that it was on built onto 14' concrete pillars (probably the Battery 204 entrance walls). The gap-filler site closed in June 1968.
Now a part of Odiorne Point State Park. Some buildings used by the site may still be part of the Visitor center.
Visited: 21 May 2018, 7 Jun 2012