Aniak White Alice Communications Site

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Aniak White Alice Communications Site (1958-1979) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Communications Station, a part of the Alaska White Alice Communications System (WACS). The site system ID was "ANI".

After HF radio systems proved inadequate for command and control communications in Alaska, the Air Force implemented the White Alice Communications System (WACS). This was a system of tropospheric scatter and microwave radio relay sites constructed during the mid-1950s and 1960s to provide reliable communications to Alaska Air Command (AAC) AC&W radar system. The system came to encompass facilities for the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line and the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) in Alaska. While some of the WACS microwave sites remain active the WACS tropo sites were closed circa 1979 as communications technology rapidly changed to embrace communications satellites.

This site was built between 1955-1958 and was officially activated on 14 Jan 1958. Original Facilities included a 6,080 square-foot equipment and power building and a 4,750 square-foot 12-person dormitory. Three POL tanks had a combined capacity of 7,000 barrels of fuel.

In addition to the primary military circuits, the site also provided the first access to long distance telephone services for the local community and the first telephone capable of long distance phone calls was installed at the Aniak Lodge.

The Aniak WACS had two sets of 60' tropo Billboard antennas. The specific links from Aniak WACS (ANI) as/of July 1977 were:

  • TR1 Tropo to Bethel (BET1) (96 miles) 2-60' Tropo Billboard Antennas
  • TR1 Tropo to Sparrevohn (SVW) (135 miles) 2-60' Tropo Billboard Antennas

All antennas had deicers.

This site was closed in 1979 as the major White Alice terminals were replaced by Alascom satellite terminals.

Site Cleanup

From the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Spill Prevention and Response Database:

Contaminants of potential concern include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and petroleum products. CERCLA AK8570028615. The Air Force and ADEC conducted PCB cleanup between 1979 and 1981. The property was subsequently transferred from Air Force to the State of Alaska. In 1994, ADEC was notified of additional drums and possible contamination at the site. A preliminary assessment was completed in 1996. EPA conducted a Site Inspection in 1997 and documented high levels of PCB in soil outside the middle school. The federal government, its' prior contractors that operated the facility, the School District and State are potentially responsible parties for the necessary cleanup. The Corps of Engineers cleaned the inside of the Middle School and covered PCB contaminated soil outside the school in 1998. DEC has conducted further site characterization and partial cleanup outside the school. The state and federal governments and private PRPs are negotiating a settlement agreement to cover the remaining cleanup costs. EPA ID AK0001383827

Current Status

In 1979 the military facility was obsolete and was turned over to the Kuspuk School District, which renovated the main building and has used it as a school since 1983. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has owned the property since 1965 and leases the site to the Kuspuk School District and ALASCOM, Inc. The site has been converted into a middle school and high school. The foundations of the four tropo antennas, the repurposed structures, and the active satellite earth terminal can still be seen in current satellite views.

Location: Aniak in Bethel Census Area, Alaska.

Maps & Images

Lat: 61.58047 Long: -159.55054

GPS Locations:

See Also:



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