August 13, 2011- Milagra ridge, the former Launcher Area of Site SF-51, Pacifica, California, was foggy and chilly as the Nike Historical Society, Dave Bridgman (representing his family), and the National Park Service dedicated two informational signs. The signs explain the former Launcher Area and IFC. The signs also serve to memorialize the Army and National Guard units that manned the site. One sign overlooks the former Launcher Area and the other is located at the former IFC Area.
Since both areas are on National Park Service land, the signs will be permanent fixtures for future generations of Americans to learn about the Nike Site that once occupied the area and the important role it played in the Air Defense of our nation.In attendance were
Phil Vesco, a battery officer in AA when it was still guns, later became battery commander of the first California Army National Guard site activated at Ft. Funston. His son drove him to the SF-51 sign dedication from Sacramento. Nike Historical Society board member Gordon Lunn (also attending) worked for Bill Story (did not attend) in the Los Angeles Defense. Bill Story had worked for Phil Vesco in the San Francisco Defense.
David Bridgman, a National Park Service docent who interprets both Sweeney (IFC) and Milagra (Launcher) Ridges, and who worked with us on the waysides, also served at SF-51 as did his father before him.
Historian Steve Haller spoke of the historical background of the site and the Nike defense in the Bay Area.
Randy Torrijos, Legislative Aide to San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine, read a Resolution passed by the County Board of Supervisors commending the Nike Historical Society for undertaking the project.
An Army Nike soldier who served at SF-51 said, "I trained those National Guard guys."