Important Announcement

We would like to thank our loyal fellow members of the Nike Historical Society for your continued support over the years. We will be closing the Society, including the store, as of March 31, 2024. We have acquired a large repository of Nike technical information. The web site will continue to be available. It has been our pleasure to keep the legacy of the Nike missile's contribution of the successful conclusion to the Cold War.

the Board of Directors
Nike Historical Society


Nike Site Dangers

Not only were the duties on a Nike Site filled with constant alerts, training, inspections, Radar Bomb Scoring, and other routine soldier duties like guard duty, K.P., painting and polishing, but there were inherent dangers, and I'll start the list. Any vets out there that want to add to the list just send your material to the

-Ezio Nurisio

Ted Swanson wrote:

William Vento wrote:

While in Omaha at B-6-43, our missiles were topside. That's right, topside, not underground! Anyway, they were covered by a vinyl air inflated tent. The missiles as well as the launchers were covered by these tents. We had to climb on top of the missiles after an ORE or TPI and get the covers back over the missiles. Imagine doing this with snow on the soles of your boots! Very slippery.

Glen Talon wrote:

Nike Vet Glen Talon N.H. Chair CWVA
Cold War Veterans Assc.


Carl Durling C-2-52 1961-62:
Finding a rattle snake in your tent while on field exercises in the desert north of Fort Bliss.

Battery B, 5th Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery:

On a hill with our radars, we were on hot status. Suddenly we heard a number of shots. We called for immediate backup! One of our MPs had fallen asleep in the guard shack with a full load of ammo in his M16. Life was never dull on the hill. Down range we had a MP who lost it and decided to shoot at our Nukes. He was escorted to the nearby hospital.
CW2 Gale Dorman Retired

Carrol Tilley wrote:

Sam McClung, D-2-1 ADA, Dichtelbach, West Germany 1970s:

Rodney Rollins:

Subject: danger in the Everglades:

-Frank Pepper. I was a dog handler in the Everglades.

From: Jim Martensen
Re: Trichloroethylene

-Sp4 Lonny Self 1978

-Ron Santos

From: "Tom de Grom"
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2012

Tom de Grom

From: "Robert Kirk"
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012
Subject: Danger and Fun

1. Okinawa 2. Redstone 3. Fort Bliss

From: "Jim Derendinger"
Sent: Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I was a trainer for HqBn. 3/71 in Germany in 66, 67, 68 and loved every moment. We were all individuals but the men I trained were the best people in the service. I am so proud to have been a part it all.

From: "Gerald Browning"
Sent: Friday, March 8, 2013

Just a couple of Nike Site Dangers that I remember that come to my mind:

Gerald Browning

From: "Hank"
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 4:38:38 PM
Subject: Nike Herc night time thriller

Fort Tilden, Far Rockaway, NY

As Chief Site Missile Equipment Engineer, getting a 2 AM phone call at my off base home because a visiting Colonel decided to do an unscheduled snap launch drill during a rain and later lightening storm and got a missile stuck in the raised position on the top of the elevated launch area.

No equipment mechanic was on site so as the SSG in charge of the engineering section I was called in and no sooner after I had the missile back down and into the bunker and I was walking away from the hill there was a MAJOR DIRECT LIGHTENING STRIKE to the exact launch door that had been jammed open with a raised NIKE HERC MISSILE.

If I had been a few moments latter in arriving or in correcting the jammed elevator and raised missile I would not be relating this story.

Of course this was an incident that never officially happened.

-SSG Burns 63c40

From: Robin Smith
Sent: Sunday, July 7, 2013 8:14:23 PM
Subject: Dangers of a Nike Site

Robin Smith
CW2 Ret

From: "Robert Bennington"
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 4:33:29 PM
Subject: Nike Herc Missile exploded

Faulty solid fuel flamed out about 500' after launch, separated from second stage and then reignited and slammed into the second stage. Huge fireball that almost reached the launcher. The guys in the bunker thought they were toast (literally).

-Robert Bennington 24p20 at McGregor

From: "Robert Bennington"
Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2013 6:39:30 PM
Subject: More dumb stuff

Other fun stuff

From: R. Alderson / SP5
Subject: Melting Waveguide
Date: Thursday, 19 December 2013

Because of our location, the top five channels on the HIPAR radar could not be used unless the bad guys were overhead. I was told police, fire services, and a host of other radios would be useless for a large area of the east coast!

Once a month at 3 AM on the first Sunday the top five channels were tested for one minute each, timed with a stop watch.

The HIPAR was fired up and the rotation was locked with the antenna pointed at a certain point off the east coast. Good luck to any fishing boats at that point of the ocean. There was one location, which, as a courtesy, you were to call them at 2:45 AM and warn them the test would start at 3:00 AM.

This was my first time doing this test. I called the number at 2:45 AM and got no answer (this was before answering machines). I called again at 2:55 AM but still no answer. I proceeded with the test at 3 AM. At 3:03 AM I received a call from our base switchboard. It was a very angry civilian screaming that we were melting the front end of his receiver: puddles of brass waveguide! Then he said "the emerald in the amplifier was melting also; oh my God stop, stop now!" My instructions said nothing about stopping the test, so I finished the tests, Cold War is Cold War! I updated my log and headed down the hill for some rest. We were short mechanics so we were working 24 hours on and 24 off. I mean we were working 24 hours straight.

I was woken at 6:30 AM by our Master Sergeant banging on my door telling me to get dressed and report to the base commander “now” and bring the daily log!

I reported as ordered. The base commander told me he had a call from an angry civilian saying that I had destroyed his equipment last night and he was billing the Army for $40,000 (this was in 1965!) I reviewed what I had done with the Captain and the test instructions. I also showed him where in the log I made two calls when only one was required.

While I was in his office, the base commander telephoned the civilian. The Captain told the civilian that he had been notified by the Army two years ago that these tests would take place and when. It was up to him to take whatever action was necessary to protect his equipment. The Captain said "my Specialist called you twice as a courtesy before the test took place but nobody answered the phone". The civilian said he must have been in the antenna, that was why the phone was not answered. After the call I was dismissed with a job well done. I never heard a word about the test again.

Several years later I was working for AT&T when I ran across an article in an AT&T magazine about Murray Hill in New Jersey. Murray Hill is where all the AT&T antenna experiments took place. Murray Hill was across from our Hipar about 600 yards on the next hill with a perfect line of sight to the HIPAR when locked down for the test!

Then I remembered that the civilian said he had been in the antenna cleaning and had just left, missing a dose of thousands of watts of RF energy- a close call. Think of being in the world’s biggest microwave oven, ouch!

The emerald that was melted was in one of the first RF laser amplifiers in the world!

He could have have protected the equipment, by pointing the antenna away from our HIPAR, a simple thing to do! This had been done for many tests in the past in the last two years.

The civilian on the phone and two other scientists received a Noble Prize for discovering cosmic background radiation in space, the C.O.B.E. project, after they rebuilt their antennas front end receiver!

R. Alderson / SP5
Hazlet, NJ

From: Emmett R. Caraker Jr.
Sent: Friday, October 10, 2014
Subject: THULE Greenland

Rising Star System with elevator mounted launchers. Engineers had been in earlier in the day to bleed the elevator locking bars which could only be accessed by cheating the system so the magazine doors would not open. They finished their work and left. Sometime later our site was called up as we were the backup battery. Prior to assuming hot status we had to run a drill. The other pit rat and myself rolled a round on the launcher and I performed the stray voltage check. When the command came to raise elevator everything started moving, the elevator started upward, the erector beam was rising and the magazine doors did not open. I was manning the emergency power switch and had to shut down the system. Unfortunately the engineers had failed to remove the cheater cable which prevented the doors from opening. Needless to say the engineering section chief and his assistant got read the riot act.

Spec.-5 Emmett R. Caraker Jr.
MOS 16b20

From: Hardy, Timothy A CIV (US)
Subject: Nike Site Dangers (UNCLASSIFIED)
Date: Fri, 15 May 2015

SPC Timothy Hardy,
1st of the 34th, Italy

From: Don Mullis
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2015
Subject: Inherent Dangers of Nike work

SP5 Don Mullis
A/5/6 ADA

From: Michael Williquette
Subject: Nike site in Germany
Date: April 23, 2016

My name is Michael Williquette. I was stationed In Blankenheim, Germany from April 1965-Jan 1967. My MOS was 22f20 Nike electronic maintenance and warhead specialist. I was at Delta Team 43rd Artillary with our headquarters in Duran. I have an interesting story about a Belgian security guard fireing his Thompson sub-machine gun inside one of our barns with 8 nukes inside. He was playing with the seal on his clip and broke it. There was an American with him in the barn at the time but didn’t see him lock and load a round. His Thompson went off. We looked everywhere for the slug and SASCOM came in to search for it too. We never found the round and I am not sure what happened to the Belgian soldier but for all I know he is still in jail.

From: Barry Hayes
Sent: April 29, 2018
Subject: Nike Site Dangers

Sandbagging hose from Joy Compressor to launcher and having hose fitting fail.
Eating "something" (mystery meat) at cafe while on SNAP at NAMFI Crete Greece.
LCT op in Germany

From: Rocky Stovall
Date: May 6, 2018

I have been wanting to put in my two cents about the dangers on Nike sites. Here are some dangers I encountered, some are just plain stupidity.

That’s it , I think - Rocky

From: Thomas Moorer
Date: August 4, 2019

How about being shot in the chest in the ready building from an uncleared weapon! Happened to a PVC Zachary at C5-6th in Baumholder Fg around 1977-78. He turned out okay!

Thomas Moorer
C-5-6th ADA 32 BN