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This is an aerial view from 1970 and it depicts the U. S. Army's C Battery HM03 Nike Hercules Air Defense Missile Site just above the Dade-Broward County line and east of Flamingo Road (NW 67 Avenue in Dade County). It was also called the Carol City missile base by area locals despite just being over the county line in what is now Miramar.
This missile site was in operation from 1965 through 1979; the original site was in the Carol City area north of NW 183rd Street and east of NW 57th Avenue from November 1962 until permanent facilities were completed in 1965. The missile sites around Miami were initially stocked with Nike Hercules missiles, some of them nuclear armed. The personnel manning the Nike sites around Miami were from the Army's 2nd Missile Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Group, Batteries A, C and D, in rapid deployment mode at Fort Bliss, Texas. They received orders to move out to the Miami area on October 22, 1962, and they loaded personnel, vehicles, radars, missiles, tents, etc. onto trains. On November 14, 1962, after the Cuban Missile Crisis was over, all units around Miami were fully operational.
Charles D. Carter, who was stationed at the original Nike site in Carol City, has a very informative website on South Florida's missile sites at:
http://www.Nike252.org and he can be contacted at NikeHistorian@Nike252.org
The Nike Hercules were solid fuel long range high speed ground to air and ground to ground missiles, with the majority of them nuclear armed to blow enemy aircraft out of the sky along with their nuclear payloads. The Hawk missiles were shorter in length and limited to ground to air defense.
The Broward County (later in the City of Miramar) missile launching site had three separate launch pads, each with their own generator for power purposes, a launcher capable of handling three missiles that were housed in a barn-like building and moved on rails to the adjacent launching pad and individual partially underground launch control rooms protected by earthen berms. The site also had a headquarters building, water supply plant, sewage treatment facility, and technical facility to clean, test and process the missiles and electronics prior to their deployment to the launch barns/pads.
In 2008 the National Park Service took over a similar facility (HM-69) in the Everglades for public tours and according to their website, and other websites using the same language, the Miramar missile site is now a Publix shopping center. That is obviously incorrect because the Miramar site looks the same today as in the above image except land clearing has begun along Flamingo Road to build a new National Guard training facility. The Army website at http://eul.army.mil/SnakeCreek/Documents/FLARNG_EBS.pdf provides the history of the above missile site, diagrams of where buildings were, and future plans for this site. There is not a Publix shopping center within a couple of miles radius of this site so one only knows where that tale came from.
The Integrated Fire Control (IFC) facility for the above missile launching site was located just west of Red Road at NW 186th Street and NW 62nd Avenue. The IFC consisted of radar towers, control and command centers and an administrative area that also included a small exchange for military personnel. The minimum separation between the IFC and the missile launch site was established as 3000 feet. The solid fuel Nike missile had a booster rocket that fell after launching and that drop zone could be as near as 1000 feet from the launch site and it fell wherever velocity and wind speed took it. One might question the wisdom of county governments (Broward and Dade) approving mobile home parks immediately east of a missile base with nuclear warheads and booster rockets falling to earth after launch.
There were 7 batteries established around Miami and Homestead. More information on the batteries, especially around Key West and the site at Key Largo, can be read at http://www.keyshistory.org/KL-NikeSite.html which provided me with a lot of information for the description under this photo.
There was also a missile launching site southeast of this facility in the middle of nowhere a mile or two north of NW 183rd Street and west of NW 37th or 47th Avenues. A friend and I took two girlfriends out for a drive one day in the latter part of 1963 and we stumbled upon the missiles and men set up in a field with no shade. There were tents and missiles on launchers visible in the distance and the site was surrounded by low coils of barbed wire. Because we had girls with us several of the Army missile men came over to talk to us over the fence.
When I was on active duty in the USCG in the late 1960's the IFC on NW 183rd Street had a small exchange where military members could shop but I never got there during it's limited operating hours so I never got onto the facility. Security personnel that I spoke to through the fence said they did not have missiles located there but that they were a command post for the Miramar missile site (pictured above) to the north of them. Strangely though, and totally contrary to what I had been told, my ex-wife and I drove by the facility late one night while enroute from Hialeah to our home in Miramar and we could see about 8 or 9 Nike Hercules missiles raised up on launchers at the site and their silhouettes looked like numerous church steeples against the partially moonlit sky and clouds. Since this was the opposite of what I had been told we looked long and hard at the missiles and I remember vividly what it looked like. Unfortunately I did not have a camera with low light capabilities at the time. The IFC facility was also closed around 1979 and the property is now the U. S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center that moved from Tigertail Avenue in Coconut Grove.
Here are some links to some very interesting websites about the Nike Hercules and Hawk missiles and their launching sites:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/06/AR2009030601268.html - article about HM-69 in the Everglades now open to public tours - mistakenly labels the Miramar site as "Opa-Locka" (sic)
http://ed-thelen.org/loc.html - a comprehensive list of most missile launching sites in the USA.
http://ed-thelen.org/loc-f.html#Florida - a list of Nike sites in Florida
http://www.aaonline.com/hawk/Unithistory.htm - Charlie Battery Unit History
http://www.acme.com/jef/nike/ - Nike sites around San Francisco
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-9951001-52.html - Nike sites, mostly San Francisco area
http://www.madracki.com/usarmyhawk/page1.html - plenty of photos of personnel and missiles in Okinawa (caution, female nudity included)
http://www.madracki.com/usarmyhawk/page8.html - photos of personnel and missiles around Key West