How the Cold War was won

This is not really apropos radio broadcasting, but it is about radio and it has a lot to do with engineering.  Back in the day, as a young man out to do whatever it was, I ended up being stationed on Guam, working at the Coast Guard radio station there.  That was interesting work, to be sure, but every morning and evening, either on my way to or from work, I would drive by this, which looked very interesting:


I had to lift the photo from a Navy Radio history site.  Back in my day, aiming or even possessing a camera around this area or building would likely inflict the extreme ire of the Marines, who attentively observed the area and were ready to call down a painful lesson to all not obeying the “NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED” signs.

Nicknamed “The Elephant Cage” it is a Wullenweber antenna used for high-frequency direction finding (HFDF) and was part of a system called “Classic Bullseye.”  There were several of these systems across the Pacific Ocean, and they all worked together using a teletype network.  The Army-Air Force version was called a AN  FLR-9, which was slightly larger.

AN/FRD-10 antenna layout
AN/FRD-10 antenna layout

There were two concentric rings of antennas, the tallest being the closest to the center building and used for the lowest frequencies.  It covered from about 1.5 to 30 MHz.  The rings consisted of several individual antennas, all coupled to a Goniometer with coaxial cables cut to identical lengths.  The outer ring had 120 vertical-sleeved dipole antennas, and the inner ring consisted of 40 sleeved dipole antennas.  The inner ring of towers also contained a shielding screen to prevent the antennas on the other side of the array from picking up signals from the back of the antenna.  A radio wave traveling over the array was evaluated and the Goniometer determined the first antenna that received the signal by comparing phase relationships.   The ground system was extensive.  Immediately under the antennas was a mesh copper ground screen.  From the edge of the copper mesh, buried copper radials and extended out 1,440 feet from the building.

The effective range for accurate DF bearings was about 3,200 nautical miles, which equates to about two ionospheric hops with the angle theta between 30 to 60 degrees referenced to the ground.

It was quite effective, it only took a couple of seconds to get a good bearing.  If the other stations on the network were attentive, a position could be worked out in less than 10-15 seconds.

AN FRD-10 transmission line diagram
AN FRD-10 ground diagram

It is a little hard to read, but this is the ground layout of the AN FRD-10 CDAA.  The transmission lines to each antenna are shown, along with the ground screen and building in the center of the array.

We Coast Guard types used this mainly for Search and Rescue (SAR) and the occasional Law Enforcement (LE) function.  I believe we actually saved a few lives with this thing.  I found the Navy operators to be very helpful, I think some of them enjoyed the change of targets from their normal net tripping.

The Navy operated AN FRD-10s at the following locations in the Pacific:

  • Imperial Beach, CA (south of San Diego)
  • Skaggs Island, CA (northeast of San Francisco)
  • Hanza (Okinawa) Japan
  • Waihawa, HI
  • Finegayan, Guam
  • Adak, AK
  • Marietta, WA

The Air Force/Army installed AN FLR-9’s in the following Pacific Locations:

  • Missawa AB, Japan
  • Clark AB, Philippines
  • Elmandorf AFB, AK

Basically, there was no corner of the Pacific Ocean that could not be listened to and DF’d.  Some people look back nostagically at the cold war when we “knew who the enemy was,” so to speak.  I am not one of those.  They either didn’t really know the enemy or have conveniently forgotten some of the less endearing qualities of the Soviet Union.

I believe all of these systems have been decommissioned and most have been taken down and scrapped.  The National Park Service studied the Waihawa, HI system as a part of their Historical American Building Survey (HABS HI-552-B2) (large .pdf file) before it was torn down.  Good technical description and building pictures.  Near the end of the report, it is cryptically noted that:

Beginning in the mid-1990s the NSG (ed: Naval Security Group), noting the absence of Soviet targets and wanting to cut costs and change the focus of its SIGINT collection, began closing FRD-10 sites… Undoubtedly, since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, listening posts have gained importance and most likely increased in number and sophistication. The FRD-10 CDAA at NCTAMS Wahiawa ceased listening in August 2004; it can only be assumed the closure occurred because there was a better way to do it.


The Guam site has been stripped out and abandoned, the latest photo I can find is from 2008:

Abandoned AN FRD-10, Finegayan, Guam
Abandoned AN FRD-10, Finegayan, Guam

And people think AM broadcasting is expensive…

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64 thoughts on “How the Cold War was won”

  1. I remember something like this outside of the Champaign-Urbana metro area in Illinois. As I recall, it was only a single ring of antennas, though.

  2. That was build by the University of Illinois shortly after the plans were captured from the Germans in 1945. They studied the Wullenweber design extensively. I think it was abandoned sometime around 1980, it might still be standing.

  3. I believe the contractor was ITT Federal for the Navy systems and Sylvania for the Army/Air Force, although a lot of the equipment for the Navy system was made by Sylvania, things like antenna couplers, etc.

  4. I worked at this site for 3 years from Dec. ’72 to March ’76. There is more information posted here than we were allowed to know when working at the site. The Naval Security Group rating at that time were CT’s (Communications Technicians) and there were 5 branches CT-R, CT-C, CT-T, CT-M, CT-A. They were sort of their own organization within the navy with the required security clearances to deal with the needs of the Naval Security Group. The C’s handled two way communications within the rating, the T’s dealt with the digital modes of communications, the M’s maintained the equipment, the A’s handled the administrative functions, and the R’s were collections (I guess because the C’s were already spoken for). The R-branchers were Morse Code operators and worked in the DF part of the operation. Today the CT personnel are known as Cryptologic Technicians. There was an armed Marine guard at the entrance door who would only allow you in if you displayed the proper ID tag that must be worn at all times when in the building. After getting past the first door there was a second door that required a security code to get past. Once inside there were various areas within the building that also required security codes to get past in addition to the proper ID tag that was color coded to show what areas of the building to you were allowed access. In the rare instances when private contractors were required to work in the building, all equipment had to be set to a defalt setting that would not give away their intended purpose, or if that was not possible it was covered so it couldn’t be viewed.

  5. I remember the CT’s well. I was there in the late 80’s early 90’s when Classic Wizard was the primary focus, however, the Wullenweber antenna was still in use. It was a fantastic engineering feat and it is a shame that it was dismantled.

  6. I believe the AF is still operating the AN/FLR-9s The one we had at Misawa AB in Japan (FLR-9a) was a newer one with a few differences than the stock -9. Our friendly “Bear” still operates a lot of HF equipment and it pays to know from where it is working. If you check Google Earth you can quite clearly see the one at Misawa. Look Northwest of the runway and across a small lake to find “The Hill” as sigint facilities are often called..

  7. Dave, I didn’t know that the AF was still using CDDAs, that is interesting. I suppose there is more Bear air/army traffic than naval activity these days, as most of their old fleet is now razor blades.

    I know that the FLR-9 at Clark was turned into an amphitheater after the US pullout in 1991.

  8. Very nice article. I spent 5 1/2 years of my life working in the Elephant Cage on Guam. First tour was 1978-81. During my second tour from 1992-94 I ran the operation. Several things went on in the Naval Security Group Department (NSGD) Guam. HFDF was one of the centerpiece missions that faded away due to changes in communications technology. When HFDF was still front burner we spent most of our time tracking Soviet planes and Naval targets, surface and subsurface. Other countries were also in our target list. And, we supported Search & Rescue (SAR), working closely with the Coast Guard and other services to assist in locating distressed ships or aircraft. Fix accuracy Pacific HFDF Net was always an issue due to potentially long distances to the target, signal drift, and atmospherics. Fixes were more often expressed as elipses, within which targets could be found. Sometimes the elipse was quite large, so for SAR ops it was often best to send a rescue ship or aircraft out on a line of bearing (LOB). During a SAR mission we ideally wanted our target to go up on a specified HF frequency and communicate a long count of numbers. That way the Pacific HFDF Network could keep copying and triangulating for a better fix. Getting a fix on the Soviets or “Ivan” was not so easy. Over time they migrated to communicating with packeted burst signals that were often over in milliseconds. Each signal had a unique signature that could be assigned as a specific target. For moving targets accurate fixes were problematic but if we got enough hits as they moved along then we could provide general locating data and a probable course/speed. It was a game of electronic cat and mouse. S. Wuelfing got the CT branches a little off or his info may have been dated. He said a CT-C was a communicator. That may have been true once, but when I was on active duty CTO’s were communicators. And, he left off CTI’s, the Linguist branch. Before getting my commission in the Navy I was a Marine CTI. The Navy and Marine Corps always worked closely together. Navy CT’s comprised the Naval Security Group Command while Marines with CT-like MOS’s were the Marine Support Battalion and Radio Battalions. We all worked together at many NSGD sites. In addition to HFDF in the Pacific the we also had the Atlantic Net and there was an Indian Ocean site on the island of Diego Garcia. We also worked closely with allied countries, such as the UK, Canada, Australia and a few others who joined in the effort to target Soviet aircraft, ships and submarines. A primary concern during the Cold War was tracking their ballistic missile submarines that lurked under the Arctic ice shelf close to the U.S. and our allies in the Northern Hemisphere. That could be another whole story. A great book on how CT’s were used by the U.S. Navy and the National Security Agency (NSA) onboard our submarines to counter the Soviets is “Blind Man’s Bluff.” CT’s or “Spooks” as they were known back in the day were involved in many missions vital to U.S. security. It was a privelege to have been able to serve in the Naval Security Group and to have gotten to know many of the brilliant and interesting people who dedicated themselves into the cause of freedom.

  9. Thanks for the interesting comment, Bill. My service on Guam was between yours. By your second tour, the Coast Guard communications station (in building 150) had been closed down. You may have received some occasional tasking from MARSEC, located down at Apra Harbor. I always enjoyed working with the Navy guys. Toward the end of my tour, we had a couple of courtesy visits from NSG Hawaii. I got to talk with a couple of the CTO’s and they had interesting things to say.

  10. If you want to see the Soviet counterpart of the FRD10/FLA9 (KRUG), as well as
    their counterpart to the UK AN/AX16 Plessey Pusher (FIX24) and another HFDF antenna
    (THICK EIGHT), which appears to be a stripped down version of a CDAA; there is a thread on
    Google Earth Contributors (military folder),which contains a Google Earth KMZ file
    that lets you view each site. There are also folders for the FRD10, FLR9, Plessey
    Pusher, and some additional type of CDAA’s used by various countries. (Japan, China,
    Spain, Denmark, etc).

    The address for the main page of the GEC Forum is:!forum/gec

    The address for the KRUG file is:!forum/gec-military

    BTW, I also spent a tour on Guam, shortly after the FRD10 began operation. I am also a ‘plankholder’
    for the Hanza FRD10, which was put into service in 1962.

  11. Bill Matthews got it right. I did forget about the ‘O’ Branch and ‘I’ branch. I guess 40 years can make a difference in your memory bank. I not sure how I forgot about the ‘I’ branch. Each CW section had an I-Brancher assigned on each shift. One night I was copying a Russian merchant ship that was sending mostly plain language Russian in a most excited and sloppy manner. I called to the Chief who go the linguist who was reading the copy over my shoulder, and explained that the ship was sinking. It was the T/H Tiksi, (if memory serves me correctly, and sometimes it doesn’t) and I don’t believe any survivors were located.

  12. S, time does indeed fade some details, that is why it is important to write them down. I was thinking, the other day, how it has been more than 20 years since I last donned my Coast Guard uniform. Still, it seems like just yesterday.

  13. I was stationed at NAVCOMMSTA GUAM (Finegayen), primarily with SATCOM and the MsgCen. I always wanted to get a tour, but that was out of the question, as I simply didn’t have either the clearances or Need-to-know. I recall seeing it as we took off out of Anderson AFB (3 miles up the road), in August of ’69…for the last time.

    former RM USN

  14. I also spent some time in the cage in Guam and in Okinawa…. R Brancher turned I Branch after two schools in Pensicola Fl.
    I have been back to Guam since and as you say it is now being turned into a Marine Base…
    i look back at the bunch of and 18 year olds working those sites and can only feel comforted that we have young men and woman today watching our backs as well.
    Greaty memories and thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  15. Hey Paul,

    You might remember me as the XPO at NRV from 8/88-7/89. You left out one of the cages I was TAD at; south of Homestead, FL. I think it went bye bye with Hurricane Andrew. I went there while assigned to COMARIBRON, as they provided assistance to our mission. I was still an RMCS, but had a Navy LT show me everything position they had, and what they were used for. I was thinking I do not have a NTK friend, but I looked, and listened intently. I also spent a week TAD at the Imperial Beach, CA cage, that is still visible on Google Earth, learning how to be a CTO3 so I could actually send msgs on our D11 SPINTCOMM.

  16. Paul, you may not know, or remember that, I initiated mutual visits between NSG, Guam, and NRV. You might have been on watch, or recovering from a mid-watch, but we did go into their facility, and them, ours. Sorry you might have missed it, but you had the chance as I put it into the weekly bulletin, but cannot provide you with a copy of it. I was one of a very few CG RM’s at the time to be cleared TS/SCI. At that time, my clearance was classified higher than a “collateral” TS clearance. The CG has only been a member of the “Intelligence Community” for ten years, but I am proud to be a groundbreaker to putting our service into the mix. I told my son about how, if he obtained the same clearance I had, that he could probably make about $20/30K a year more with his computer experience. I told him the best way to obtain that SCI clearance was to go into the Air Force Air National Guard intelligence, because he did not want to move from where he was. Now, both he, and his wife, work for an intelligence agency, and make about $160k/year.

  17. Paul, It is always good to hear from an old shipmate. I was on day watch when the NSG guys came through, a couple of CTs and a LCDR as I recall. Anyway, we were working a MEDICO in psn 3 and one of the CTs was trying to copy along in his head. I did not get a chance to go to their facility and regretted that, however, I did get a tour of bldg 112 (tech control) later on, which was interesting. After that tour, I never had a bad word to say about the Navy guys, they had their hands full.

    I also remember and appreciate the “invite” into the community, which was the road not taken (for various reasons).

  18. Hey Paul,

    Thanks for the quick return. I was asked to be on the lookout for people I thought were the type of people we wanted into the community. That is why I hinted about it to you and a couple others. I was selected a week after I was given orders to Golden Gate U. to get my BS in Telecomms Mgt, for the ACET program. I got a very close look into the INTEL community and various programs that the average Coastie could only dream. Because of that, I can guess the rest of what the INTEL folks are capable of, and it makes me wonder when they could not even predict the fall of the Berlin Wall. That was the last thing I saw on the TV while leaving the island! I thought I would not be accepted into the program because of some things I happened to inhale in Hawai’i 😉

    My email address is (redacted) if you want to QSO confidentially.

  19. If you are interested about the shipboard version of the e-cage, search “classic outboard”. That is what we used back in my days riding gray hulls (7 gray hulls, more than I rode CG white/black hulls!). When that msg came in detailing me to COMCARIBRON, I was told that an INT ZDK was sent back to CGHQ as no one had heard of it! What an interesting tour that was…

  20. Paul, Classic Outboard looks like a mobile version of Classic Bullseye with VHF/UHF capabilities. It mentions an adcock antenna for use above 30 MHz, which seems to me to be an outdated design. One can make a doppler shift VHF/UHF direction finder with a $30.00 USB TV tuner, a specialized fast antenna switching chip and a laptop. The software is open and free.

    The fast antenna chip is needed because the antenna array is switching at something like 35,000 RPM.

    Anyway, good stuff. I’ll contact you offline.

  21. Paul and other ex CTs. Your comments are greatly appreciated. I too was at the Finnegayan Communications Stations on Guam with the NSG as a watch supervisor. Everything you and Paul and others have said are 100 percent true.

  22. R. Brendes. I too am an “R” Brancher turned “I” Brancher. I was an dual Spanish/Russian linguist after I converted from R Branch and was sent to NavCamsWestPac on Guam as a watch supervisor where I supervised two Russian and two Chinese linguists. I remember pulling duty as a senior shore patrol on the bus that took sailors to Agana, the Sub Base and the Air Force base (Anderson) on the northern tip of the island.

  23. > it can only be assumed the closure occurred because there was a better way to do it.

    Sure; cause that’s why we decommssioned the SR-71, too…

  24. Here’s a good site for Navy CT history for those who might be interested. Filled with a lot of info, pics of former sites, CDAA sites, etc.

    I’m a retired CTOC. did tours at NSGA Homestead FL, NSGA Galeta Island Panama, NSGD Diego Garcia, NSGA Kami Seya Japan, NSGA San Diego/Imperial Beach, and a multitude of ships.

  25. I was a CTM2 back in the late 60’s. Stationed at three Wullenweber sites… Sidi Yahia Morrocco, Homestead Florida and Guam.
    In Homestead… the locals called it the Dinosaur cage on card sound road. Because of security, when asked what was it, I said it was a casino for Washington politicians (the reason for no windows in the building). I did enjoy my work and the guys I worked with. Good memories.


  26. Back when this site was being constructed, around 1963, I was “drafted” to photograph terminations at the tops of the rings. I was a CTSN-R at the time, which, along with the fact I had been a newspaper photographer/stringer, is why I got drafted since the base photomate did not have the necessary security clearance.

  27. Served two tours with NSG on Guam – 72-73 and 76-79. I was one of the rare AGs (Aerographer Mates (weathernen)) in the group and the second tour sat next to the watch I Brancher. First tour we had just established the weather shop and were very mobile throughout the building.

  28. Ernest, I am pretty sure we worked together in 72-73. I was an R-Brancher at that time. I believe I remember you. I’m Steve Wuelfing and worked with CTRC Bill Marmus, and other CT’s Les Elliott, Doug Lawrence, Byron Hudler (Hud). Any of those names ring a bell? If I’m not mistaken you my have been friends with Doug.

  29. there is/was a wollenweber on telegraph rd, in alexandria va., as late as july, 1969. i was USCG assigned to hdqts radio NMH in maintenance. the antenna was behind the radio shack, not really visible from the front gate on telegraph rd,

  30. Dear Paul,

    I am one of those counless people who found themselves on the wrong side of iron curtain. Thank you for you lifetime effort to liberate me, my family and my compatriots from soviet oppression.

    73, Tom

  31. S. Wuelfing says there were five CT branches. Actually, there were six – T-A-M-O-R-I.
    The AN/GRD-10 was built for the Navy by Sylvania. The first Navy installation was Wahiawa, Hawaii. There were four of us who went from Hawaii to West Roxbury, Mass., to the Sylvania plant for the initial training. The next class taught at Sylvania was to a core of people who would then set up maintenance training at Pensacola.
    I worked – or was in charge of maintenance – on the CDAA sites at Wahiawa, HI; Marietta, WA; and Rota, Spain.
    All of the Navy CDAA sites are long gone – except for Imperial Beach, CA. Of course, the site there is no longer operational. The ops building is used by the SEAL trainees at Coronado to “invade.” The delay in removing several of the antennas was mostly due to lack of funds rather than any operational considerations. I believe the antenna at Wahiawa was the last to be removed.
    I wish I could have the job of removing one. There is a fortune in copper in the down wires, cables, and ground plain. Probably offset by the cost of removing the 90-foot-high poles for the low-band screen.
    Before Wahiawa, I worked on the old AN/GRD-6 HFDF systems at Skaggs Island, CA, and Keflavik, Iceland. I was stationed at CommSta Guam, but it was back in 55-56 and worked only in TTY repair.
    Yeah, I know talking about all those antiques shows what an antique I am!

  32. I WAS IN SIDI YAHIA AND HOMESTEAD and we did not have any of this
    fancy equipment back in the mid and late 50’S, but it is interesting
    reading about it. I was a CTR2. When I was in Florida we helped the
    Coast Guard find a lot of lost fishermen, plus all the other stuff we done. This had to be a big improvement because on bad days we would get a signal that went around the world and naturally we would be off by 180 degrees.

  33. I remember it all well. I served as a CTM for ten years(65-75) inside the cage at Guam, Wahiawa, Rota and Homestead, departing as a CTM1 and entering the federal civil service. Hard to believe these sites are defunct. Then again, the cold war is over, the Russians, Chinese and Middle East are our friends and we have no more security worries, except or course monitoring all hose nasty American Citizens. Any way, I seems like the only monitoring folks think is necessary in on the internet and the comsats. I DO often wonder what is being used in it’s place since automation and computers really make inteferometry sing like a bird from relatively small arrays. Just think, in the 60s our cell phones would have been scifi. But what will happen after that Carrington Event scale solar flare and CME arrive(or possibly an EMP from our good friends in Tehran or Pyongyang}? Can anyone still copy CW?

  34. CW – haven’t heard that term used in years, LOL. It’s going to be like Y2K when they had to bring all the old COBOL and FORTRAN programmers out of retirement to modify the code! In 12 years in the Navy as a CT-R brancher I put in time in Homestead, FL, USS Georgetown, Kamiseya, Skaggs Island, San Miguel, PI, USS Ranger, 7th RRFS in Thailand, Camp Humphries in Korea, and Wahiwa, HI where I got out. Old times – good times. Actually felt like I was doing something good for myself and my country all at the same time, and getting paid for it! LOL. Well, not paid much, as I recall. I tripled my salary with my first job…

  35. David Hood CTM2 in the late 60’s. Wondered if you were the same CTM2 Hood who passed through NCTC,Pensacola, FL, in the late 60’s when I was stationed there, ship’s company, maintaining all the gear used by CT students. Believe you may have been in one of the AN/UYK-3 classes. Bob Cantu CTM2

  36. I worked in that building a total of five years. Was a Mandarin linguist.
    I remember running over hundreds of “road toads” after getting off the eve watch.

  37. I was an O brancer stationed at Corry Field and then at NSGA Winter Harbor from 1970 to 73. Then in 74 went back to work for the Navy as Civil Service and maintained the CDAA until it was torn down and eventually that base closed, except for 1987-1989 when I did the same in Rota Spain. I also traveled for NESECC inspecting arrays world wide for 2 great years with John Chalupski, Brian, Art, etc. I loved SecGru and Winter Harbor, and saw Suiss Zulu turn into Classic Wizard, grow and grow and grow. Working the radoms was boring after the Big HFDF site. The view from the top of Prospect Harbor was so peaceful. I often wonder about my fellow antenna guys like Deloy Bailey in Hawaii, Jack Fuller and Pat Ryan in Skaggs and IB, Leon Needam in Northwest VA, etc.
    Winter Harbor was one of the first Navy CDAA’s built, and had 40 steel towers vice eighty 100 foot treated poles. During the cold war, along with Gander and Scotland, it was always busy and productive. The town of Winter Harbor was like a little magical village during that era, and it is sad to see it now, unable to even keep a gas station, hardware store, or full time restaurant open. In its hay day it was the best place on earth to live and to work. Sadly, I can still hear the thump the towers made when they dumped them over.

  38. Interesting comments. Based on his duty stations history, I’m fairly certain that former CTM2 Dave Hood is the same fellow I knew at NSGA Homestead, FL. I was a TSEC/KY-3 tech at NSGA Homestead, FL and at NSD Wahiawa, HI. Unfortunately, Homestead did NOT have any KY-3’s; so most of my time was spent on a “Special Projects” crew that installed various types equipment and systems within the antenna’s central building, known as “site A”. There were several KY-3’s at Wahiawa, but they were extrmely reliable and required very little maintenance. So, once again, I spent most of my time on a “Special Projects” crew, but this time within the HFDF net control building 105 — down from the hill where the antenna sat. It was fun while it lasted, but after six years of being told when to shine my shoes and get a hair cut, I called it quits.

  39. I don’t think anyone mentioned Rota, Spain. I was stationed there from ’84-’87. Having been in the Marines, I was with Co. F MARSPTBN and was a 2621, which is the same as a CTR. Rota was a great place and we all had a great time over there. I often look at the various bases where CDAA’s and CDDA’s were deployed, and it makes me kind of sad that they are, for the most part, completely gone, with only the desolate circular pattern left behind to remind us all of where we once lived and worked in another time and life.

  40. I was at a site in northwest Maryland in the summer of 1969. It was said that there used to be a huge circular array of rhombic antennas, supposedly for communication with the president when he was out of the country. The place was called Ft. Ritchie Site B. I can’t find any reference to it anywhere. There was a large building that was almost entirely vacant. It had a huge number of LARGE armored coax feeding into a big room there. We had broadcasting station AAC55 operating on 179 KHz set up there. It was used to test emergency alert receivers in the Washington, DC area. I do remember that the facility had to be shut down or moved fairly soon because the hot stick anbtenna was visible from the Gettysburg battlefield historic sites. That pretty much means it had to be generally close to Emmitsburg, MD.

    I did find one reference by a guy who did security at Ft. Ritchie mentioning a sister site with 500 acres of antennas. That has to be there I was. When I was there, the antennas had apparently been removed already, but some of the other guys had apparently seen them. Just wires strung from telephone poles was what they said.

    Also, going out the back door of the place once for lunch, we passed a Sprint ABM defense site that was right outside the gate to this
    “site B” place. It was just a couple large concrete slabs and a 5m dish, enclsed in a VERY high fence with ominous signs about deadly force authorized.

    Anybody know anything about this site? I know where Ft. Ritchie is, and also site R, site C,D and E. But, have never found mention of Site B.



  41. Well, Tim Polohat was able to tell me where this Ft. Ritchie Site B was. It is about 3 miles North of Sharpsburg, MD. at 18300 Keedysville Rd. The major buildings from the site are still there, and are used by the University of Maryland and an agricultural research station. The site was originally used as an HF receiving site for worldwide Army communications. Ft. Ritchie Site A was the associated transmitting site, in Pennsylvania.

    I still haven’t figured out what that secure fenced site nearby was. Couldn’t be Sprint, as 1969 was too early for that.
    May well have just been an underground communications vault with one dish.


  42. One other tidbit, the dish antenna at the fenced site was almost certainly pointed at “Corkscrew”, where the tower is still visible in satllite photos.

  43. you forgot RAF Chicksands, Bedfordshire, England.
    I was stationed there from 1975-1978 with the USAF.
    The array has been dismantled.

  44. I worked at Misawa (6921 Security Wing) from Feb 1966 to May 1970. Working for Univac at that time.

  45. I was a T brancher at Navcams Westpac 76-79. I was one of 200 survivors of Supertyphoon Pamela, May 20-21, ’76 ( inside joke, thx Cronkite). I remember great excitement on duty when Chicom and Best Korea pilots defected. Loved my service there, the Guamanians were great people, the weather was perfect and the island was beautiful.

  46. Hello, I know this is a Coast Guard/Navy/Marine site, but I am Air Force historian and I am writing an article about the AN/FLR-9 at San Vito Dei Normanni in Italy. If anyone has any information or personal stories about working there, please contact me at
    Thank you.

  47. Back in June 1989 I was the Maintenance Watch Supervisor at Hanza, Okinawa. when the Tiananmen Square Massacre went down. Yeah there’s a story there…..

  48. That was so much fun! Interpreting over a Marine’s shoulder like that was my favorite task.

  49. There was a CDAA at NSGA Edzell, Scotland, UK. Base shut down in 1997, CDAA removed. The circular mark can still be seen on Google Earth.

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