ranges in New Mexico have proved
that their downward path can be
charted vv ith slide rule accuracy. Wary
citizens in Nike-protected areas hope
that the army's slide rules are as accu-
r"te as thev claim.
As a further safety measure, the
tony, in conjunction with manufacturers' engineers, is conducting secret
'csts at present to develop a self-
destroying booster unit that will dis-
tategrate in midair, thus eliminating
'he necessity of acquiring and maintaining the dispersal areas. Initial tests
are said to have been highlv successful.
A toil missile commander, at the
judication of a site near Smithfield,
-'- told visitors that the onlv danger
Posed to those on the ground would
jje from "Nike-disintegrated aircraft."
fe pointed out that in such emergency residents would either have
een evacuated by civil defense
0rC'es, or would have gone under-
^".""'<1 in bombproof shelters.
.There was an incident at Fort
, ''"de in which a missile was acc-i-
..cntally touched off. It plunged onto
i e usually heavily-traveled highway
etwee, Washington and Baltimore,
'"tuiiatelv. this mishap was without
|-"""s consequences. The traffic was
/''t; and, army officials point out,
|i''t a highly secret device prevents
0 touchy warhead from exploding
*<*pt when in legitimate flight.
Army spokesmen are quick te> as-
e that Xike missiles will never be
fired deliberately from the local defense sites unless the United States is
under actual enemy attack. Only dry-
run firings ancl on-the-job training in
maintenance, repair and operation of
the weapons system are given on the
operational sites, they say.
Initial training for guided missile
personnel is given at the First Guided
Missile- Brigade, and the Anti-Aircraft
eind Guided Missile School, Fort Bliss,
Texas. After training in specialized
courses the men are trained as a
"package" and moved to on-site locations. This training period covers approximately one year for some specialists. Annual live practice firings are
conducted on isolated, permanent
Nike target ranges in New Mexico
which are closely guarded from unauthorized eyes.
Recently, Nike was subjected to an
exhaustive sub-Arctic test near
Churchill, Manitoba, on the western
shore of Hudson Bay, by Canadian
artillery and engineer personnel.
Canadian army headquarters reported
that the missile will operate successfully in the most severe weather conditions. The army said that the northern tests we're aimed at determining
Nike's performance in low temperatures, and whether it would require
modification under such conditions. It
is believed that Nike sites will eventually be established in both Canada
Fears have been expressed by persons living in the shadow of such sites
that the highly explosive warheads
and the volatile fuels, utilized to
power the rocket, constitute an ever-
present danger. The army denies this.
Rigid safety precautions, it is pointed out, are taken for storage of the
weapons and fuel in concrete vaults,
deep underground. Residents in the
surrounding areas are in no danger,
say army district engineers, who have
been given the responsibility of setting up sites.
The rocket is powered xvith a liquid
fuel that necessitates its handlers
wearing acid-proof, rubberized suits
and special deep-sea, diver-type helmets that make the men look like visitors from outer space.
Men on Nike sites are conscious of
job responsibility. Reing forever
watchful, forever alert for something
that may never come, can be dreary
monotony. These men knoxv, however,
that a momentary distraction could
mean a city destroyed, a vital defense
area wiped out xvith a hydrogen bomb.
Although married men in the anti-
aircraft units arc allowed to live "off
the post" with their families, and usually find accommodations in nearby
communities, Nike installations are
self-contained "cities," with the soldiers eating, sleeping and working
around the clock, seven days a week.
In the early days of Nike, army
engineers cleared many photographs
for publication in newspapers and
magazines. No new photographs —
(Continued on Page 64)
* typical "Nike
- where enemy
«>I s °re "light
' "^lleet" in the
tny<" net. Lock-
s"°<:cr beams in-
%'* """ P°,hs °*
"id its p,ey will
jC,°K ot a pre-
s Foiu-m News, June, 1956