The site known as Camp Hero, or the Montauk Air Force Station was originally commissioned by the U.S. Army in 1942. The site was chosen becaues of the fear of a New York invasion that might be staged from the sea. It was a coastal defense station that was disguised as a fishing village.
Camp Hero was named after Maj. Gen. Andrew Hero Jr., who was the Army's commander of coastal artillary. He died in 1942. Flanking the small housing development were two large concrete bunkers that were half-submerged beneath several feet of topsoil. The walls and ceilings of these bunkers were made of concrete that were over three feet thick.
Four 16in Naval guns were housed in these bunkers that faced the sea. They were to be used against any enemy craft that might attempt a landing there. The guns were never fired, and there was never any battle over Camp Hero during World War II. In 1947, the guns were dismantled by the Army and the metal was salvaged for scrap uses.
In 1950, the U.S. Air Force moved some personnel and equipment to the site and began radar surveillance operations. During this period, the base was run under a joint residence of the Army and Air Force, this continued untill 1957. The army had set up some anti-aircraft batteries on the base to campliment the radar equipment used by the Air Force, they were never fired either.
In 1957, the Army withdrew from Camp Hero and removed the anti-aircraft batteries that it housed there. After the departure of the Army, the base was remaned by the Defense Department as the Montauk Air Force Station.
In 1962, a huge 5 story cubical tower was commissioned that housed a gigantic 75ft. radar dish. Various other buildings on the site were also used for housing radar equipment-notably the "pink" or "orange" building as it has come to be called. These other buildings were the octoganal structures that remain today.
The Montauk Air Force Station continued to operate through the 1970's, the stage radar being used as a coastal defense warning system, and it employed both military, and civilian personnel.
The Air Force itself submitted a proposal to the Carter Administration to close the base in 1978 as it had for the mostpart become obselete, and continuous operation of the base was unnecessary.
The base was planned to close in July of 1981. The Reagan Administration has planned to retire the national dept by selling off surplus Federal land that wasn't being used. Camp Hero fell within these boundries, and the G.S.A was given the task of disposing of it. The base would continue to operate in compliance with the FAA as a ground to air radio station untill 1982, with a military staff of five.
As of today, the Montauk Air Force Station still exists, however it is a derelict facility. The houses, radar buildings and the bunkers are all still there but are in a serious state of disrepair and decay. Left at the mercy of time and vandalism, they have become whithered relics of the past.
The entirety of Camp Hero
has since been donated to New York State as a state park but the portions
of the inner base containing the buildings and other structures is off
limits to the public- it is a potentially hazardous site for casual strollers.
Project (Time Travel Experiment)
Pictures of Camp Hero