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Where Were You During The Cold War ?
This page is dedicated to the radar maintenance technicans that maintained the radars that projected an invisible fence  around and across the United States and along the 69th parallel otherwise known as the DEW Line, in the jungles of South East Asia, on islands across the Pacific and, the European mainland and Africa. Any where there was a remote mountain top or desert waste land , then it seemed  to be an ideal place to establish radar stations.Transmittimg five, ten, or more, million watts of RF power by powerful long range radars often demanded isolated or remote locations. Duty was continous and demanding. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year .Even before Winston Churchill in March 1946 coined the phrase "Iron Curtain" in a speech at Fulton, Missouri, the USAF was beginning to perfect a defense from the perceived air breathing threat of the Soviet Union.Towards that end, headquarters USAF established  the Air Defense Command on March 21, 1946. To futher counter the Soviet threat the Distant Early Warning Line was created. It stretched three thousand miles from Barter Island, Alaska to Thule, Greenland. Operational testing began on the DEW Line in 1954 and was completed by 1955. In January 1958 ADC Became the Aerospace Defense Command (in later years it would be derisively called "A Dying Command"). Assignments to the DEW Line were dreaded, they were 365 days of duty in the most miserable weather and living conditions that can be imagined, isolated from all but the most menial creature comforts. This writer spent the full year of 1961 perched on top of a mountain at Sparrevohn Air Force Station, Alaska. Which is why he voluntered for duty in South East Asia and chanced being shot at rather then spend another year on a remote Alaska tour of duty. Radar maintenance personnel were expected to maintain a bewildering variety of search radars, height finding radars, gap filler radars, IFF transponders, and associated display scopes. Also there were training devices to simulate aircraft radar tracks and interceptor data for training radar display operators.There was a wide variety of test equipment, scope cameras and ancillary equipment. Antenna hydraulic and    electric drive systems and radome inflation equipment, heat exchangers, air compressors, and refrigeration systems to name a few. At the same time all equipment was expected to be kept sparkling clean and in 100 percent operational condition. Oh yes, lets not forget the skills that were needed to operate fork-lifts and trucks, from pick-up size to 6X6. In addition all facilites had to be kept in a good state of repair and surrounding grounds immaculate. And when you were not otherwise busy you had to study to maintain your technical skills and prepare yourself for career testing in hopes of being promoted.....In 1980  ADC was deactivated. The hand writing had been on the wall for several  years. ADC had been steadily declining as radar stations were closed down. The end of an era, the likes of which will doubtless not be seen again, had come to an end. So to my fellow wrench turners who kept the radars across the waste lands and around the world turning and burning, WELL DONE!  By your efforts, large or small, we can say that we fought the electronic part of the cold war and won!!
Operations In Action
   Testing Electronic Circuits
AN/FPS-3 Search Radar on a temperate tower
Artic Towers at a Long Range Northern Radar Station
E-Mail the Chief your comments and/or suggestions
Click on patch for gone but not forgotton history
of ADC Radar stations
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