Hastings Air Force Station

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Hastings Air Force Station (1962-1968) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station established in 1962 at Hastings Naval Ammunition Depot in Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of SM-133 and a Sage ID of Z-133. Closed in 1968.

History

The site selection for a new USAF radar station near Hastings Nebraska was publically announced in May 1960. The site chosen was the Naval Ammunition Depot just east of Hastings. The exact site on the Depot was not announced and as it turned out the site was split among four different locations within the Depot. The four sites were aligned in an east-west line just south of Highway 6. The housing area was the westernmost site and had existing housing that required renovation. That site was adjacent to the selected cantonment area which was a Marine Corps barracks area that required conversion and adaption to USAF needs. A bit further east was the site selected for the Ground-Air Transmit-Receive (GATR) radio site and east of that was the operations site that required new construction that included an Operations building with SAGE Annex, a power station, and three radar towers.

Contracts for the radar operations site buildings were announced on 5 Jun 1961 awarded to H. S. Holtze Company for $691,500 with an approximate completion date in Oct 1961. The Lyburn Construction Company was awarded a $63,988 contract for the remodel of 27 Housing units in the housing area and remodel of the Marine Barracks area for use as admin buildings, dining hall, and dormitories in the cantonment area. Later contracts were awarded for GATR site construction and for construction of the three radar towers.

The site was Activated on 1 Jan 1962 and became operational on 1 Nov 1962 as Hastings Air Force Station manned by the 625th Radar Squadron (SAGE).

Initial major equipment included the FPS-67 search radar, two FPS-6 height-finder radars and the FST-2 Coordinate Data Transmitter.

SAGE System Operation

Hastings SAGE Direction Centers & Sectors
Assigned Direction Center Sector
1 Jan 1962 - 1 Apr 1966 Sioux City SAGE Direction Center DC-22 Sioux City Air Defense Sector
1 Apr 1966 - 8 Sep 1968 Sioux City SAGE Direction Center DC-22 30th Air Division

The site became operational as a SAGE site on 1 Nov 1962 feeding the Sioux City SAGE Direction Center DC-22.

Closure

A public announcement of the plans to close the radar station came in May 1968 with the site to be deactivated by September. That announcement also indicated that the site would continue to be operated by the FAA but that appears not to have been the case. Hastings AFS and the 625th were deactivated on 8 Sep 1968.

Physical Plant

The physical plant of the site was divided into the main site, a cantonment area, a housing area and a radio site. The main site housed the operations buildings, the radar towers, and the backup generators. The cantonment area housed the enlisted barracks, the bachelor officer's quarters, the orderly room, the dining hall, the motor pool and other support buildings. Apart from the main site was a 27 unit housing area for married personnel.

A separate radio site housed the radio equipment for directing aircraft intercepts. With the SAGE System, the SAGE Direction centers had the primary task of directing intercepts and the local radio sites were reconfigured, usually into a single site that was known as the Ground- Air Transmitter-Receiver (GATR) site. The GATR site communicated with the interceptors from either the local site or the SAGE direction center via voice commands and/or a digital data link.




Hastings AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems Comm
Unit Designations
  • 625th Radar Squadron (SAGE) (1962-1968)
625th Assignments
  • 1 Jan 1962 - Activated at Hastings AFS, NE, assigned to the Sioux City ADS.
  • 1 Apr 1966 - Transferred to the 30th AD.
  • 8 Sep 1968 - Discontinued.


Hastings Air Force Station Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1962-04-01 1964-05-15 Lt Colonel Towne, Ralph W. N/A
1964-05-15 1964-06-16 Major Tuck, Sterling L. N/A
1964-06-16 1964-07-24 Major Skinner, Jasper D. N/A
1964-07-24 Major Moffitt, James M. N/A

Current Status

Scattered remains of the radar operations site, no buildings but parts of radar towers and foundations. Houses all gone in the housing area, now a part of the Central Community College Hastings as is the Cantonment Area. No visible remains of the GAR Site.


Location: Hastings in Adams County, Nebraska.

Maps & Images

Lat: 40.58 Long: -98.29

See Also:

Sources:

  • Cornett, Lloyd H. & Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization (1946-1980), Office of History ADC, Peterson AFB, Colorado, 31 Dec 1980, 179 pages, Pdf, page 154.
  • Winkler, David F., Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program, USAF Hq Air Combat Command, 1997, 192 pages, Pdf, page 133.
  • USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2087683

Links:

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