Killeen Air Force Station

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Killeen Air Force Station (1958-1961) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station established in 1958. Located near Killeen, Bell County, Texas. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of TM-192. Also known as Gray Air Force Base Radar Site. Closed in 1961.

History

On 14 Feb 1957, the 814th AC&W Squadron moved to Killeen Air Force Station, assigned to the Oklahoma City Manual Direction Center P-86, 33rd Air Division (Defense) Headquartered at Oklahoma City Air Force Station.

This station was one of eight stations established in the final phase of the Permanent AC&W Radar Program for the 33rd Air Division. The 33rd Air Division would remain a manual operation throughout the transition of the rest of the Air Defense System to the semi-automatic SAGE System. The Oklahoma City Manual Direction Center P-86 remained connected to these sites until they closed down one by one. Because the sites were never destined to become SAGE sites they received older less capable equipment and facilities and they were among the first to be closed when budgets constricted. The eight sites were:

33rd AD Mobile Phase III Radar Sites
1. TM-187 Ozona Air Force Station TX 5. TM-191 Rockport Air Force Station TX
2. TM-188 Eagle Pass Air Force Station TX 6. TM-192 Killeen Air Force Station TX
3. TM-189 Zapata Air Force Station TX 7. TM-193 Lufkin Air Force Station TX
4. TM-190 Port Isabel Air Force Station TX 8. TM-194 Lake Charles Air Force Station LA

The station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and early warning mission. The early warning mission involved tracking and identifying all aircraft entering their airspace while the GCI mission involved guiding Air Force interceptors to any identified enemy aircraft. Controllers at the station vectored fighter aircraft at the correct course and speed to intercept enemy aircraft using voice commands via ground-to-air radio.

Initial equipment included the FPS-3A search radar and a FPS-6 height-finder radar on temperate towers. The FPS-3A quickly underwent modifications to become a FPS-20A and in November 1958 the 814th AC&W Squadron began operating the FPS-20A in an arctic tower.

Manual Operation

Killeen Direction Centers & Sectors
Assigned Direction Center Sector
Nov 1958 - 1 Jan 1960 Oklahoma City Manual Direction Center P-86 33rd Air Division
1 Jan 1960 - 1 Feb 1961 Oklahoma City Manual Direction Center P-86 Oklahoma City Air Defense Sector

Closure

Killeen Air Force Station and the 814th AC&W Squadron were deactivated on 1 Feb 1961.

Gap Fillers

Killeen AFS was responsible for the maintenance of two remote unattended gap filler radar sites. The unattended gap filler sites were placed in locations where the main search radar lacked coverage. These sites were equipped with short range FPS-14 or FPS-18 search radars and FST-1 Coordinate Data transmitters that sent digitized radar target data to a SAGE direction center and to the main radar site. Both the radar set and the FST-1 were dual channel to increase site up time. Maintenance teams were dispatched for regularly scheduled maintenance or when fault indicators on the FSW-1 remote monitoring equipment suggested the site had problems. The FSW-1 also allowed remote operation of specific functions such as channel changes for the radar and for the FST-1, it also allowed remote operation of the diesel generators at the gap filler site. The Killeen AFS gap filler radars were located at Schulenburg, TX and Normangee, TX.

Killeen AFS Gap Filler Radar Sites (edit list)
ADC NORAD Location State Type From To GPS Notes
TM-192B Schulenburg TX FPS-18, FST-1 1960-04 1960-12 29.76186,
-96.93095
TM-192C Normangee TX FPS-1?, FST-1 30.99262,
-96.11478
Building exists

Physical Plant

The 814th AC&W Squadron was located in a new two-story combination administrative and barracks building. Nearby Fort Hood provided food, pay, medical support and other base facilities like the Post Exchange and Commissary.

The operational area was reached by driving out the back gate (through another guard post) of Gray AFB, four or five miles, and then up a very steep road to the top of a flat bluff. The only buildings were the operations building, supply building, the diesel power generating building and a small radio building.


Killeen AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems Comm
Unit Designations
  • 814th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1956-1961)
814th Assignments


Killeen Air Force Station Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1956~ Major Woody, Willard B. N/A
1960~ Major Garwood, David E. N/A

Current Status


Location: Killeen in Bell County, Texas.

Maps & Images

Lat: 31.05111 Long: -97.8625

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 102.
  • 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 158.
  • USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2087770

Links:

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