Marietta Air Force Station

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Marietta Air Force Station (1956-1968) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station. Located near Marietta, Cobb County, Georgia. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of M-111 and later, a Sage ID of Z-111. The Air Force Station closed in 1968 but the FAA Radar Site continues to operate.

Marietta FAA Radar Site in 2018 with CARSR Radar in Place.

History

Established in 1956 and became operational in 1956 as Marietta Air Force Station manned by the 908th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron. Two sites were established, the original site was a manual site and the initial equipment included the MPS-11 search radar and MPS-8 height-finder radars. In 1959, Marietta AFS began to performed air traffic control duties.

In 1961 the site moved to a nearby location in preparation for SAGE System operation. Initial equipment at the new site included a pair of FPS-6 height-finder radars and an FAA ARSR-1A search radar. This configuration (a SAGE qualified long-range search radar and two SAGE qualified height-finders) met the requirements for transition to SAGE System operation.

SAGE System Transition

The transition of the manual GCI system to the automated SAGE system began with the installation of the FST-2 coordinate data transmitter and search radar upgrades. The FST-2 equipment digitized the radar returns and transmitted the digital returns to the SAGE direction center. Under the SAGE System, interceptor aircraft were directed to their targets by the direction center computers and controllers, greatly reducing the need for local controllers and equipment at every radar station.

The FST-2 was a very large digital system using vacuum tube technology. Over 6900 vacuum tubes were used in each FST-2 requiring 21 air-conditioned cabinets, 40 tons of air conditioning, 43.5 kva of prime power and usually a large new addition to the operations building. The FST-2B modification added two more cabinets but with newer solid state (transistor) technology to process coded responses from aircraft transponders.

SAGE System Operation

Former Gunter SAGE Direction Center DC-09
Marietta AFS SAGE Direction Centers & Sectors
Assigned Direction Center Sector
1 Jul 1961 - 1 Apr 1966 Gunter SAGE Direction Center DC-09 Montgomery Air Defense Sector
1 Apr 1966 - 8 Sep 1968 Gunter SAGE Direction Center DC-09 32nd Air Division

The new site began operation as a SAGE site in 1962 initially feeding the Gunter SAGE Direction Center DC-09. On 1 Apr 1962, the squadron designation was changed from the 908th AC&W Squadron to 908th Radar Squadron (SAGE) indicating the new SAGE System role.

The FAA ARSR-1A search radar was upgraded to an ARSR-1E configuration in 1964.

Closure

Marietta AFS and the 908th were deactivated on 8 Sep 1968. The FAA continued to operate the ARSR-1E search radar on a small part of the closed Radar Station.

Marietta FAA Radar Site

The Marietta FAA Radar Site is designated as FAA location ATL. The FAA continued to operate the ARSR-1E search radar on a smaller site. The search radar was listed as having been upgraded to the CARSR radar configuration as of 17 Aug 2015 and operation continue to date.

Gap Fillers

Marietta AFS was responsible for the maintenance of three 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 Marietta AFS gap-filler radars were located at Barnesville GA, Elberton GA and Melvin Hill, NC. Three other sites were planned but were either not built or never went operational.

Marietta AFS Gap Filler Radar Sites (edit list)
ADC NORAD Location State Type From To GPS Notes
M-111B Z-111B Barnesville GA FPS-18, FST-1 1958-05 1962-06 33.06676,
-84.13127
Building exists
Tower gone
M-111E Z-111E Elberton GA FPS-18, FST-1 1959-12 1962-06 34.08411,
-82.91949
Building exists
Tower gone
M-111G Z-111G Melvin Hill NC FPS-18, FST-1 Unk Unk 35.20757,
-81.989
Building exists
Tower gone



Marietta AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems Comm
Unit Designations
  • 908th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1956-1962)
  • 908th Radar Squadron (SAGE) (1962-1968)
908th Assignments
  • 25 Jun 1955 - Activated at Willow Run Aprt, MI, assigned to 30th AD.
  • 12 Aug 1953 -Moved to Great Falls AFB, MT and transferred to 29th AD.
  • 25 Sep 1954 - Moved to Dobbins AFB, GA and transferred to 35th AD.
  • Summer of 1956 - Moved to Site at Marietta AFS, GA.
  • 15 Nov 1958 - Transferred to 32nd AD.
  • 1 Jul 1961 - Transferred to Montgomery ADS.
  • 1 Apr 1962 - Redesignated from AC&W Sq to 908th Radar Sq (SAGE).
  • 1 Apr 1966 - Reassigned to 32nd AD.
  • 8 Sep 1968 - Discontinued.


Marietta Air Force Station Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1956~ Major Morgan, John E. N/A
1958 1963 Major Long, Jesse P. N/A

Current Status


Location: Marietta in Cobb County, Georgia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 33.89411 Long: -84.49876

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 173.
  • 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 111.
  • USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2089508

Links:

Visited: 31 Jan 2018


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