Melville Air Station

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Melville Air Station (1953-1988) - A Cold War Pinetree Line Air Force Radar Station first established in 1953 near Goose Air Force Base, Newfoundland. Initially assigned a Lashup ID of L-24, a Permanent ID of N-24, a SAGE ID of C-24 and a JSS ID of R-05. Turned over to the Canadian Forces in 1971 and closed by them in 1988.

107th AC&W Squadron

The 107th AC&W Squadron of the New York Air National Guard activated on 1 Aug 1951 and that is the date the unit was federalized for 24 months of federal service. The unit was moved to Grenier Air Force Base in September 1951. At Grenier AFB the unit packed their equipment for shipment to Newfoundland and in January 1952 they flew to Goose Air Force Base in Newfoundland.

The permanent site at Goose Bay was not completed when the 107th AC&W Squadron arrived so a temporary "Lashup site" L-23 was established on Goose Air Force Base itself. The temporary site, L-24, housed a CPS-5 search radar, an MPS-4 height-finder and was operational around May 1952 (except for the MPS-4 Height Finder which reportedly never worked).

On 1 Aug 1953 the 107th AC&W Squadron was released from federal duty and the unit designation returned to the New York Air National Guard. The unit designation at the radar site changed to the 641st AC&W Squadron on that date.

641st AC&W Squadron

The permanent radar site on Dome Mountain became operational in the spring of 1953 manned by the 641st AC&W Squadron on 1 Aug 1953. The station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and early warning mission as well as operating an Air Defense Direction Center (ADDC). 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 CPS-6B search radar. A TPS-502 height-finder radar became operational on 19 Aug 1954. An FPS-502 radar served as a backup search radar. The CPS-6B search radar was later replaced with an FPS-20A which went operational on 8 Dec 1960. The FPS-20A was later modified to become an FPS-87A and soon after, an FPS-93A. An FPS-6B height-finder radar arrived in November 1960 and was converted to an FPS-90 in June 1964.

The 641st AC&W Squadron was inactivated on 30 Jun 1971 and the radar site was prepared for turn over to the Canadian forces

Melville Long Range Radar (Canadian)

The USAF Commander of the 641st AC&W Squadron handed the radar site over to the commanding officer of CFS Goose Bay in July 1971. It then became site C-24, and was integrated into the Canadian Forces Air Defence Command as a unit tenant of CFS Goose Bay.

During the USAF years the radar site had remained a manual site without automated passing of radar tracks to direction centers. Under Canadian operation the site became SAGE-capable in 1976 and the number of personnel assigned to the site ws greatly reduced. In August 1984, Melville Radar was brought into the Canada East ROCC.

In July 1988, Melville Radar site ceased operations and was replaced by Cartwright AS.

Melville AS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems

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 was adjacent to the main site and housed the enlisted barracks, the bachelor officer's quarters, the orderly room, the dining hall, the motor pool and other support buildings.

Unit Designations
  • 107th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1951-1953)
  • 641st Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1953-1971)
  • Melville Canadian Forces Station (CFS) (1971-1988)
107th AC&W Assignments
  • 1 Aug 1951 Federalized from the New York Air National Guard as a unit of the 152nd AC&W Group.
  • 19 Jan 1952 Transferred to NEAC.
  • 1 Aug 1953 Returned to the New York Air National Guard.
641st AC&W Assignments
  • 1 Apr 1957 Assigned at Goose AB, Labrador (N-24), as the 4732nd Air Defense Group.
  • Abt Nov 1957 Moved to Melville AS, Labrador.
  • 1 Apr 1960 Transferred to Goose ADS.
  • 1 Apr 1966 Transferred to 37th Air Division.
  • 31 Mar 1970 Reassigned to 21st Air Division.
  • 30 Jun 1971 Inactivated.


Melville Air Station Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1969 Major Byrd, Norton E. N/A
1968 Lt. Colonel McGibbon, Donald J. N/A
1967 Lt. Colonel Trobridge, Lee M. N/A
1965-06-26 1967 Lt. Colonel Zeine, Donald A. N/A
1963-07-13 1965-06-26 Lt. Colonel Howse, Benjamin M. N/A
1962 1963-07-13 Lt. Colonel Anderson, Albert D. N/A
1961 Major Boydston, Claude R. N/A
1959-06-17 Major Smyth, Delbert R. N/A
1959-06-17 Lt. Colonel Taggart, Elmer E. N/A
1955-07 Major Hansen, Paul H. N/A
1955-07 Major Barr, Richard E. N/A
Dates are formatted in yyyy-mm-dd to sort correctly.
The Cullum Number is the graduation order from the United States Military Academy by year and class rank and links to a page for the officer on the website version of the Cullum Register. Listings without a Cullum Number indicate that the person was not a graduate of the United States Military Academy.

Current Status

Abandoned near Goose Bay Airport, Newfoundland and Labrador.


Location: Near Goose Bay Airport in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Maps & Images

Lat: 53.29583 Long: -60.54

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 94, 97

Links:

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