Norton Manual Direction Center P-84

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Norton Manual Direction Center P-84 (1952-1959) - A Cold War Manual Radar System Direction Center first established in 1952 on Norton Air Force Base, San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California. Named after the location and assigned to 27th Air Division (Defense). Assigned a Permanent System ID of P-84. Deactivated as a Manual Direction Center in 1959.

Norton Direction Center Compound Gate.
Norton Manual Direction Center Bldg 227 (background) and Power Bldg 225 (foreground).
Former Norton Manual Direction Center P-84, Building 227.

History

Established in 1951 and became operational on 6 Feb 1952 as Norton Manual Direction Center P-84.

The Manual System Command Centers were based on the standardized AC&W infrastructure site design of the Chicago design firm of Holabird, Root & Burgee. These designs dated to 1949 but construction did not begin on any facilities until after the beginning of the Korean War. At system completion, 16 of these command centers were built. The Command Center was designated as a Type 4 Site while the most common operations center configuration at the AC&W radar sites was the Type 2. The Type 2 Operations Center had similar characteristics to the Type 4 Direction Center except the operations centers were single story. The site designs included, where appropriate, a power plant, an administrative building and one or two radomes all incorporated into a secure compound. The Command Centers and the Operations Centers can be easily identified by a small louvered ventilation tower that rises above the roof.

Key features of the Type 4 Manual Control Center
  • Reinforced concrete column-and-beam structure, oversized columns and thick beams
  • Flat, reinforced concrete roof (thick)
  • Double concrete-block exterior walls, with intervening airspace
  • Four-inch thick interior concrete-block walls
  • Heavily protected communications cable trenches
  • Exterior pilasters (reinforcing strengthening)
  • Windowless
  • Outer- and inner-lock rooms
  • Air baffles and chemical filter banks
  • Pressurized interior air system (air conditioning)
  • Ventilation shaft (tower)
  • Clean- and contaminated-clothes areas, with disinfector
  • Decontamination showers
  • Gas-proof clothes chutes
  • Communications, code equipment, and message rooms
  • Two-story, open central operations room with balcony glassed-in observation cubicles
  • War room
  • Associated administrative building (type 3 station), power plant, and radomes

The Manual System Direction Centers did not survive the transition into the SAGE System because they were far too small for the massive SAGE computers and consoles and did not have big enough power or HVAC plants. The radar site Type 2 operations centers did survive into the SAGE System but each one required the construction of an attached SAGE Annex for the large FST-2 computer system and later additions were necessary for those chosen as BUIC Sites.

The Norton Manual Direction Center P-84 remained operational until 1 Oct 1959 when the nearby Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17 went operational.



Norton Manual Direction Center P-84 Radar Sites (edit list)
Location Type State Unit ADC NORAD JSS From To GPS Notes
Santa Rosa AFS CA 669th P-15 1952-02-06 1959-10-01 33.94554,
-120.11725
Moved to
Lompac
San Clemente AFS CA 670th P-39 1952-02-06 1959-10-01 32.97694,
-118.55278
Moved to
San Pedro Hill
Mount Laguna AFS CA 751st P-76 Z-76 J-30 1952-02-06 1959-10-01 32.87667,
-116.415
To Norton DC-17
Boron AFS CA 750th P-59 Z-59 1952-02-06 1959-10-01 35.07889,
-117.57917
To Norton DC-17
Kingman AFS AZ 659th M-128 1953-06-20 1958-08-15 35.197478,
-114.041251
Closed 1958
Cambria AFS CA 775th P-02 Z-02 1954-10-01 1959-10-01 35.52222,
-121.06361
To Norton DC-17
Vincent AFB AZ 864th SM-162 1955-08-08 1959-10-01 32.65381,
-114.59090
Closed 1961
Las Vegas AFS NV 865th SM-163 Z-163 1956-04-01 1959-10-01 36.31861,
-115.57528
To Norton DC-17

Current Status

The Norton Manual Direction Center is apparently abandoned on the former Norton Air Force Base (Now San Bernardino International Airport) in San Bernardino, California. Both the direction center and the power building still existed as of 28 Oct 2014, the date of our last visit.


Location: Former Norton Air Force Base, San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 34.10431 Long: -117.21853

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 54.

Links:

Visited: 28 Oct 2014

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