Rye Air Force Station

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Rye Air Force Station (1955-1957) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station established in the summer of 1955 as Rye Air Force Station. Located near Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of M-104. Closed as a manned radar site in 1957 and converted to the Fort Dearborn unmanned gap-filler radar site P-10B/Z-10B that same year. The gap-filler site closed in June 1968.

History

Established in 1955 and became operational in 1955 as Rye Air Force Station manned by the 644th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron. Final acceptance of the site occurred on 14 Mar 1955.

The nearby Sugden House (now incorporated into the Seacoast Science Center) was used as barracks for about 15 men. A fire station, mess hall, gate house, operations center, and other support buildings were built by the Air Force. Some existing older Army buildings and Quonset Huts were also used.

Initial equipment included the TPS-1D search radar. The TPS-1D radar antenna was placed atop the World War II Battery 204 on what was then Fort Dearborn reservation.

By October 1956 construction had begun on a 70 foot tower for a SAGE system gap-filler site. In May 1957 the radar station commander, Captain Edward A. Petrick, announced in the local newspaper that the word had come down that the station would be deactivated and become an unmanned site. He estimated that it would take 12-18 weeks to finish and test the SAGE System gap-filler radar and he guessed that the deactivation might occur sometime in August.

Closure

Rye AFS and the 644th AC&W Squadron were officially deactivated in October 1957. At that tine the site was converted to the Fort Dearborn unmanned gap-filler radar site P-10B/Z-10B and maintained by personnel from North Truro Air Force Station. The FPS-14 radar antenna is said to have been located behind Battery 204 but a newspaper article indicates that it was on built onto 14' concrete pillars (probably the Battery 204 entrance walls). The gap-filler site closed in June 1968.


Rye AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems Radio
  • FST-1 GF
Unit Designations
  • 644th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1955-1957)
644th Assignments
  • Oct 1954 - Activated at Syracuse AFS, NY, assigned to the 4707th AD Wg.
  • 15 Mar 1955 - Site activate as Rye AFS (The Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) ยท Thu, Sep 22, 1955 page 15)
  • Summer 1955 - Moved to Portsmouth, NH.
  • Summer 1956 - Site redesignated Rye AFS, NH.
  • 18 Oct 1956 - Transferred to the 4622nd AD Wg.
  • 8 Jan 1957 - Transferred to Boston ADS.
  • Oct 1957 - Inactivated as the 644th AC&W Sq.
  • 25 Apr 1960 - Reactivated as the 644th Radar Sq (SAGE) at Homestead AFB, FL, assigned to Montgomery ADS. Gunter SAGE Direction Center DC-09
  • 1 Apr 1966 - Reassigned to the 32nd AD. Gunter SAGE Direction Center DC-09
  • 14 Nov 1969 - Reassigned to the 33rd AD. Fort Lee SAGE Direction Center DC-04
  • 19 Nov 1969 - Reassigned to the 20th AD. Fort Lee SAGE Direction Center DC-04
  • 1 Feb 1974 - Redesignated the 644th Radar Sq.
  • 1 Apr 1978 - Inactivated.


Rye Air Force Station Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1955-04 Captain Will, William F. N/A
1955-08 Captain Petrick, Edward A. N/A

Current Status

Now a part of Odiorne Point State Park. Some buildings used by the site may still be part of the Visitor center.


Location: Odiorne Point State Park, south of Portsmouth in Rockingham County, New Hampshire.

Maps & Images

Lat: 43.04417 Long: -70.71528

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 155.
  • 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 136.
  • USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2090205

Links:

Visited: 7 Jun 2012


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