San Clemente Air Force Station
San Clemente Air Force Station (1951-1961) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station established during the Korean War. This Radar site was located on San Clemente Island near Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California. San Clemente Island is wholly owned by the U.S. Navy and the Air Force operated the Radar unit as a tenant organization. The site was initially assigned a temporary Lashup-Permanent ID of LP-39 and later a Permanent ID of P-39. The station was deactivated in 1961 and the 670th AC&W Squadron was relocated to San Pedro Hill Air Force Station (RP-39).
The Lashup-Permanent radar station LP-39 began operations in November 1951 with a TPS-1C general surveillance radar awaiting the installation of Permanent System radar equipment. The 670th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron were activated on 1 Feb 1952. The facility provided radar tracks for a Norton Manual Direction Center P-84 to direct Ground control interception (GCI) of unidentified aircraft.
In May 1952 a FPS-3 search radar was added to the site. In 1953 an FPS-4 height-finder radar was added. In 1955 a FPS-8 search-radar was added to the site and was subsequently modified to become a GPS-3. In 1956 an FPS-6 height-finder radar replaced the FPS-4.
From activation until 1 Oct 1959 the 670th reported to the Manual Direction Center at Norton Manual Direction Center. In 1959, as the adjacent Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17 came online, control of the 670th was changed to fall under the new Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17 and the Los Angeles Air Defense Sector.
At the time of this change, San Clemente Island AFS had neither the SAGE qualified radar sets (except for one FPS-6) nor the SAGE annex to the operations center that housed the FST-2 required for automatic SAGE operation. The 670th could only provide manual inputs to the Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17. The decision was made not to upgrade San Clemente Island AFS to automatic operation but to build an entirely new station at San Pedro Hill Air Force Station that would replace San Clemente Island AFS.
The San Pedro Hill AFS was activated in 1960 and the site became operational in 1961 as a SAGE site that bypassed manual operations.
San Clemente AFS was deactivated in April 1961 and the squadron relocated to the San Pedro Hill Air Force Station.