SAGE Combat Center (SCC) at Hamilton AFB, CA

On 27 May 2004, we initiated the following inquiry via e-mail (Subject:  “Historical Question:  SAGE Combat Center (SCC) at Hamilton AFB, CA.”) to HQ Air Combat Command (ACC), Langley AFB, VA (Mr. John Cavanagh):  “We recently got wind that circa 1966 a SAGE Combat Center was activated at Hamilton AFB, CA.  The facility might then have deactivated circa 1969.  Indications are, this SCC was housed inside the old manual air-defense control center (ADCC) used for the 28th Air Division (Defense).  Do you, or anyone you know in HQ ACC or elsewhere, know anything about this SCC?  For instance, what computer system was used?  Maybe something similar to an AN/GSA-51 (BUIC-II) computer?  I believe the BUIC-II system became operational in 1966, the same year that the three AN/FSQ-8 SAGE Control Center computers were all unplugged and the same year this Hamilton AFB SCC went on-line (?).  If you know anything at all about the Hamilton AFB SCC, please let us know.  Thank you very much in advance.” 

The following information was then provided by Mr. John Cavanagh from Mr. William Lyles on 21 June 2004.  In his e-mail note, Bill indicated he was one of the initial Blue-Suit Programmers on the computer system the Hamilton AFB SAGE Combat Center, and went on to say: 

“The SCC at Hamilton AFB initially used SAGE Display Consoles, with Situation Information Displays (SIDs) and Digital Information Displays (DIDs) provided from air situations generated by the AN/FSQ-7, SAGE Computer at Luke AFB, AZ.  The equipment at Hamilton merely generated the displays. The Hamilton facility was significantly smaller than any of the standard SAGE facilities.  In the 1965-1966 timeframe, a BUIC-II system, AN/GSA-51, became operational and became the primary computer system, which speeded up the processing of information significantly. ….”  Bill also added that the SAGE computer system at Hamilton AFB was comprised of three (3) strings – the standard AN/GSA-51 at Back-Up Intercept Control (BUIC)-II sites was comprised of two (2) strings. 

So, the bottom line is, the manual Air-Defense Control Center (ADCC) at Hamilton AFB indeed was upgraded to a SAGE Combat Center.  This took place in 1966, the same year that the three operational AN/FSQ-8 SAGE Combat Control Centers (Hancock Field, NY; Truax Field, WI; McChord AFB, WA) were deactivated.  That same year, two other SAGE sites were redesignated from SAGE Direction Centers to SAGE Combat Centers (Stewart AFB, NY; and Richards-Gebaur AFB, MO); those sites both continued operating their AN/FSQ-7 SAGE computer.   The Hamilton AFB SCC was then decommissioned 31 December 1969, being operational a mere three years.  (The other two SCC’s were likewise shut down on that same date.) 

Final note:  The ADCC / SCC blockhouse at Hamilton AFB stood on the hill west of the runways.  Today, the facility is no longer extant.