Online Air Defense Radar Museum Guestbook

Radomes Guestbook V3.0


Welcome to the Online Air Defense Radar Museum. We hope you enjoy your visit, and that we have contributed a little something in the name of those who served.  Gene.

Please consider joining our new radar museum organization, The Air Force Radar Museum Association, Inc. AFRMA is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit Ohio Corporation. Our sole purpose is the creation and support of the National Air Defense Radar Museum at Bellefontaine, Ohio. Please visit our home page to join or donate to this cause. AFRMA, Inc. - The Air Force Radar Museum Association, Inc.. Follow the "Memberships" link on the AFRMA home page.



Name:
Email:
Leave a note:

Free JavaScripts provided
by The JavaScript Source


Prior months' guestbooks:

1998  1999  2000  2001  2002  2003  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  2017  2018  2019  2020 

2009

06/29/2009 00:00:00

Name: Jeff States
Email: psu68 AT psualum.com

Tom,

You have written an excellent piece and historical review of the Cold War. The answer to your final question is, unfortunately, self-evident. Of course it will happen again. History allows no other answer. What we cannot know is what form the next “major world event” will take, when it will happen and what part we will play. Will it be energy/oil, food or another category that is as yet unknown. The military forces that will face-off in the next battle will be unlike anything we have ever known. Already in our lifetime we have seen the evolution of war change dramatically. World War II matched massive armies squared-off against each other in easily recognizable uniforms. That situation changed with Viet Nam as guerrilla warfare in the jungle eventually defeated the most modern technology available. That form of fighting has morphed into urban guerilla warfare featuring “techno-Soldiers” that use tactics and techniques that we members of Radomes could only have dreamed of “back in the day.” We are fated to act and react as events occur world-wide during an age of instant communication. History will evaluate and dissect our actions and efforts. Let’s hope that our future successes will end as well for us as the Cold war did.


06/29/2009 00:00:00

Name: Carl Wenberg
Email: zoombag AT comcast.net

Mention of Hungarian uprise 1989, I was at combat control center in germany during the 1956 uprise in Hungary WOW!! was working in the movements ID section at the time correlating all flight plans going and coming out of Berlin and Prague to and from east to western Europe, closed down all corridors and scrambled fighters up and down the ADIZ, radio operators were picking up freedom fighters asking for help. the rest is history


06/28/2009 00:00:00

Name: Tom Page
Email: historian AT radomes.org

News Item: "Hungary Commemorates 20th Anniversary of Iron Curtain Collapse" [Source: Voice of America, http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-06-28-voa6.cfm; others]

"... Exactly 20 years ago on June 27, 1989, the foreign ministers of then Communist Hungary and neighboring Austria, symbolically cut through the barbed wire fence along their country's borders. ...."

This is a good time to pause and reflect, especially as we approach another 4th of July celebration. The so-called Iron Curtain was as much an icon of the Cold War as any other symbol. The Cold War pretty much began as soon as World War II ended in 1945. The Cold War per se has ended, and much time has passed.

Lest we forget, the Cold War was why we did what we did. The then-Soviet Union promised to bury the U.S. There was the bomber gap. The missile gap. And the space race. To counter the threats, we built planes, lots of them: bombers, fighters, interceptors, transports, reconnaissance, you name it. We built radar stations, lots of them: here in the CONUS, in Alaska and Hawaii, in Canada, in Greenland, in Iceland, in Europe, in Asia, in north Africa, you name it. And we built control centers, and support bases, and training bases, you name it. And we built retaliatory weapon systems: more bombers, ICBMs, SLBMs, MRBM, SRBMs, you name it. We built conventional weapons, nuclear weapons, CBR weapons, you name it. And we deployed satellites: for communications, for surveillance, for intelligence, for command-and-control, for data relay, for navigation, you name it. And the U.S. enlisted people, lots of them; thousands and thousands of men and women, military and civilian, served during these times. And lots of money was spent on defense, lots and lots of money. After all, what price tag do you put on preserving America's freedom?

But, little by little, the perceived threats seemed to diminish. First the bomber threat went away. Then the missile threat went away. Mutally-Assured Destruction (MAD) had worked. So a lot of money could be saved by eliminating unneeded defense assets and personnel.

Leadership claimed the Cold War was essentially over by the early 1980s. In the CONUS, most of the interior AC&W / SAGE blue-suit radar stations had been closed or transferred to the FAA years earlier. Around 1980, almost all the remaining AC&W / SAGE blue-suit radar stations were either closed or turned over to the FAA for the Joint Surveillance System (JSS), a peacetime-only surveillance system. None of the JSS radars employed ECM features. What few fighter-interceptor aircraft remained were flown by the ANG or AFRes. By 1988, all height-finder radars in the CONUS had been retired, and the last of the blue-suit radar stations were either closed altogether or turned over to the FAA once and for all. Much money was being saved. After all, the Soviet Union was no more. Russia and China were now our friends. There were no more credible threats. No more actual enemies that could attack the North American continent.

Or so our leadership thought.

They received a powerful wake-up call on 11 September 2001. America indeed still had enemies, and we were woefully unprepared. Much has been done since that fateful day. All FAA long-range radars and various short-range airport radars were quickly data-tied into the Air Force control centers. A new air-defense computer system with more data-handling capability was developed and fielded. The Department of Homeland Security was formed. Surveillance has been improved.

However, we all know that history tends to repeat itself. So, will America once again become complacent? Will defenses be cut again to save money? Will another enemy emerge, exploiting any weaknesses?

The Cold War is over, and the Iron Curtain came down 20 years ago. Time has passed. None of it could ever happen again, right?


06/21/2009 00:00:00

Name: Gary Jacobs
Email: gaj7702 AT aol.com

Saw the item below today (Sat., June 20) on the Web site, Gizmodo. Let loose the dogs of correction! I was unaware of the mentioned museum. You know, with a little work, I would suggest to them they have the appropriate lighting and generate what would look like a PPI display. I have told people that I was struck many times by how pleasing if not beautiful the displays were. Subdued lighting, blue-green, amber, watching what was happening. (Note the original Web post had illustrative photos obviously not in the below.)


Computing Classic: The 1954 SAGE Protected the U.S. From Invasions That Never Came, By Brian Lam, 9:34 PM on Fri Jun 19 2009, 17,784 views;
Dag Spicer from the Computer History Museum leaned over and unscrewed a bolt. Underneath, it read, "I am Going Mad". The operator's job was to look for cold war bombers that never came. I would go mad, too. The IBM SAGE spoke to me. It was old, but unlike other machines from the era, with crude punch interfaces, it had a GUI, a light gun, and hell, an ashtray. And a big yellow screen. The ashtray was so operators didn't have to leave their posts for cigarette breaks. Spotting incoming planes from the Soviet Union was precise work that needed constant attention. You see, after World War II, it was believed that bombers were invincible; That their high altitude, distanced attacks from above and multiple engines would allow them to drop their deadly payloads and fly away without any resistance. It was believed that the only way to intercept these attacks was by having planes in the air at all times, to detect them and immediately respond with force. SAGE stood for Semi-Automatic Ground Environment and its sole purpose was to analyze radar data in real time and relay targeting information to fighter planes' autopilots. It was built by IBM in 1954 based off of MIT technology and was a fore bearer of additional *amazing futuristic ideas* like magnetic core memory, networking, and modems to facilitate communication between the 27 bases. Each of those bases had a SAGE. And a backup that could be hot swapped. The entire system had a then impressive 99.6% uptime in an age when most computers would blow a vac tube at every day or so. The computer's console referred to a much larger back end that was 300 tons and took up an entire floor of a usually faceless concrete building. The software was written by the Rand corporation because IBM didn't know what they'd do with 2000 in house programmers after the project was done, something they admitted was a part of their historically out of touch vision of just how important programmers would eventually become to big blue. The code itself was 250,000 lines long. Nothing compared to a modern operating system on even your phone, but it was the most complex of its time, employing 20% of the world's programming force at the time. What's sad is that these glorious machines, even at their best and earliest warnings of incoming missiles, would only be informing the United States of the inevitable: there wouldn't have been enough time to intercept a real threat, says the Computer History Museum. Thank god for the great vastness of the Pacific, the Atlantic, Canada and Mexico. The SAGE was retired in 1983 when ICBMs rendered them even more obsolete. But before then, adding shame to uselessness was the fact that in the end, the only place to get SAGE replacement tubes was from the Soviet Union itself. The industrial war machine is a complex and nonsensical thing. Sometimes that complex nonsensicality costs several billion taxpayer dollars. Update: "This also fails to mention that operators could order the launch of either nuclear armed BOMARC or Nike Hercules Surface-to-Air missiles." From CPUZapper in the comments, which happen to be stellar in this post. [Computer History Museum, Wikipedia] The Computer History Museum is a wonderful place. If you're in northern CA, I recommend you find a way to stop by. We'll be running pieces from their collection as an ongoing series. Special thanks to Fiona Tang, John Hollar and the amazing Dag Spicer for showing me around.


06/21/2009 00:00:00

Name: Jeff States
Email: psu68 AT psualum.com

Gary---interesting SAGE summary!! I have visions of Tom Page shaking his head in disbelief. I especially liked the following:"The 1954 SAGE Protected the U.S. From Invasions That Never Came"---"It was believed that the only way to intercept these attacks was by having planes in the air at all times"---"What's sad is that these glorious machines, even at their best and earliest warnings of incoming missiles, would only be informing the United States of the inevitable"

RIP SAGE, RIP


06/21/2009 00:00:00

Name: Jack Kerr
Email: jackr_ker AT msn.com

SAGE did not become operational until 1958. I was at 656th and we were in the first operational SAGE devision at the time. Newspaper article is included in Documents.


06/21/2009 00:00:00

Name: Tom Page
Email: historian AT radomes.org

Well, I guess I am now obligated to throw in my 2-cents' worth.

The first SAGE Direction Center was at McGuire AFB, NJ, which became operational in late 1958; others followed soon after. There was, however, earlier SAGE-System development activity, initiated in late 1950, and continued throughout the early 1950s -- and records of such *might* have contributed in part to the confusion (?). For instance, there was the 1953 Cape Cod System and the 1954 Cape Cod System. Then there was the Experimental SAGE Subsector (ESS) which was operated at the MIT Lincoln Laboratories next to Hanscom AFB, MA, completed in 1955 using an XD-1 computer system (SAGE prototype). Still, the "real" SAGE System (416L) kicked off in 1958.

For more background, refer to the "Introduction to SAGE" document at http://ed-thelen.org/SageIntro.html. (I have the original document that this was scanned from, which was T.O. 31S5-2FSQ7-1-1, 1 January 1959, revised 15 March 1965 -- I rescued it from the trash pile at Hancock Field when that Q-7 ceased operations in October 1983.) Ed Thelen, a Nike-Missile veteran who runs a great website, uploaded the document first, so Gene decided simply to link to Ed's website from our "SAGE Documents" page -- I originally intended for Gene to upload it, too. By the way, as I understand, Ed Thelen used to be a docent at this same Computer History Museum, but quit (reportedly) due to technical disagreements. Or so he told me.

There is a whole lot of misinformation out there on the World Wide Web / Internet. Just look at all the crap about Montauk AFS! It's hard to compete with guesswork and especially urban legends, especially when so many people would rather believe in conspiracy theories, aliens, time travel, and other nonsense. And, since ANYONE can put up a website with their own version of events, the problem is only going to get worse.

Finally, when legitimate museums as well as knowledgeable, well-meaning individuals with aging memories get it wrong, it makes our efforts all the harder.


06/21/2009 00:00:00

Name: Chuck Sunder
Email: chucksunder AT hotmail.com

As with almost any subject, youtube.com is loaded with info. This youtub e's commentator sounds like one of those 50's newsreel announcers. It's actually pretty funny to listen to in todays $200 computer world.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf1h6aGE5Zo
Chuck Sunder
Sparrevohn '55


06/19/2009 00:00:00

Name: Keith Padgett
Email: keithpdgtt AT yahoo.com

I was stationed on Mt Lemmon 1966-68


06/16/2009 00:00:00

Name: Patricia Garris-Shoemaker
Email: pgarrisshoemaker AT hotmail.com

I am looking for people who were in Kotzebue radar station, with the 748th squad. The time frame is from approximately 11/59 - 10/60, give or take a month. If any one was there during this time period please email me. I am doing this on behalf of my husband.


06/14/2009 00:00:00

Name: Jeff States
Email: psu68 AT psualum.com

"In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress."

For those who have served, it is important to take a moment and display a flag (or flags) at home.


06/12/2009 00:00:00

Name: Andrew Berniak
Email: andrewab AT ymail.com

I was stationed at Oceana NAS and worked at the FACSFAC VACAPES Det 2 23 ADS in Va. Beach. 1983-1987 Height Tower


06/10/2009 00:00:00

Name: Pete Bossardetg
Email: petebossardet AT aopl.com

Bucks Harbor AFS, March 1966 to May 1967; Custer AFS, May 1967 to March 1968; Kotzebue AFS, March 1968 to March 1969.


06/10/2009 00:00:00

Name: Warren Rasmussen
Email: invert20 AT yahoo.com

Drop me a note.


06/09/2009 00:00:00

Name: John Drews
Email: johnwdrews AT bellsouth.net

1958-1965 633rd Det.3 AC&W Benghazi Libia(remote). Also Marmora NJ, Charleston SC,


06/08/2009 00:00:00

Name: robert grover
Email: robert.grover88 AT gmail.com

stationed at 616 Wasserkuppe germany from 1968 to 1970
worked in the kitchen. like to get in touch with anyone who was there also.


06/08/2009 00:00:00

Name: Larry Jackson
Email: vickyjac AT msn.com

D-Day. My stepfather was navigating a B-17 and my uncle was a Pharmicist Mate, USN. I had just become a Bobcat in the Cub Scouts.


06/08/2009 00:00:00

Name: Larry Jackson
Email: vickyjac AT man.com

6-6-1944

The year I joined the cub scouts, and got my Bobcat pin.

My stepfather was navigating a B-17 out of England. My uncle was a Pharmicists Mate.


06/06/2009 00:00:00

Name: Larry Jackson
Email: vickyjac AT msn.com

D-Day + 65. Lest we forget.


06/06/2009 00:00:00

Name: Glenn Widner
Email: gwwidner AT bellsouth.net

June 6, 1944. They were truly the best of the best.


06/06/2009 00:00:00

Name: Tom Page
Email: historian AT radomes.org

How sad -- today happens to be the 65th anniversay of D-Day, but it appears that Tetris is more important to Google.com than D-Day. The Google.com homepage today commemorates the 25th anniversary of Tetris. Tetris was a video games designed in the Soviet Union, no less. I guess values have changed over the years.


06/06/2009 00:00:00

Name: Carl Wenberg
Email: zoombag AT comcast.net

I watched the 65th ceremonies with pride and sadness, thinking of my Dad, Older brother, uncle, cousin and brother in-law all served in combat WW2 and no longer with us, Truly the great Generation, that being said we have a GREAT bunch of young folks serving today in combat. let us not forget them too.


06/03/2009 00:00:00

Name: Jack Bussard
Email: jack.bussard AT yahoo.com

Thanks for all the pictures of Cape Romanzof. I was there from July 65 to july 66.


06/01/2009 00:00:00

Name: John Rosso
Email: godfather1501 AT hotmail.com

How come I am no longer able to view previous guestbook entrys?


06/01/2009 00:00:00

Name: Jeff States
Email: psu68 AT psualum.com

John---simply click on 2009 and you will see the previous months.