Posts Tagged ‘hercules’

Know Better Your Marin County: Nuclear-Capable Hill 88 Plus the West, Middle, and East Peaks of Mount Tamalpais

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

How many hills do you know of what come with their own Yelp entry?

You ought to get on up there sometime to check it out:

Hill 88 is a wild ghost town in the sky, hidden way up high in the Marin Headlands. It’s on Wolf Ridge, between Fort Cronkhite/Rodeo Beach and Tennessee Valley. You can barely see it from below, and it’s nothing like most of the old little rusty lifeless bunker sites. This is a crazy Cold War mega-complex teeming with tons of crows dancing in the whipping wind above huge expanses of the bay and SF. It’s part of the old Nike Missile program, officially SF-88C. Was apparently the radar and control center (aka the IFC, or Integrated Fire Control area) of the Nike Missile launch site that’s further down the hill to the east.”

So, those are some of the remnants of Project Nike on top of now-flattened Hill 88 in the foreground along with the three peaks of Mount Tam (with the West Peak also flattened by the Air Force) in the background.

As seen from San Francisco:

Click to expand

Now, you Know Better Your Marin County.

Compost Now Inundating San Francisco’s Cold War Missile Base up at the Presidio

Friday, July 30th, 2010

The way things are going, the old missile magazines (horizontal silos, basically) up at the Presidio will soon be covered over with mulch or something.

The scene today at the former SF-89 Nike Ajax missile launch complex:

Click to expand

A closer look:

Sic transit gloria mundi…

Marin County’s Hill 88: A Wild Ghost Town in the Sky, and Former Home to Nuclear Bombs

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

This is the view from San Francisco over the Golden Gate – can you see the defunct buildings of Hill 88 in front of the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais? Those buildings were the eyes and ears of SF-88, southern Marin’s very own Nike Hercules missile complex.

Click to expand

IMG_9870 copy

The actual nuclear warheads and missiles were stored at another facility down the hill – you can visit that place Wednesday through Saturday.

What’s shown in this photo above is the radar station part of the base, on the summit, where they had German shepherd guard dogs, machine guns, the whole magilla until the 1970′s. San Francisco also had a similar setup back in the day using the Presidio and Mount Sutro, but that was the smaller, non-nuclear Nike Ajax system and there’s really nothing left to visit anymore.

But in Marin, you can climb up to the hilltop facility of SF-88 whenever you want - you’ll get nice views and you’ll have a chance to see the graffiti.

Come visit Marin’s Wild Ghost Town in the Sky.

Old Missile Sites of San Francisco – The Presidio and Mount Sutro

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Here’s what’s just north of the old Public Health Service Hospital in the Presidio – San Francisco’s very own  SF-89 Nike missile launch complex. Of course the bay area has other similar sites, such as Marin County’s preserved SF-88 location captured in photographs from Telstar Logistics here (it’s a “must-see“), but San Francisco’s old missile bases are not as well-known.

Look below to see a missile magazine at SF-89L Presidio (the “L” stands for “launch”). The bay doors used to open downwards to reveal an elevator shaft. The complementary Site SF-89C Mount Sutro (the “C” stands for “control”) can be seen near Sutro Tower on the right, two and a half miles to the south. Click to expand:

And here’s all that’s left of the the Mount Sutro site near UCSF:

Now don’t go exploring around, the way you used to at the PHSH before restoration got started.

C – Mount Sutro (Twin Peaks) ((P) TV tower)
Jef Poskanzer’s detailed web page

L – Battery Caulfield Rd. ((P) Golden Gate NRA (National Recreation Area))
the pads abandoned and used for open air storage. The adjacent buildings are used by an EOD unit. An Ajax site featured in Nike promotional photos, it closed in 1963 (07 May 89). ]
You can almost make out the words “Nike Facility” next to the big red area in the upper right.

A Dramatic Rescue of Downed Pilot Near Pillar Point in San Mateo County

Friday, January 30th, 2009

When you’re pondering life just after ditching an airplane in the cold, cold Pacific Ocean ten miles from land, it sure must be nice having Coast Guard and Air National Guard aircraft all buzzing about because they just happen to be in the area.  

Of course, the aircraft you were flying is now rusting on the continental shelf and you’re still a little cold, but all in all, a good result. 

Black Hawk up. An HH-60 Pave Hawk twirly-popper from the California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing hoisting away, as recorded by a Coast Guard cell phone camera.

Read all about it.

The U.S. Coast Guard assisted the California National Guard in the rescue of a San Francisco man who lost engine power on his single-engine airplane and landed in the water about 10 miles west of Pillar Point, Calif., this afternoon.

At approximately 3 p.m. the C-130 aircraft from Air Station Sacramento, on a training mission nearby when they heard the mayday call over the radio, diverted to the scene and dropped a survival kit consisting of a life raft, survival suit, and flares to the man in the water. At the same time, the Coast Guard cutter Tern, homeported at Yerba BuenaIsland, was diverted, along with a 47-foot boat from Station Golden Gate. The Pillar Point Harbor Master and a Good Samaritan also responded.

The crew of the Air National Guard HH-60G Pavehawk helicopter, from the 129th rescue Wing at MoffettAir Field in Mountain View, had just completed joint training operations with the Coast Guard and was about to land at Air Station San Francisco when they were requested to divert to the scene. Arriving on scene at about 3:20 p.m. the Pavehawk hoisted the man and brought him back to the air station to receive emergency medical care.

The man was treated for hypothermia at the air station before being transported by emergency medical services to San Francisco General Hospital. The man’s plane sunk and was unsalvageable.”