STRANGE INDEED, BUT TRUE

#2


In Strange Indeed, But True #1 I discussed the more than bizarre practice of tattooing the children of the mills.  It appears the reason for doing so was related to the red menance.  In the same vein, as we all knew, Nike missle bases were placed strategically around NW Indiana.  I even had a friend who was stationed at one while on active duty in the Army.  His tour of service was tough, as he lived at home when not on duty!

I lived in Gary into my 20's.  There were not too many locales that I do not know about, either personally, or at least by reputation.  That I thought I was congnizant of my surroundings is why I find this bit of information to be particularly strange.  It too has to do with the omnipresent red menance, and yes, Nike missles.

The purpose of the Nike missles sites was to defend us against the "big one".

 Mushsroom Cloud

Would they have done any good?  Fortunately, we never had to answer that question!  

The 50's saw the transformation of farm land at 35th and Grant into what ultimately became known as the Village Shopping Center.  The anchor store of the Village was Montgomery Wards.  Well what has all this to do with the red menance and Nikes, you ask?

If you are like me, you had no idea that a portion of the Village Shopping Center site hid two Nike missle launchers!  I learned of this for the first time in 2008.  Here is the scoop on "C-48," from one who knew by reason of having been there:

Site C-48, the Glen Park Nike Site, had two areas just off Grant Street.  The fire control system was in a small, fenced in area on the east side of Grant Street, I think about halfway between W. 36th and W. 37th Aves.  It was right behind a Midas Muffler Shop.  This site also had no radar towers.  This caused the Missile Tracking Radar some problems as it attempted to hold lock on either a missile or the test responder located directly across the line of traffic which ran along Grant Street.  We hoped that the traffic would stop when the war started.  The administrative and launcher area was located off of W. 37th Ave. to the west of Grant Street and behind a large shopping center containing a Montgomery Ward store.  The construction was the same as C-45, and it too had only two launching sections.   This site was manned by Battery D, 79th Anti Aircraft Missile Battalion which was replaced by Battery D, 1st Missile Battalion, 60th Artillery.

Today, I am trying to understand how, during the course of inumerable trips I made down Grant St. and 35th-36th-37th Aves., I never once saw an Army jeep, or military vehicle of any kind whatsoever?  Just where were these defenders of our sacred way of life who manned Site C-48?  Were they going about incognito, pursuant to official orders from Washington, D.C.?

Maybe the Russians, thanks to Sputnik, were well aware of Site C-48, but alas, I must admit I was totally in the dark as to the location of this military facility.

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Created by G. David Yaros on Wednesday, 6 Feb 2008 - 14:56:32 Hrs.

2008, G. David Yaros.  All rights reserved.