Nike-Hercules Missile Site GGNRA- Doc Miles Photography

February 13, 2013  •  1 Comment

Those little red things are nuclear warheads. They are mounted on Nike-Hercules Missiles from the cold war. The missiles were designed to explode above incoming enemy (Soviet) air strikes on the San Francisco coast. Each one was four times more powerful that the Nagasaki A-bomb. There is a certain irony in this photo with the fire extinguisher mounted on the wall. Good luck with that...

There were 56 such installations all over the country. This is the only one left intact.  It lies in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in a pristine mountain setting on the Pacific Ocean, near point Bonita Lighthouse, a short four or five mile drive from the Golden Gate Bridge.

In the 16 years I have been back living in San Francisco, I have been by here many times, but never knew what was inside. From the outside, it looks very innocuous and abandoned. They have mannequins in uniform in the guard houses that, from a distance, look like real guards.

Now that is is part of the National Park Service, for whom I am a photographer, I grabbed the assignment to go shoot the site. I was pretty excited as a military buff, to see what was behind the scenes. I was not disappointed.

Al Blank, who works for the NPS, looks after the site and was more than helpful giving me full access and a demo of the missiles. They run regular tours, but today I was the only one there and had Al's full attention. He's a real cool guy who has all the facts about the missiles, and the site, off the top of his head.

Al took me down in the bunker and raised up the missiles to the launch pad, then raised a missile to fire it. The experience was pretty stirring when that big boy just went up the elevator and poised itself. Then Al raised it up to launch and I was so excited I had a hard time focusing the camera. I was expecting it to launch as Al walked away from the missile. Of course, it didn't and I was bummed.

It was interesting that Al told me that they could only launch four at a time. I asked him why, because of the space? He replied, no, they only had radar to track four at once.

There is a building way to the north on Wolf Ridge that has a 360º view and relayed the incoming information to the missile site.

All my photos from this shoot go to the NPS for their exclusive use, but I wanted to share some with you here on my blog. There is a short video of the missile getting ready to launch you may enjoy. Here is a link to the photos.   http://www.docmilesphotography.com/p130058979   Go to slideshow to see them in full resolution.

 

 

 

 


Comments

LARRY MELORO(non-registered)
I LIKE THIS SITE..GOOD FORMAT WITH NO BS.
OK,,GOTTA BROWSE NOW.
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