Nike Hercules Site
During the 1950s and 60's the Strategic Air Command was vital to
America's defense and even the U.S. Army was drafted into protecting
SAC sites. Most SAC bases had a Fighter Interceptor Squadron as a
tenant to protect the base from air attack, or at least a detachment
standing alert. Some bases also had batteries of Nike Hercules
nearby. One of those was Walker AFB that had two installations
nearby: WA-50 about fifteen mile south near Hagerman, NM and WA-10
about twelve miles east. Remnants of both still exist with WA-10
remaining fairly intact. Both were in operation for only about
two months, being activated on 20 April, 1960 and inactivated on 25
June, 1960. "Why the short life?" one might ask and as to the
answer I can not be sure. One possible reason is that bombers
became less of a threat and ICBMs became a greater threat. While
the Herc had been tested as a missile interceptor it was never used as
such in operation. It is a question that as of yet does not have
an answer. I did receive an email from Ronald D. Wilson that is
"I was transferred to the HQ for the nike group in
May of 1960. Soon
arrival we were told that the unit wouldn't go operation and we
waited orders for our next duty station. I was transferred to Omaha NE."
"We were told that the reason for the change was that Nike units were
citizen populations not military operations. I had previous
in Seattle WA."
That might very well be the best answer I will ever find as to why the
I visited the WA-10 site in March, 2009 and here are
a few photos to show the current state of the facility.
What was once the Integrated Fire Control area was
used for a number of years by the New Mexico Army National Guard
for training. The area is fairly desolate now and quite
Upon a return visit in July, 2010 I found that all remaining buildings
had been removed.
The launcher area is about a quarter of a mile east
of the IFC area. While there is still a fence line in place the
gates are long thrown open. The guard shack has succumbed to the
elements and vandalism. The first intact building inside the
compound was probably occupied by a security detail.
From descriptions of the area I believe this is the
missile assembly building. If anyone knows better please feel
free to correct that. Whatever this building was it does not
appear that it was equipped with any sort of overhead crane.
Red footprints for soldiers to use for formation are
painted on the concrete in front of the warhead building. Though
faint they are still visible.
What I believe is the warhead assembly building is located behind berms
about a hundred yards in back of the warhead building. This
building was equipped with an overhead hoist in is remarkable shape
given the time involved, though part of the hoist has migrated into the
The warhead assembly area is surrounded by tall berms that at least
would have directed any blast upwards.
Between the warhead building and the assembly area
is a Ready Building. There also appear to be kennels attached
though there is a dedicated kennel area beyond the Missile Assembly
From the warhead building the crew bunkers are
visible built into the berms separating launch area. There is
also a considerable amount of debris including the carcasses of old
Much of the fence around the limited area are still
in place though there are holes cut in major sections. A good
number of light poles still have fixtures.
The crew bunkers are built into the side of the berm
facing the other buildings. Though many electrical fixtures are
gone there is a surprising number of removable items still there.
Things such as doors, ladders and in one bunker even a desk. The
steel ladder in the fourth photo leads up to a hatch in the top of the
berm. That hatch is the flat steel plate in the fifth
photo. The final photo shows the wooden steps that lead to
a small paved area on the top of the berm. The steps are on both
sides of the berm.
The guard shack by the entrance of the launcher area
had burned down just like the one at the main gate and from all
appearances that had been a recent blaze. In any case the gate
was wide open.
There are three launcher sections with two bays each
and two launchers per bay, giving a total of twelve launchers.
There is no evidence of underground magazines (or above ground for that
matter), leading one to wonder where any reloads were kept.
Speculation on my part is that these missiles were intended to carry
W31 nuclear warheads, thus providing a great deal of firepower without
any need for reloads. The now empty launcher sections
provide a great shooting range.
The concrete pads inside the launcher sections show
evidence of the removal of the launchers that do appear to have been
emplaced. The large steel plate was most likely to direct the
exhaust plume away from the concrete.
visit to the WA-50 site
The WA-50 site is not nearly as well "preserved " as
the WA-10 site. The former IFC is now the Roswell Correctional
Center. The launcher area is south of that about a mile.
The entire facility is built on the abandoned Roswell Army Airfield
Auxiliary Field #3. The IFC building appear to be gone. The
ready rooms, missile assembly building and all other stryctures are
gone and the warhead assembly building appears to have simply been
blown up. The following photos were taken during July,
2010. I will leave out any commentary for the moment.
These photos of MIM-14 Mike Hercules missiles at
Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range illustrate the type that would
have been emplaced at WA-10.
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Page created 04-03-09