Alpha Battery


Alpha Battery as it looks in 2013

 

Alpha battery under construction. Still have tents.

Location: Fleming Key
ARADCOM ID number: KW80

Alpha Battery site was named the "Lt Eckwood Solomon HAWK missile site". The naming of all Key West HAWK missile sites, commemorated by a bronze plaque outside the ready building, were in honor of Key West citizens killed in Vietnam. Lt. Lolomon, was killed near Pleiku, July 27, 1966. solomon was born in Key West in 1940 and entered the Army in 1959. He was the first American to attend the Philippines Military Academy where he waas an honor graduate as well as number one in his class upon completion of OCS, Fort Sill, OK. Lt. Solomon was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with V device for his actions on the battlefield.

Original construction drawings of Alpha battery circa 1964

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The Alpha Battery tac site is now home to the US Army Special Forces underwater operations school. Notice the "footprint" of the old HAWK site is still noticeable. The refurbished Ready Building is at the lower right of the photo and a remodeled Generator Shed is visible
Photos of how the Tac Site looks now (June 2003)
Fred Furtado memories of arriving with the lead elememt of HAWK:

"In 1962, I was a very young PFC stationed with the 65th Artillery Hawk ÒAÓ Battery located on Fleming Key. When we arrived the only thing on that tiny island was a few large ammo bunkers, crabs, and scorpions. No buildings, water etc.

In order to keep our radar free of ground clutter, we used dozers to create a ramp at one side of the bunker, placed planks to span across the top of the bunkers and backed the radar (on trailers) to the top. We dug deep pits to hide our generators from the radar as well.

We moved ALL our equipment from Fort Meade, MD by train and arrived at Homestead Florida. From there we convoyed to Key West. We worked at Homestead unloading the train and getting mobilized for two or three days non-stop round the clock. Needles to say we were all very tired. On the way down the keys one of our truck drivers (containing the Battery Control Central Unit which is the heart of the Hawk system) fell asleep and drove off the road into the ocean. Fortunately no one was injured and the BCC survived the dunk in the water!

We lived on that small island in tents for almost two years. First two man pup-tents, then 6 man tents. Then finally 30 man tents framed in with wood and screen doors. Ah what comfort!

Click on the camera to view the photo album of Fred Furtado and Alpha Battery arriving in Key West 1962
Click on the camera to view the photo album of Dana McKinzie featuring Alpha Battery May - December 1966