Bravo Battery site as it appears in 2013
Bravo Battery site was named the "Richard A. Recupero 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. Recupero was killed near Tay Ninh Province on april 24, 1966. He was born in St. Augustine on March 2, 1947 and lived in Key West for 15 years before entering the service in 1965. Recupero was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with V device for his actions on the battlefield.
Bravo Battery Tac Site was given to the City of Key West. The FAA has taken over the Ready building area, and refurbished the building for their use. Four communication towers have been put up near the building. The rest of the site remains as it was when closed by the Army.
View of Bravo from Key West airport
Bravo Battery - Then
Bravo Battery - Now
Bravo Battery ready building - Then
Bravo Battery ready building - Now
Bravo Ready Building - Years of neglect
Ready Building inside- Vandals and weather take their toll
The sign above the gate says "B Btry 6th MSL Bn 65th Arty" with a cutout ocelot on each side and two ARADCOM patches (left side has already slipped down and resting on ocelot)
When Bill Schroeder arrived at Bravo Battery in July 1966, the arch was in poor repair. The front was not readable, and the back side was blank. Bill painted many of the signs on the ready building and around the Battery. The arch was his biggest project. First Sergeant Carlos Dyer, asked Schroeder to refurbish the arch, and a good job was worth a 3 day pass. Being a Florida boy who was only 150 miles from his girl, he jumped on the project and took about a week to complete. The reverse side read "Thanks for visiting B Btry, Drive Safely" Interesting note, the arch was seen twice a day by tourists on the Conch Train as it made daily tours. It would drive in the gate, turn around in the Ready Building parking lot and back out the gate. (thanks to Bill Schroeder of Safety Harbor, FL for the details)
|The "B" Ready building, taken in 1974 shows the 31st Brigade sign on the end of the ready building and proclaims, "Southernmost Missile Site in the USA"|
Today, the City of Key West has taken over the propery. The FAA has refurbished the Ready Building for their use and fenced it off from the rest of the site. Notice the 4 towers now located near the Ready Building. These are for VHF communications used by Aviation.
Much of the vegetation has been removed. The berms are cleared. There is a lot of junk piled in the launcher locations. Looks like a real junk yard now. There is also a K-9 training area in one of the missile storage sheds.
Bravo Battery from airplane taking off from Key West airport. (Taken April 2002)