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If you were stationed at this Nike site, or any of the nearby sites in MA or CT, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Davners site was operational from Nov., 1956 - April, 1974. Types of missiles: Nike 1B, 2C/18H, 30A/12L-UA, (7L-H), Ajax and then Hercules.
The IFC was 1.6 NW, North St.
The launch site is 2.5 NNW, US 1 (Salem and Beverly Water Districts).
Nike Site B-05 Memories:
Here are some personal memories of my time at B-05, the Danvers, Massachusetts Nike Hercules site. If you have any use for it, you’re welcome to it.
A product of the ‘60s, I graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1971. Motivated by a low draft number (remember the lottery?) I enlisted in the Army, and motivated by an aversion to being shot at, I chose a nuclear-related Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), which I doubted would have me deployed in Southeast Asia –the unpleasantness in Vietnam, don’t you know.
My first assignment after Advanced Individual Training at Fort Bliss was as a Hercules Fire Control Crewman (16C), specifically, an acquisition radar operator, at the Danvers Nike Site. After growing up in the south – Texas, Georgia, Alabama (my father was Air Force) – winter in New England was a bit of a shock. After spending four years in lofty academic pursuits, Army life in the barracks was also a bit of a shock, although, with the draft in place, there was a pretty wide range of backgrounds in the enlisted grades.
I have fond memories of my time at B-05. We maintained the radars, ran training drills, kept the grounds tidy, drank 25¢ beers from the vending machine in the barracks, smoked 35¢ per pack cigarettes from the PX, pulled KP and guard duty occasionally … not a very demanding schedule. I had played trumpet since I was a kid and I became battery bugler … I bet I could still sound To the Colors and Adjutant’s Call. Just being there and not getting caught screwing up consistently was enough to get me to SP4. At some point while I was there, the Army started employing civilians to work KP so the only dreaded duty that was left for us in the Admin/IFC area was manning the main gate guardhouse. Because I didn’t have any family nearby but some of the men had wives and kids there, when one of them drew guard duty on a holiday, I took their duty so that they could be with their families. It was difficult explaining to the platoon sergeant that, no, we weren’t asking to trade positions on the duty roster (which was forbidden) but that I was agreeing to take the other guy’s guard duty shift in addition to my own a few days later. Guard duty involved sitting in a shack at the gate with an M-16 and one round of ammo, opening and closing the gate as people came and went in their cars. There was a comfortable chair, a powerful space heater and a radio tuned to WBCN (underground/progressive rock at the time). To break the monotony, it was pretty commonplace for each of us in turn to go out from time to time with a joint to keep the poor unfortunate guard company. There was no shortage of recreational pharmaceuticals in the Army in the early ‘70s.
In my three-year military “career”, the closest I ever came to bodily harm was at B-05. The ‘phone in the barracks rang late one night and I was still up, so I answered it. It was the guy in the guard shack, very upset because his relief was five minutes late. I went to the room of the guy who was supposed to relieve him but there was nobody there. When I told the caller, he got angry with me and demanded that I find his relief, wherever he was, and get him out there. I refused and told him to call the duty NCO because it wasn’t my job to supervise the duty roster. When he was finally relieved maybe ten minutes later he came to my room in the barracks with a straight razor and calmly informed me that if I ever disrespected him again, he would cut me up. I didn’t think much of it and, at some point, the guy who threatened me was brought up on unrelated court martial charges and transferred out (perhaps to the brig.)
Although it wasn’t listed in the TOE, the battery had a snowmobile and there was plenty of time to fool around with it. And there was time to cruise nearby Endicott Junior College hoping to meet friendly coeds. A woman I had dated in college moved to Newton, MA (about ¾ hour away depending on traffic) about midway through my tour in Danvers but it was far enough away that getting together with her required more planning than either of us was inclined to do. The USO had a tabletop electric piano there and, since no one else in the battery seemed to be interested in it, I checked it out every week and kept it in my barracks room. My roommate, SP4 Dave “Zeke” Palmer, didn’t seem to mind. Zeke had a Chevelle SS 396. Another man whose name escapes me had a Dodge Challenger with the heaviest clutch I ever stepped on. I had a Yamaha Big Bear Scrambler.
There was plenty of parking inside the Admin perimeter fence and one of the men, a SP4 Garcia from LA, had bought a non-running ’56 Chevy, certain that he could get it in working order. He struggled for months, but it would crank and fire and sputter and cough but never run. Another guy, SP4 Proper, an expert Target Tracking Radar operator and upstate New York farm-boy, suggested after listening to it that the timing was off. Garcia insisted that he had checked and rechecked the timing and it had to be something else. When Garcia finally gave up, Proper bought the car from him. He removed a spark plug, inserted his finger into the cylinder, turned the crankshaft by hand to find top dead center, then watching the rocker arms, turned the cam shaft by hand. He put the timing chain on, ignoring the marks on the gears and, lo and behold, it started. Total expended effort, less than an hour.
In early 1973, a justifiable suspicion of drug use compromised my Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) status making it impossible to work in my MOS or to pull guard duty (loaded weapon, you know). Instead, I shoveled snow. I had some experience with power tools and there was a source of building materials at Fort Devens, and the First Sergeant trusted me to remodel the mess hall. I put vinly-covered sheet rock over the painted concrete blocks and suspended the ceiling, adding recessed florescent light fixtures. I built a cabinet to house the soft drink machines and hide the gas bottles and piping. It wound up looking like an affordable restaurant instead of a military installation. When spring came, I mowed the grass, controlled the brush growth outside the perimeter fence, groomed the existing decorative plantings and put in some flowers around them and in front of the Admin buildings. The First Sergeant’s next plan was for me to turn one of the storage rooms in the Admin building into an NCO club. I would have had to learn something about plumbing. Not knowing what that involved, I was fearless. But, alas, like the snowmobile, Battery Carpenter and Battery Gardener were not listed on the TOE.
In classic Catch 22 fashion, with the PRP flag on my records they couldn’t work me in my MOS. But they were required to work me in my MOS, so if they weren’t working me in my MOS, they had to transfer me. But you couldn’t transfer someone with a PRP flag on their records, so they had to remove the flag. Along with another guy from B-05, SP4 George Price, a generator operator, I wound up in Korea. I went to Kimje, “Camp Echo Hill” and George went elsewhere. In Korea, without a PRP complication, I was again working on the acquisition radar until I managed to get a transfer to the relative civilization of Pyeongtaek, “Camp Humphreys”, to be Race Relations Facilitator and subsequently Safety NCO. But all that is a different story.
"I was stationed at the Danvers Nike Missile Site from 1968-1971 as a 76R20 Missile repair parts clerk. The site in Danvers was the IFC area with the launch site in Topsfield. My duties were performed at the Danvers site. I remained in the Danvers/Beverly/Salem area until 1974. As I recall it was shut down prior to 1974 but I cannot remember for sure when. Have the buildings and radar decks/towers been torn down? Any information would be greatly appreciated. I have a lot of fond memories of my time there." SP4 C. Michael Olson.