I was stationed at the Swansea, Mass. Nike Missile site (‘B’ BTRY, 739 AAA MSL BN) in 1956 -1957. My MOS was Missile Crewman (162.00). I was assigned to the site after completing basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and was one of the first replacements to the original crew of this missile site. An interesting side note was after basic training all fellow trainees whose last names started with letters from A to L were sent to Korea and those from M to Z were assigned as Nike Missile site replacements or other duties. I believe the original Nike staff was trained as a unit then were sent to establish the headquarters and missile launch sites.
My duties were served in the IFC site which was about one half mile from the missile launch site. The target tracking radar, headquarters building, mess hall, and barracks all were located there. My duties included training on the target tracking radar. The sky was full of planes in the Boston area and as a simulated practice exercise I would lock the radar on an aircraft while coordinating with missile launch area personnel. I also drove a 2 ½ ton truck to pick up to deliver supplies and to take garbage to the local dump. Guard duty and work in the kitchen ( KP) were other duties. I recall driving a very nervous Master Sergeant to Providence, Rhode Island in order to pick up supplies. He kept a close watch on the speedometer and let me know in no uncertain terms when he wasn’t pleased with my driving.
The officers had us do daily exercise routines after breakfast which included in-formation runs in combat boots and fatigues down the access road then the local roads and back. Probably a 2 miles run in total. Someone was always dropping out sick and leaving his breakfast by the side of the road. We chanted “I don’t know but I’ve been told….” as we ran. There is a picture of the access road included.
Pictures include the barracks building, the mess hall with three dogs sleeping in front, the headquarters building, the back of the buildings showing some of the surrounding woodlands, target tracking radar in the background. One shows me walking into the barracks building and a 1950’s Chevrolet parked nearby. One picture is of the missile-launch area with eight Nike Missiles in the down position. One picture shows several of the men lounging on their cots. Unfortunately I didn’t record their names although I think the fellow on the far right is named “Moquin”. He has the Nike Missile patch on his left shoulder.
One picture shows two troopers next to a deer carcass hanging on the fence. They skinned it out after it was hit by a car. I believe the carcass was then donated. The entire headquarters area was surrounded by a chain link fence which was topped by barbed wire. It had a grassland parking lot for personal cars and a guard was always on duty at the gate.
Everything was not all work and some off time was spent in Fall River, Mass. At the local watering hole. One problem with that was there were mostly Navy and Coast Guard uniforms to be seen. Cape Cod was nearby and the song “Old Cape Code” by Patti Page was a popular hit. I managed to buy an old Studebaker convertible from someone who had served out his enlistment and used it to good advantage to get to the beaches for swimming and recreation. I resold it to another trooper when I transferred out. I think the price bought and sold was about $200.
I was eventually transferred to the US Military District at Fort Sheridan in Illinois where I was mustered out. When Sitting Bull was captured he was held at Fort Sheridan.