Minot Air Force Station
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Minot Air Force Station|
|Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)|
|Gasman Township, Ward County, south of Minot, North Dakota|
|Type||Air Force station|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|In use||May 1951–September 1979, 1984–1997|
|Garrison||786th Radar Squadron|
Minot (Also known as Velva) Air Force Station (ADC ID: P-28 NORAD ID: Z-28) [Permanent Installation Number (PIN): 1445; Installation Location Code (ILC): QJVM]) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 16.2 miles (26.1 km) south of Minot, North Dakota; on the west side of US Highway 83. It was closed in 1979. A portion of the property was reopened in 1984 as the Minot Communications Site and served until 1997.
Minot Air Force Station was part of the last batch of twenty-three radar stations constructed as part of the Air Defense Command permanent network. It was activated on 20 May 1951 at Velva, ND, and declared completely operational in 1952.
The 786th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron began operations with AN/FPS-3 and AN/FPS-5 radars in April 1952, and initially the station functioned as a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron's role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes.
It was named Minot Air Force Station on 1 December 1953. During 1957 an AN/GPS-3 search radar saw brief use. In 1958 the original radars were replaced by AN/FPS-20 search and AN/FPS-6 height-finder sets. A second height-finder set, AN/FPS-6B, was installed during the following year.
During 1961 Minot AFS joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, initially feeding data to DC-20 at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. After joining, the squadron was redesignated as the 786th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 15 July 1961. The radar squadron provided information 24/7 the SAGE Direction Center where it was analyzed to determine range, direction altitude speed and whether or not aircraft were friendly or hostile.
By the end of 1961 the search set had been upgraded and redesignated as an AN/FPS-66. On 31 July 1963, the site was redesignated as NORAD ID Z-28.
An AN/FPS-26A height-finder radar was installed in 1964, and the AN/FPS-6 was retired. The AN/FPS-6B was upgraded to an AN/FPS-90 also that year. In 1964 the site received an AN/FPS-27 search radar which became fully operational in early 1965. The AN/FPS-66 was removed later in 1965. In 1968 the AN/FPS-90 was retired.
- Niobe, ND (P-28A)
- Regan, ND (P-28D)
- Alexander, ND (P-28E)
Over the years, the equipment at the station was upgraded or modified to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the information gathered by the radars. In early 1979 the Air Force announced that the station would be closing due to what was called "redundancies with more strategically located radars". On 29 September 1979 the 786th Radar Squadron was inactivated and the station was closed.
In 1984, a portion of the station was reopened by the USAF as the Minot Communication Site. It was closed again in 1997 and struck from the USAF property register and liquidated ca. 1998. Minot AFS has been sold to civilian interests, and has been reused as a housing subdivision colloquially known as the Radar Base. The station after standing derelict for decades has now been torn down.
Buildings and facilities
Buildings on the station include:
Air Force units and assignments
- Constituted as the 786th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
- Activated on 20 May 1951
- Redesignated as 786th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 15 July 1961
- Redesignated as 786th Radar Squadron on 1 February 1974
- Inactivated: 29 September 1979
- 543d Aircraft Control and Warning Group, 20 May 1951
- 31st Air Division, 6 February 1952
- 29th Air Division, 16 February 1953
- Minot Air Defense Sector (Manual), 1 January 1961
- Great Falls Air Defense Sector, 25 June 1963
- 28th Air Division, 1 April 1966
- 24th Air Division, 19 November 1969 - 29 September 1979
- Major Robert Friend: 20 May 1951–26 December 1951;
- Major James Larson: 26 December 1951 -unknown;
- Major Leroy Holen: unknown–14 March 1952;
- Major Edward Stauffer: 14 March 1952–16 April 1955;
- Major Halvden W. Thompson: 16 April 1955–8 June 1955;
- Major Leonard J. Schaitel: 8 June 1955–26 July 1957;
- Major George A. Middleton: 26 July 1957–1960;
- Major I. D. (Israel) Siegel: ca. 1960;
- Major A. J. Rantal: ca. 1960;
- Major Jacob F. Stevens: ca. 1963;
- Major Fred E. Small: ca. 1964–1966;
- Major Neal C. Brigham: ca. 1966;
- Major Raymond L. Graham: ca. 1967–2 January 1971;
- Major Gordon S. Bounds: ca. 1971–1972;
- Major H. L. Dent: ca. 1972–20 July 1974;
- Major Joseph R. Cox: ca. 1974;
- Major Bruce Smith: ca. 1978;
- Captain Ronald K. Trithart: ca. 1979;
- List of USAF Aerospace Defense Command General Surveillance Radar Stations
- List of United States Air Force aircraft control and warning squadrons
- need reference
- Squadron Activities - Armed Forces Day. Minot Air Force Station: 786th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron. 17 May 1958
- Cornett, Lloyd H. and Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980,  Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson AFB, CO (1980).
- Winkler, David F.; Webster, Julie L. Searching the skies : the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program. Champaign, IL: US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. LCCN 9720912.
- Information for Minot AFS, ND