Baker Air Force Station

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Baker Air Force Station
Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)
Baker AFS is located in Oregon
Baker AFS
Baker AFS
Location of Baker AFS, Oregon
Coordinates 44°35′11″N 117°47′14″W / 44.58639°N 117.78722°W / 44.58639; -117.78722 (Baker AFS SM-149)
Type Air Force Station
Code ADC ID: SM-149, NORAD ID: Z-149
Site information
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Site history
Built 1959, 57 years ago
Built by George A. Moore and Assoc., Inc.
Portland, Oregon[1]
In use 1959–1968
Battles/wars Cold War
Garrison information
Garrison 821st Aircraft Control
and Warning Squadron
Emblem of the 821st Radar Squadron

Baker Air Force Station was general surveillance radar station in the western United States, in the high desert of eastern Oregon. Located on Beaver Mountain south of Baker City, it was operated for less than a decade be the U.S. Air Force and closed 48 years ago in 1968.[2]

Baker AFS was initially part of Phase II of the Air Defense Command Mobile Radar program. The Air Force approved this expansion of the Mobile Radar program on October 23, 1952. Radars in this network were designated "SM."


Located 13.4 miles (21.6 km) south of Baker City, the station became operational 57 years ago in 1959 when the 821st Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron was moved to Baker AFS in July. The squadron began operating an AN/FPS-35 search radar and an AN/FPS-6 height-finder radar, 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. Baker AFS had the only AN/FPS-35 enclosed by a radome, constructed in 1963. The summit of Beaver Mountain exceeds 6,300 feet (1,920 m) above sea level, nearly 3,000 feet (910 m) higher than Baker City.

During 1960, Baker AFS joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, feeding data to DC-16 at Stead AFB, near Reno, Nevada. After joining, the squadron was redesignated as the 821st Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 15 October 1960. 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. On 31 July 1963, the site was redesignated as NORAD ID Z-149.

In 1964 an AN/FPS-6A height-finder was added and the AN/FPS-6 was retired in 1966. Operations ceased on 18 June 1968 as a result of budget restrictions and the general phase down of air defense radar stations due to technology advancements. After its closure, the cantonment area in northwest Baker City (44°47′24″N 117°50′38″W / 44.79°N 117.844°W / 44.79; -117.844) became the "New Tribes Mission Training Center."[3] The site was offered for sale in 2008 with an asking price of $750,000. To date there has not been much interest due to the asbestos siding on the wood frame constructed buildings. Most of the site remains, the housing area being used for single family homes.

The radar site has been demolished; its AN/FPS-35 radome was moved to Idaho in the early 1970s and became the gymnasium at Payette High School.[4]

Air Force units and assignments[edit]


  • Constituted as the 821st Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Activated at Geiger Field, Washington on 1 September 1957
Assigned to Baker AFS on 1 July 1959
Redesignated 821st Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 15 October 1960
Discontinued smf inactivated on 18 June 1968


See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ "Low bids revealed on radar projects". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). UPI. June 26, 1959. p. 5A. 
  2. ^ Jacoby, Jayson (November 11, 2002). "Radar base brought airmen to Baker". Baker City Herald. (Oregon). Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  3. ^ Wood, Christina (December 21, 2001). "Some missions begin in Baker City". Baker City Herald. (Oregon). Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ Hager, Philip (December 26, 1974). "Idaho high school gets its own dome". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (Los Angeles Times). p. 26. 

External links[edit]