Fort Lee Air Force Station
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|Fort Lee Air Force Station|
|Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)|
|Type||Air Force Station|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||Washington Air Defense Sector|
33d Air Division
20th Air Division
Fort Lee Air Force Station, located on the United States Army Fort Lee installation, was selected in 1956 for a Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system direction center (DC) site, designated DC-04. The SAGE system was a network linking Air Force (and later FAA) General Surveillance Radar stations into a centralized center for Air Defense, intended to provide early warning and response for a Soviet nuclear attack. This automated control system was used by NORAD for tracking and intercepting enemy bomber aircraft. In the later versions the system could automatically direct aircraft to an interception by sending instructions directly to the aircraft's autopilot.
The 4625th Air Defense Wing was activated at the site under the 85th Air Division on 1 December 1956 to supervise the construction of the SAGE blockhouses and the installation and testing of the SAGE electronic and data processing equipment. The 4625th ADW was re-designated as the Washington Air Defense Sector (WaADS) on 8 January 1957 upon DC-04's activation, remaining under the 85th AD.
The operation of the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) direction center (DC-04) was the mission the WaADS. The Sector was disestablished on 1 April 1966, the SAGE operations were reassigned to the 33d Air Division, being moved to Fort Lee AFS from Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri. The 33d AD was inactivated on 19 November 1969, its assets being assumed by the newly reactivated 20th Air Division at Fort Lee AFS
The DC-04 and the 20th Air Division were inactivated on 1 March 1983 by Air Defense, Tactical Air Command (ADTAC). With its inactivation, Fort Lee Air Force Station was closed. After its closure, the site was taken over by other Federal Government agencies, and is now houses several such offices. Only the orderly room, mess hall and one barracks building still stand of the Air Force station.
The SAGE blockhouse also stands, now named Von Steuben Hall, it contains the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Software Engineering Center - Lee (SEC-Lee).
Known ADCOM units assigned
- 20th ADCOM Region
- Transferred to ADTAC as 20th NORAD Region, 1 October 1979-1 March 1983
- 20th Air Division, 19 November 1969 – 1 March 1983
- 33d Air Division, 1 April 1966 – 19 November 1969
- Washington Air Defense Sector, 8 January 1957 – 1 April 1966
- 4638th Air Defense Squadron (SAGE), 1 July 1972
- Re-designated: 20th Air Defense Squadron (SAGE), 1 January 1975-1 March 1983
- A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
- Winkler, David F. (1997), Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program. Prepared for United States Air Force Headquarters Air Combat Command.
- Information for Fort Lee AFS, VA