Guthrie Air Force Station
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|Guthrie Air Force Station|
|Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)|
Location of Guthrie AFS, West Virginia
|Type||Air Force Station|
|Code||ADC ID: P-43, NORAD ID: Z-43|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||783d Aircraft Control and Warning (later Radar) Squadron|
Guthrie Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 5.3 miles (8.5 km) north-northeast of South Charleston, West Virginia. It was closed in 1968.
Guthrie Air Force Station was one of twenty-eight stations built as part of the second segment of the permanent Air Defense Command network. Prompted by the start of the Korean War, on July 11, 1950, the Secretary of the Air Force asked the Secretary of Defense for approval to expedite construction of the second segment of the permanent network. Receiving the Defense Secretary’s approval on July 21, the Air Force directed the Corps of Engineers to proceed with construction.
The 783d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron began operating an AN/FPS-3 search radar and an AN/FPS-4 height-finder radar from this site on 16 April 1951, 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. In 1958 these units were replaced by an AN/FPS-20 search radar and an AN/FPS-6 height-finder radar, respectively.
During 1962 Guthrie AFS joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, initially feeding data to DC-06 at Custer AFS, Michigan. After joining, the squadron was redesignated as the 783d Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 July 1962. 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. In 1962 the search radar was upgraded and redesignated as an AN/FPS-67. A second AN/FPS-6 height-finder radar was added in 1963, and on 31 July, the site was redesignated as NORAD ID Z-43. One AN/FPS-6 was then retired in 1966.
In addition to the main facility, Guthrie operated four unmanned AN/FPS-18 Gap Filler sites:
- Bainbridge, OH (P-43A)
- Hellier, KY (P-43B)
- Owingsville, KY (P-43C/P-82B)
- Lewisville, OH (P-43E)
The Air Force discontinued the 783d Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 18 June 1968; the station was closed on 30 June. Today most of the installation was still in use by various state organizations, mainly the Guthrie Agricultural Center of the WV Department of Agriculture, Forestry Service, and Health Department. Although the radar towers had been removed, the foundations of the AN/FPS-67 and the AN/FPS-6 are quite visible. Most of the buildings are well-maintained, and many now have vinyl siding on them. The houses of the original housing area are occupied as family residences; also, in addition, a second housing area on the adjacent hilltop have homes that have been remodeled and placed on the market for sale, many have occupants living in them.
Units and assignments
- Constituted as the 783d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
- Activated on 16 April 1951
- Redesignated as 783d Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 July 1962
- Discontinued and inactivated on 18 June 1968
- 541st Aircraft Control and Warning Group, 16 April 1951
- 30th Air Division, 6 February 1952
- 4708th Defense Wing (later 4708th Air Defense Wing), 16 February 1953
- 58th Air Division, 1 March 1956
- 35th Air Division, 1 September 1958
- 32d Air Division, 15 November 1968
- Detroit Air Defense Sector, 1 July 1961
- 34th Air Division, 1 April 1966 - 18 June 1968
- List of USAF Aerospace Defense Command General Surveillance Radar Stations
- List of United States Air Force aircraft control and warning squadrons
- 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, US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories, Champaign, IL (1997).
- Information for Guthrie AFS, WV