Highlands Army Air Defense Site

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Highlands Army Air Defense Site
Nike missile
Army Air Defense Command Post
1965 Missile Master interfaces.png
The AADCP networked local Army radars and Highlands Air Force Station radars to direct Nike fire units--each which had a local network of 3 radars (top) for acquiring the target, tracking the target, and tracking/guiding the Nike missile.
Country United States
State New Jersey
Region New York Defense Area
Command Army Air Defense Command
1960: AN/FSG-1
1966 November 30: AN/TSQ-51[1]:320
1972 by July 1: AN/GSG-5[2]:C-23
Nearest city New York City
Location Missile Master nuclear bunker
 - coordinates 40°23′12″N 73°59′1″W / 40.38667°N 73.98361°W / 40.38667; -73.98361Coordinates: 40°23′12″N 73°59′1″W / 40.38667°N 73.98361°W / 40.38667; -73.98361 [3]
Code NY-55DC
Nike Memorial
The 1958 memorial for the 1958 "Nike Ajax Explosion" was moved to HAADS in 1963 after the nearby Chapel Hill launch site NY-56 closed (40°23′41″N 74°05′07″W / 40.3946°N 74.0853°W / 40.3946; -74.0853).[1] The memorial was in front of the HQ building near the Portland Rd entrance and was moved to Ft Hancock in 1974.[2](40°27.342′N 74°0.237′W / 40.455700°N 74.003950°W / 40.455700; -74.003950).[3]

The Highlands Army Air Defense Site[4] (HAADS) was a United States Army air defence site in Middletown Township, New Jersey.

The Army Air Defense Command Post (AADCP) at Highlands directed the Nike fire units in the New York Defense Area, replacing the Nike missile "manual operations center" at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island.[5] The Missile Master Army Installation was built in the former Highlands Air Force Station and cost ~$2 million for the new equipment (Martin AN/FSG-1 and AN/FPS-6 & AN/FPS-90 height-finders) and ~$2 million for additional structures such as the 170 ft × 90 ft (52 m × 27 m) nuclear bunker, four radar towers, diesel power plant,[6] and 25 ft × 17 ft (7.6 m × 5.2 m) cinderblock electrical switch building.[7] Isaac Degeneers Construction Co. was the general contractor for the $1.71M construction[8] (C. W. Regan was the lowest bidder at $1.5M.)[4] The 1957 site plan was for 45–50 acres (18–20 ha);[9] construction began July 10, 1958; the Missile Master was accepted in May 1960;[7] and the dedication was on June 5.[5]

The Army assumed control of the Highlands Air Force Station after the DoD had announced its closure for July 1966.[10] The 646th Radar Squadron was inactivated on July 1, 1966. The first Hughes AN/TSQ-51 Air Defense Command and Coordination System in the nation as activated at the HAADS. The AADCP became the direction center for the combined New York-Philadelphia Defense Area when the AADCP near Philadelphia was closed in September 1966.[11] AADCP operations ended in 1974 under Project Concise[4] in conjunction with the region's 9 remaining Nike fire units closing in April at Orangeburg/Mount Nebo, New York (NY-03/04), Amityville/Farmingdale, New York (NY-24), Fort Tilden (NY-49), Livingston, New Jersey (NY-79/80), Lumberton, New Jersey (PH-23/25), Erial, New Jersey (PH-41/43), and Woolwich Township, New Jersey (PH-58).

The Highlands Army Air Defense Site was decommissioned on October 31, 1974. (17) The U.S. Department of Agriculture had made plans to put an animal quarantine station on the site in the early 1970s when the Highlands Army Air Defense Site was declared excess by the General Services Administration. The Monmouth County board of Freeholders was opposed to the plan.(13) Representative James J. Howard (D-NJ) was instrumental in getting the Highlands Army Air Defense Site turned into a park in 1973 with the acquisition of 161 acres of the site property.(14) Ten years later the GSA turned 63 acres of the operations area was turned over to the Monmouth County Park system.(15) On July 3, 1984 the Monmouth County Park system signed for the deed to the remaining land.(16)

The Highlands Missile Master building was demolished in 1995.(12)[5]

External images
1958 Nike explosion memorial at Highlands (p. 11)
empty Missile Master bunker in 2008
map of current site with park trails



  1. ^ Leonard, Barry (2011). History of Strategic and Ballistic Missile Defense: Volume II: 1956-1972 (Google books). Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  2. ^ McMaster, B. N., et al (December 1984). Historical Overview of the Nike Missile System (PDF) (Report). Environmental Science and Engineering, Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  3. ^ "Hartshorne Woods Park - Highlands Army Air Defense Base" (Highlands Paranormal webpage). MySite.Verizon.net. 2005. Retrieved 2011-10-09. The picture below was captured in an underground bunker . The location is number 3 as marked on the map above. 
  4. ^ a b "Chapter IX Logistics". Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1974. Center of Military History. 1978. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  5. ^ a b "Base is Dedicated: 'Blue Room' at Missile Master Gives Eerie But Secure Feeling" (PDF). Red Bank Register. Red Bank, New Jersey. June 7, 1960. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2011-09-30. RADAR SCANNER at Missile Master atop Highlands hills tells the height of aircraft or other flying objects. It is one of the smaller pieces of radar equipment. …replaces a manual operations center at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, where Gen.Hewitt's headquarters, the 52d Artillery Brigade Air Defense 
  6. ^ "Missile Master Defense System to Cost Millions: Army Opens Bids" (PDF). Red Bank Register. Red Bank, New Jersey. June 12, 1958. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  7. ^ a b Brown v. Jersey Central Power and Light Co. (New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division).
  8. ^ "Location of the Missile Master" (PDF). Red Bank Register. Red Bank, New Jersey. August 7, 1958. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  9. ^ "title tbd" (PDF). Red Bank Register. Red Bank, New Jersey. April 25, 1957. Retrieved date tbd.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. ^ "Highlands Radar Site Closing" (PDF). The Daily Register. Red Bank, New Jersey. November 20, 1964. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 25, 2012. Retrieved 2011-10-10. McNamara Firm on Base Shutdowns …two naval shipyards, six bomber bases,…in 33 states and the District … 80 bases in the United States and 15 overseas … Portsmouth…Navy Yard … Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Army Terminal. … Springfield Armory … Temporary Team … Highlands Air Force Station … personnel will be inactivated by July, 1966, leaving Army radar unit at base intact … What's Behind Decision … Over the past four years 574 U.S. military bases around the world ... McNamara struck 16 more Air Defense Command radar stations 
  11. ^ "Nike Site PH-64DC Army Air Defense Command Post Pedricktown, NJ". Practice safe lunch…. LiveJournal.com. November 29, 2005. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  12. ^ 3rd Bn was inactivated 4 June 1973 at Highlands, New Jersey. http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/060/60-5/cmhPub_60-5.pdf, p.201