Niagara Falls Air Force Missile Site

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Niagara Falls Air Force Missile Site
Part of Syracuse Air Defense Sector
E of Tuscarora Rd, W of drainage ditch along Niagara Falls Air Force Base, 5.1 mi (8.2 km) ENE of Niagara Falls, New York
Coordinates43°07′04″N 078°56′50″W / 43.11778°N 78.94722°W / 43.11778; -78.94722 (Niagara Fall Bomarc Site)[1]Coordinates: 43°07′04″N 078°56′50″W / 43.11778°N 78.94722°W / 43.11778; -78.94722 (Niagara Fall Bomarc Site)[1]
Typesurface-to-air missile base
Site information
Controlled by
Air Defense Command 1961-8
Aerospace Defense Command 1968-9
Garrison information
Garrison35th Air Defense Missile Squadron

The "Niagara Falls AF Missile Site"[2][3] was one of two BOMARC bases in New York (BOMARC Base No.1 was in New Jersey, BOMARC Base No.2 was on Long Island). New York defenses protected Cold War industrial complexes of the eastern Great Lakes. A nearby BOMARC Radio Site (not shown) was for transmitting ground-controlled interception commands generated at DC-03 to launched missiles based on tracking data from SAGE radars such as Z-49 & Z-21 at Lockport AFS.

Z21 was co-located with the Project Nike Army Air Defense Command Post for the 1961 Niagara Falls-Buffalo Defense Area which included numerous missile sites (three shown in green).

The Niagara Falls Air Force Missile Site[2] was a Cold War USAF launch complex for Boeing CIM-10 Bomarc surface-to-air missiles. It was operated by the 35th Air Defense Missile Squadron. Equipped only IM-99Bs (46 missiles: solid-state, solid-fuel booster),[4] the site had 48[5] Model IV "coffin" shelters,[6] after an initial design with a secure area of ~20 acres (8.1 ha) to have 28 shelters (the planned site had additional area for 84 "future shelters").[7] Launch control for the site's missiles was by central NY's "Hancock Field combined direction-combat center" (CC-01/DC-03) at Syracuse, New York. DC-03 was operational on December 1, 1958;[8] (CC-01 was the "first SAGE regional battle post", beginning operations "in early 1959".)[9]

Construction began in 1959.[10] The missile site and squadron were activated on 1 June 1960, and missiles were operational on 1 December 1961. In January 1962 the RF-62E gap filler radar site at Brookfield Air Force Station in Ohio became a "major off-base…installation" of the Niagara Falls site, transferred from Wright-Patterson AFB.[2] In 1962, command of the BOMARC base transferred from Col. John A. Sarosy[11] to Col James L. Livingston.[12]

The site was the first BOMARC B launch complex to close, on 31 December 1969.[13][14] The closure was part of a realignment of "307 military bases".[15] The missile site was vacant until turned over to the Niagara Falls Municipal Airport[16].[not in citation given] The 1959 "Access Road" is now Johnson Street of the "Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) Fuel Depot", built over the area of the BOMARC shelters, which are still visible. The former northwest corner of the missile site is the current Tuscarora Road military gate.[5]

External images
1959 plan w/28 shelters
overhead views
NFARS Fuel Depot with BOMARC foundations

The 35th Air Defense Missile Squadron (BOMARC) was constituted on 17 December 1959 and activated on 1 June 1960 in the Syracuse Air Defense Sector. It was transferred to the Detroit Air Defense Sector on 4 September 1963, the 34th Air Division on 1 April 1966, the 35th Air Division on 15 September 1969, and the 21st Air Division on 19 November 1969. It was inactivated on 31 December 1969.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Information for Niagara Falls (BOMARC), NY". Air Defense Radar Stations. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  2. ^ a b c Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases (PDF) (Report). Volume I: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Office of Air Force History. p. 600. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. Retrieved 2013-08-15. Brookfield GF Site (RF-62E), Brookfield, OH, Apr 1952 (opl)-Jan 1963 (tsfrd to Niagara Falls AF Msl Site, NY)
  3. ^
  4. ^ McMullen, R. F. (February 15, 1980). History of Air Defense Weapons 1946–1962 (Report). ADC Historical Study No. 14. Historical Division, Office of information, HQ Air Defense Command. p. 189.
  5. ^ a b "Former BOMARC Missile Site - Wikimapia".
  6. ^ "BOMARC at Niagara Falls Air Force Base".
  7. ^ Special Facitily [sic] FY '59: Niagara Falls, New York General Plan (Map). Boeing Airplane Company. n.d.
  8. ^ Condit, Kenneth W. (1992) [1971]. "Chapter 15: Continental Defense". The Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Policy: 1955-1956 (Report). Volume VI of History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Washington, DC: Historical Office, Joint Staff.
  9. ^ Schaffel, Kenneth (1991). Emerging Shield: The Air Force and the Evolution of Continental Air Defense 1945-1960. General Histories (Report). Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-60-9. Archived from the original (45MB pdf) on 2005-11-13. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Capt. Frezza Is Awarded AF Medal" (Google news archive). Beaver County Times. September 20, 1962. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  13. ^ "BOMARC in California".
  14. ^ Clearwater, John (1 February 1998). "Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada's Cold War Arsenal". Dundurn – via Google Books.
  15. ^ "Niagara Falls Air Force Units Are Phased Out" (Google news archive). Observer-Reporter. October 28, 1969. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  16. ^ compiled by Johnson, Mildred W. (31 December 1980) [February 1973: Cornett, Lloyd H. Jr.]. A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980 (PDF). Peterson Air Force Base: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. Retrieved 2012-03-26.