Streator DEW Training Facility

Category Exploration Date Status Province / State Country
Military Private Property Illinois United States

History: 

This station was built in 1952 / 53 as a prototype of the stations that would become the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line In 1956, with completion of the line nearing, its role changed to that of a training facility for the personnel that would man the stations in the Arctic.

According to Brian Jeffrey's web site, and his contributor, Paul Kelley, training was arranged as follows:

  • Week 1: Intro to the DEW Line. Arctic survival. Weather course.
  • Week 2: Weather course and Electronic review.
  • Week 3: Electronic review continued and Communications I.
  • Week 4: Communications I continued.
  • Week 5: Communications II.
  • Week 6: Communications III.
  • Week 7: Surveillance I.
  • Week 8: Surveillance II.
  • Week 9: Surveillance III.
  • Week 10: Operations and First Aid.
  • Week 11: Operations.
  • Week 12: Operations and graduation for Canadians.
  • Week 13: VHF, Teletype or Crypto training for Americans.

Failing any two of the weekly exams meant wash out.

Also according to this site, a local pilot was hired to fly around providing a target with which to practice.

The troposcatter antennas were aimed at MIT in order to facilitate testing during the prototype phase of the facility.

The FPS-19 radar was the predominant piece of equipment on the DEW line.

The station was finally closed in 1975, and training operations were moved to Colorado.


Personal Commentary: 

As I stepped through the front gate, it was almost like stepping back through time. The buildings here had clearly sat for a long time after serving almost 20 years.

Most of the structures were elevated from the ground, a feature common to arctic facilities. The floors were giving out in many places so any attempt to get up the radar tower was aborted.

The guards still watching this piece of history care little for me as I walk around. The rooster and two turkeys eyed me closely until I left.


Videos

Comment

I spent about 3 weeks at this prototype dewline site in Sept of 1969. ITT Federal Electric Corp had won the
BMEWS USAF Operations and Maintenance contract and that was to commence at midnight Sept 30, 1969.
My group of technicians were trained to support the DR/DTO Central Data Systems on the BMEWS site 1 at
Thule, Greenland. We spent the 3 weeks living in the Streator Hotel and were bused out to the site each day
and returned in the afternoon. We also got our overseas shots while at Streator. We all left for New York City and flew out of McQuire AFB. New Jersey to go to Thule.

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