North Truro AFS

Category Exploration Date Status Province / State Country
Military Semi-active Massachusetts United States

History: 

Operations began here in 1951 with the 762d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron moved in with two WWII-era AN/CPS-3 radars. Its role at this point was as a Ground Control Intercept station, vectoring intercept aircraft toward unidentified targets. In 1955, the AN/FPS-8 radar was added to the base. This system was upgraded to AN/GPS-3 before being removed from service in 1960. In 1956, the primary search radar was the CPS-6B.

The North Truro AFS was also the parent station to Texas Tower 2 from 1956 to 1963. In 1958, the station was also upgraded to include the AN/FPS-6 and AN/FPS-6A height-finder radars. In 1958, it became part of the SAGE network, feeding data to the Stewart AFB in Newburgh, NY.

1960 saw the installation of the AN/FPS-7 search radar, and in 1963, the installation of AN/FPS-26A and AN/FPS-90 height-finder radar.

North Truro was also parent to three gap-filler stations located in Westboro, MA (closed 1962), Fort Dearborn, NH (closed 1968), and Chilmark, MA (closed 1968).

The station continued to upgrade and modernize until in 1985, the AN/FPS-107 was replaced by the AN/FPS-91A search radar. In 1994, the station was closed down and the property sold to the National Parks Service. An ARSR-4 continues to be used by the FAA and Homeland Security as part of the JSS project.


Personal Commentary: 

When I looked at this place on Google Earth, it looked pretty interesting. I was surprised to see so many buildings still in tact and decided that it was definitely worth a look. I arrived on a hot afternoon to find the gates open, a couple of tents erected, and a few people milling about including someone in a uniform that looked distinctly like a Park Ranger. What the hell, let's go talk to the guy.

As it turns out, the people and tents were there for the rehearsal of a play. After speaking with the Ranger, I had free run of the place, although he would never really be very distant. At every turn, I saw him driving slowly by in a cruiser, but always smiling, waving often.

The buildings were all sealed, and although a few points of entry became apparent, my constant companion kept interior shots an impossibility. The only time I was alone was as I was exploring the houses on the adjacent property, but those too were largely sealed, and interiors not likely to be of great interest anyhow.

All in all, this was a substantially sized station, and despite the lack of interiors, it was interesting to explore nonetheless.


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