This is Nike Site "Mike", or the Eilson Air Force Base's C battery. Like site Summit in Anchorage, this was one of a series of Nike missile bases built around Alaska's two largest cities in the 1950s. Unlike Summit, this one has been heavily damaged by later military use and training excercises. Most of the IFC building is destroyed, the clamshel radar domes have been stripped and left open (prompting the name), and the lower levels of the IFC and launch bunkers have all been welded shut due to Asbestos contamination. In addition, the roofs of the missile storage bunkers are gone, and there is some fire damage to one of the bunkers. Parts of the power plant and other buildings are also missing. All of the ammunition and warhead storage magazine bunkers are locked and in use by the military, and there are several communications systems installed at the launch site.
Explorers: Freak and NoPantsMonkey
We drove out to the Nike base area (south of Eielson AFB), to check if the roads were clear. Previous scouting of this area had revealed that one base was being used by a private company, and the road to the other two was impassible. When we got to the road we found that the snow had melted, and it was easily traversible by 'Monkey's 4wd Subaru (despite the car being mostly made of rust). We drove up the hill to the first base, using a GPS and laptop navigation system to pinpoint our location on topo maps and aerial photos. This was the first time I'd used such a setup for UE, and I found it really convineient for navigation and very nice for previewing side roads and nearby areas.
Site Mike was the first base we came to. The control area looked different from what the satellite photos had led us to expect. Most of the IFC building was destroyed, and the three radar domes were open and standing alone where they had once been connected to the building. The remaining section of IFC structure had all the interior equipment removed, along with several walls. There was a lot of trash and paintball damage, and grafitti from military and other visitors.
The road in and out. Great view from up here! We somehow missed seeing that sign on the way up...
Pacman lives! The three large clamshell radar domes were open, unlike the ones at Summit.
Inside and up top of the radar dome.
Less than half of the IFC building still remains. All equipment and furnishing have been ripped out, and some walls are missing.
The lower levels and utility tunnels were all sealed.
The missile launch bunkers at the nearby launch site were stripped of their roofs, the lower levels were sealed with welded panels, and one was badly burned (ironically enough, right near the "authorised smoking area" sign). I like the 40 Kiloton load limit, I guess any more nukes than that and it could be a small problem if they accidentally went off :-)
Nearby support structures, either damaged or sealed and in use by the military.
Modern radio stuff nearby. We drove by the 2nd object while using a laptop and GPS system, and we suddenly picked up an 802.11b signal! The crazy thing is a wireless access point in the middle of nowhere (secured unfortunately, no free porn for us).
And to finish off, a great view of the Alaska Range from the pacman tower!
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