Key West Missile Launching Pads (actual government photos)

Being a GIGANTIC history buff, this is one of my most favorite historical sites to visit when in Key West. Each time I walk around the abandoned Army Bravo Battery Hawk Missile Base I end up finding something that I’d previously missed. It was known locally as the Southernmost Air Defense Artillery Missile Site In The USA, that is until the 1987 Hollywood movie ‘Russkies’ renamed it the ‘Lower Keys Naval Station’… that’s funny, it was an Army Base! 🙂

I’ve included actual government photos, 10 of which are from the historical Key West Base itself. If you look close you’ll see a number of batteries (groups of 3 missiles on portable launchers) as dark objects in the background surrounded by large white embankments called berms. I’ve also included two NON-Key West photos on the bottom showing their size compared to an average person along with one showing its awesome fire power.

The 6th Battalion (HAWK),65th Artillery, a unit of the joint STRIKE Command received orders to Key West on October 20, 1962. They arrived on October 26 and three days later on October 29, 1962 became operational and ready for action in defense of Key West.

U.S. Army Air Defense Command Key West Defenses

Awarded the Army Meritorious Unit Citation by President John F. Kennedy

Seen below are a group of 8 soldiers behind a truck called a deuce and a half stationed in Key West in 1962. I’m ecstatic to have found the names of these Americans and proudly pass them along to you. Standing (L to R) Walker Finley, Charles Toler, Alvie Prater, Robert Findlay, Gale Scott, Johnnie Garrison. Kneeling: Sgt Melvin Tucker, Gerald Kendrick.

In closing, the photos below are what it looked like during its operational years. This is a great FREE adventure for any military enthusiast or history buff. You can find this long-abandoned missile base tucked neatly inside Key West’s Little Hamaca City Park off Flagler Avenue.






Filed under key west

5 responses to “Key West Missile Launching Pads (actual government photos)

  1. Bernard Halpin

    I was stationed @ C Battery, 6th Bn., 65th Artillery on Geiger Key from March, 1967 to May, 1969. Great duty… Sgt. Halpin Doppler Radar Technician.

    • Ron Brown

      I was also stationed at C Battery, 6th Bn., 65th Artillery on Geiger Key from September 1966 to October 1967. I was the Battery Clerk for 1SG Belonie. I had lots of fun on the weekends using the Battery’s boat. Gordon Provost and I took the boat out almost every weekend. The was a 2LT, Hedges that went with us a couple of times. SP4 Ron Brown

  2. David Crow

    I was assiged to alpha battery 6th to the 65th 1965 to 1966. When I arrived in September of 1965 we were billetted in tents on Flemming Key off of the Navy’s Key West heliport. About six months later we had new barracks on Boca Chica Key Naval Air Base.You could say we were one of the first Joint Bases since Army, Marine, Navy, and Air Force shared the base.

  3. Murphy Laiche

    Murphy Laiche

    I was in 1st of the 65th, Delta Battery from 1973- 1975. Spec. 4 Murphy Laiche radar operator.Great tour, great place to be stationed.

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