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.