2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 18 Apr 2003 16:39:02 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] North Shore was home to eight ballistic missile sites
North Shore was home to eight ballistic missile sites

The duct-tape-and-plastic advisory issued two months ago by the Homeland
Security Council pales in comparison to the defense initiatives of the
Cold War era when the North Shore was home to eight Nike ballistic
missile battalions including a nuclear missile site in Glencoe's Skokie

These installations were stocked with powerful antiaircraft,
surface-to-air missiles that were part of the "line of last defense"
against a Soviet surprise nuclear attack against the United States.

Besides Glencoe, sleepy suburban fixed missile launching sites were
located in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Fort Sheridan, Vernon Hills
and Mundelein.

By today's standards, the neighborhood presence of a Nike missile site
is almost inconceivable, conjuring up images of a Steven Spielberg
movie. But the Cold War years were different.

"The Nike Program, and the installation at Skokie Lagoon, was meant to
provide a sense of comfort to Americans and it did just that," said
Roland Calhoon, whose family has lived in Glencoe since 1871.

As village president of Glencoe from 1968 to 1976, Calhoon had
first-hand experience working with the Skokie Lagoon site until the Nike
Program ended in 1974.

"Knowing nuclear missiles were virtually located in our back yard was a
part of life that was taken very matter-of-factly among village
residents," Calhoon said. "The Cold War began close enough to World War
II, so the attitude of the general public was one that genuinely
believed in supporting programs that were developed for the greater good
of the country."

Jerry Biederman, a resident of Glencoe since 1951, agreed with Calhoon.

"The Nike site wasn't a terribly forbidding facility," Biederman
recalled, adding most Americans thought the missile sites were necessary
to defend the nation from the Soviet threat.

Biederman, who as student at South School was accustomed to the "duck
and cover" atomic bomb drills of the Cold War era, remembered the
Glencoe site at Skokie Lagoon vividly and fondly. When he was 10,
Biederman said he and his friends passed idle hours outside the
chain-link fence encircling the compound, where they watched military
personnel perform routine tests on missile and radar monitoring

"There was a sense that we were a country involved in a struggle to
preserve our freedom against communism and the Soviet Union and, quite
frankly, at the time, the feeling was that it was a battle we were not
always winning," he said.

"Having a missile site so close to home must have given some residents
reason for pause, although I can't remember feeling anything but that of
being protected," added Biederman.

This article can be viewed at:

  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Scientists Urge DU Clean-Up To Protect Civilians
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Toxics? What Toxics?
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Scientists Urge DU Clean-Up To Protect Civilians
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Toxics? What Toxics?

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index