Memorial Plaque list of donors

Find Battery B on Google Earth or other mapping programs. IFC area coordinates are  Latitude 40.27315, Longitude -79.76300. The Launch area is  Latitude 40.2631, Longitude -79.76516.

Google Earth—in “fly to” box, enter numbers only for Latitude and Longitude. Always enter Latitude coordinates first .  Don’t forget to include “minus sign” for Longitude.  Click on magnifying glass icon to fly to the coordinates.  The coordinates will remain in your “Fly to” log.

(1) Go to Google Maps. (2) Enter “Mars Hill Storage, Rillton, PA. (3) A red tear drop marker will appear. That is the intersection of Mars Hill and Slaughter Hollow Rd. The Launcher Area is South of the intersection and the IFC Area is North. (4) Zoom in and move around until you have your desired picture. The detail is amazing!

This site is dedicated to the men of B Battery, 1st AAA Msl Bn, and B Battery, 3rd Msl Bn, 1st Artillery Regiment.

As the Nike Ajax system underwent testing during the early 1950s, the Army became concerned that the missile was incapable of stopping a massed Soviet air attack. To enhance the missile’s capabilities, the Army explored the feasibility of equipping Ajax with a nuclear warhead, but when that proved impractical, in July 1953 the service authorized development of a second generation surface-to-air missile, the Nike Hercules. As with Nike Ajax, Western Electric was the primary contractor with Bell Telephone Laboratories providing the guidance systems and Douglas Aircraft serving as the major subcontractor for the airframe.

In 1958, 5 years after the Army received approval to design and build the system. Nike Hercules stood ready to deploy from converted Nike Ajax batteries located in the New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago defense areas. However, as Nike Hercules batteries became operational, the bitter feud between the Army and Air Force over control of the nation’s air defense missile force flared anew. The Air Force opposed Nike Hercules, claiming that the Army missile duplicated the capabilities of the soon-to-be-deployed BOMARC. Eventually, both of the competing missiles systems were deployed, but the Nike Hercules would be fielded in far greater numbers over the next 6 years.


Length 41 feet
Diameter 31.5 inches
Wingspan 6 feet, 2 inches
Weight 10.710 pounds
Booster fuel Solid propellant
Missile fuel Solid propellant
Range Over 75 miles
Speed Mach 3.65 2,707 mph
Altitude Up to 150,000 feet
Guidance Command by electronic computer and radar
Warhead High-Explosive fragmentation or nuclear
  • Airframe: Douglas Aircraft Company Santa Monica, California
  • Propulsion: Booster: Hercules Powder Company Radford Arsenal, Virginia
  • Sustainer: Thiokol Chemical Corporation Longhorn Division, Marshall, Texas
  • Guidance: Western Electric Company New York

Here are two links of interest found by Tom Zangla. They are archived videos each about 30 minutes in length.

Guided Missiles and Missile Men

123 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. Don Wellman #

    I received the following mail concerning Jeff Paulus from his wife, Morty Paulus.

    Dear Don,

    I finally found your email address and wanted to let you know that Jeff passed away on December 15th. The last few months he was very bad and could barely talk. ALS is a terrible disease.

    I can’t say enough about the excellent care he received from the VA. For the last year and a half he was part of the VA’s Home Based Primary Care Team at the D.C. VA Hospital. A nurse practitioner visited frequently and the doctor came at least 6 times in the last months and he gave me his cell phone number and told me to call whenever I needed.

    He enjoyed so much all you did to get the Nike guys together and admired your efforts in that regard. We both enjoyed the get together in Pennsylvania in 2008.

    Many thanks for all you did to cheer him up with Nike news.

    Morty Paulus

    Even though it was very difficult for Jeff because of his illness, he was determined to attend our 2008 Reunion! He was proud to be an Air Defender!
    He was a good guy and so another good Soldier begins his final journey.
    Thank you for letting us know about Jeff, Morty. Best to you and yours.

  2. Don Wellman #

    Ron-forget the copy and paste! Just click on the blue link in my message. It’ll take you right to ebay.

  3. Don Wellman #

    Thanks for your comments, Ron.
    Someday, I hope to visit SF-88!

    Here is a link to some ARADCOM items on ebay. If you aren’t a member of ebay, perhaps someone you know is a member and would make a purchase for you.


    Copy and paste into your browser or just search ebay for ARADCOM.

    Good luck and thanks for writing.

  4. 4

    Thanks for this site. It’s good to see some preservation of our service. I was stationed at several Nike Herc sites during my 6 years. As a native San Franciscan, I was lucky enough to spend most of my time was at SF93 and SF88, in IFC and Launcing Areas. SF88′s launching set has been reassembled for tours, and the IFC traiers brought down from the hill and put with them, so the public can see what was classified then, for us. I also spent over a year at a site in Bitburg Germany. Enjoyed them all very much. I’m looking for a full size ARADCOM patch and am having a hard time finding one. Any ideas?

  5. Bob Davis #

    Just a thought: If N. Korea keeps it up, we’re going to bring the Herc back to Active Duty !!! BLAZING SKIES!

  6. Don Wellman #

    Let’s be mindful of Marian’s request about ARADCOM Hdqtrs and Ent Air Force Base and help if we can! It’s part of our history.

  7. Marian Greig #

    I was stationed at ARADCOM headquarters, Ent Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado, from mid-1959 to February 1961. Ent was closed during the 1970s and the property is now part of the US Olympic organization, but a scattering of buildings still remain from Ent’s past.

    The Colorado Springs museum informed me they have no information regarding Ent, and the Colorado Springs main library has very little, although the librarian informed me the library would be happy to have any information I could gather for their files.

    If anyone should contact you who was stationed at Ent or has any information, could you please pass along my e-mail address or phone number:


    I appreciate your help.


  8. Don Wellman #

    Today,I recieved news of the death of David P. Haddix. David passed away on February 27, 2013. He was 61 years old and had residence in Middletown, Ohio. David served in Launcher Security at Herminie, years 1971-1973.
    His Obituary may be found with Google.
    May he Rest In Peace.

  9. Don Wellman #

    Glad you found us, Delos! Thanks for writing and thanks for sending your contact information. You are now on our mail list. How’d you like Ft. Hood? I spent a little time there, while in the Texas National Guard in the 1950s.
    Thank you for your service to our Country.

  10. Delos M. Cozad #

    I just found your site. It brought back some memoeies. I now live in Silvercreek NY. I retired from the army at Ft Hood Tx in Mar. 1987. My contact info is: Delos M. Cozad, P.O. Box 32, Sheridan, NY 14135. My email is deloscozad@yahoo.com Phone 716-934-3287.

  11. Don Wellman #

    Today, I received word from Chris Eyermann, that his dad, Gary Korecky, passed away November 17th. We offer Chris our heart felt condolences for his loss. We are grateful for Gary’s service to his Country.

  12. Don Wellman #

    Recently I received an email from Chris Eyermann, the son of Gary Korecky. He reports that Gary is near death in a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. He found Gary’s name on our website Veterans list. He is proud of his dad and his service to our Country.
    Gary Korecky served and the Herminie Nike site in 1971 and later, in 1972, at Hardheim, Germany.
    Chris lives in Germany. If anyone remembers his dad, Gary, and would like to correspond with Chris, please contact me an I will forward his email address to you.

  13. james dallapiazza #


    THANK YOU FOR THE INFO I mustered out in mar 1956 when i left b battery 74th. i have been looking for some of the guys that were there and i can not find any but i will keep trying.you have a great site here and thanks again i will be checking this site if there is any info.i tried to google lt tommmy hawk and came up with nothing
    thanks again
    james dallapiazza

  14. Don Wellman #

    Jim Dallapiazza-
    I have researched my collection of Army documents of the early years of the 18th Artillery Group (Pittsburgh Air Defense) and have found the following information.

    —The 74th AAA Gun Bn (90 mm), began its defense of Pittsburgh on June 13, 1952, when it replaced the 102nd AAA Gun Bn, of the New York National Guard. Headquarters and Battery A of the 74th AAA was located at West View Park. Other batteries were located on McKnight Road (B-Btry) in Millvale, on Middle Road in Etna (C-Btry), and on Prison Farm Road in Blawnox (D-Btry), all north of Pittsburgh.
    —Early in 1955, the Pennsylvania Army National Guard 708th AAA Gun Bn (PARNG), took over the gun sites of the 74th AAA Gun Bn.
    —When the Ajax missile site (B-Btry 1st AAA Msl Bn) at nearby North Park became active in 1955, some of the personnel of B-Btry 74th AAA Gun Bn were assigned there for training on the Ajax missile. In September, 1956, the North Park site was redesignated as B-Btry 74th AAA Msl Bn.
    —B Btry 1st AAA Msl Bn eventually activated the missile site at Herminie in late 1957.
    —All Gun Bns were inactivated in October 1957.

    Confusing, I know, but I hope it matches in some way with your recollections of those years. As I have stated above, some of the 74th Gun Battalion personnel were transferred to B-1st AAA Msl Bn 1955-1956 timeframe. If you have any names from B-74th AAA Gun, please send them and I’ll check them against my 1955-56 B-1st rosters.
    Hope this helps a little.

    Best regards,

  15. Don Wellman #

    I also wish someone would do a website for Elrama! It is important that the story of the Army Nike Air Defense be documented. In fact, it would be great if we had a website for the entire Pittsburgh Cold War Air Defense.
    Best to you.

  16. jim dallapiazza #

    Don thank you for the response. i have tried to find out what happened to b battery 74th aaa 90mm gun bn. there is no history when it was a millvae (mcKnight rd). there is some info that it went to the national guard. it seems that we never existed. hopefully some one can help,THANK YOU for your service also. i will check this site fp any info and thanke for the response.

  17. Paul E Sojka #

    Served at the Elrama site in1966 and 1967 until I went for EOD training. Wish someone could do a site like yours for Elrama.

  18. Don Wellman #

    Hi, Jim.
    Sorry it took so long to respond.
    I know there were personnel reassignments to other Nike batteries when B-74th was deactivated. Len Snavely(Deceased 2010) is the only one that I have knowledge of as coming from B-74th. There probably were others.
    If you look on our website GALLERY , under Pre-missile photos, you will see pictures that Len sent for our website.
    Tommy C. Hawk shows up on the B-1st AAA roster for July 31, 1957. The August 31st roster shows him as CO of Battery A. I was not able to find him during my searches for Battery B personnel.
    As my research has been concentrated on Battery B personnel, I have no information for B-74th AAA.
    Hopefully, someone reading this blog will post information for you.
    Best of luck, and thank you for your service to our Country.

  19. Jim Dallapiazza #

    i would like to know if anyone was sent to your outfit from b battery 74th aaa when they were shut down i see lt tommy c. hawk was on your roster is there a way to contact him? i was with b battery 74th aaa from 1954 to 1956
    Jim Dallapiazza

  20. Frank Mellage #

    This is for Donnie Jones.

    I knew your dad well. He was very affable and friendly particularly to all us young Lieutenants. We all looked up to him.

    Thanks for planting the flag at the old Irwin site.

    If we have another re-union you should come and we can meet.

    All the best.

  21. Don Wellman #

    Just a note.
    Last Saturday, June 2nd, I went to Waco, Texas, where I attended the reunion for my old Texas National Guard Unit, the 143rd Inf Regt, 36th Inf Div (“T Patchers”). The reunion is a combination of WWII and Post War veterans. It was good to visit with my old friends, but especially a pleasure to see that Bob Johnson was there.
    Who is Bob Johnson?
    At the 2010 reunion, I had the priviledge of sitting across the table from Bob Johnson, an affable 90 something year old veteran of WWII. Bob, a Texas native, enlisted in the Army in November, 1940 and was assigned to the newly moblilized M Company of the 143rd, 36th Div. Bob and his Regiment were the 3rd wave to hit the beach under heavy fire, at Salerno (Paestum), Italy, in September, 1943. He and his unit were overrun by the Germans and captured a few days later. Bob spent 19 months as a POW, mostly at Stalag 3B, Furstenberg, Germany. Bob and thousands of POWs were liberated by Russian troops in April, 1945. From there, they had to make their way any way they could to the American lines.
    What struck me was the humbleness of this gentleman as he related the hardships he and his fellow POWs encountered on a daily basis and the miracle of their survival.
    Let’ never forget the sacrifices and loyalty of our Combat Veterans and POWs!
    I surely hope that Bob will be at our next reunion and I will be able to thank him once more.

  22. Don Wellman #

    Donnie, thank you for your comments and for the Flag at PI-36!

  23. donnie jones jr #

    mr mellage , just got read your note !! thanks for the mail. i just placed a new flag on pole at PI 36 irwin IFC for you guys .. it seems the soccer kids that play there are well educated about you all and the jobs you guys performed.. and you did know my pops i think… he went to ENT afb ,colo springs after 1970.
    It was nice to hear from you sir and thanks
    with respect and honor to you who served donnie jr

  24. donnie jones jr #

    i went to PI 36 (irwin)launch site this past week end. builders covered over missle launch area with dirt and are presently building homes on site.!!!!! :( It was not hard to find launch area since i have been there so much i know it like the back of my hand.
    they are presently building a home over top of what was the missle refueling area . i do not think they filled in the missle storage areas …they just covered them up. it rained last week and i can just make out a fine straight line in the dirt maybe fourty feet long where the elevator is for one of the storage sites :)
    boy are gonna be suprised when they fill up with water!!!! ifc is still across the highway intact and doing well with a new flag flying on the pole in honor of all you guys from a missle mans son!
    sincerly , donnie jones jr.

  25. Don Wellman #

    Hi, Missy. I hope all is well with you and your parents. Give them my best.

    Thank you for reminding us of the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” Day which is celebrated around the Country each year on March 30th. Many of our Nike veterans served during the Viet Nam era.
    I hope all veterans, Viet Nam and otherwise will take pause to remember and honor the veterans that gave so much. Thanks to you and the Parkersburg Veterans Museum for organizing an event of recognition for the Viet Nam veterans.
    Thanks for writing and also, thank you so much for the 2011 Reunion photos in our Gallery.

  26. Missy Gust #

    I met you this summer I’m Bill Cochran’s daughter I have found a couple of items for the Welcome Home Vietnam Vet day this posting is for the Parkersburg, WV area. Thanks

    As you may already know, the U.S. Senate has declared March 30th as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.” On March 30, 1973, all U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam under the terms of the Treaty of Paris and began to return home. For our Vietnam Vets, there were no welcome home parades or celebrations when they returned from that unpopular war. Instead, their homecoming was met with indifference and …even hostility.

    In keeping with the spirit of our nation, we, at the Veterans Museum, are organizing an event in Parkersburg City Park on March 31, 2012 at 10:00am in support of our Vietnam Veterans and this national recognition day.

    By setting March 30th aside to focus on our Vietnam Veterans, we can show our unified appreciation of the service and sacrifices they made on our behalf. On Saturday March 31st 2012 the museum will hold a ceremony to honor Vietnam Veterans at the “Veterans Tribute, Stepping Stones of Honor” brick memorial in Parkersburg’s City Park.

  27. Don Wellman #

    Hi, Gary.
    It was great to meet a fellow Nike man, even out at sea, of all places!!!
    I think the patch you are wanting is the ARADCOM patch. Please write me at dfwellman@sbcglobal.net and if it is, I have an extra one you can have.
    I hope all is well down there in Hempstead! Look me up if you get to Dallas.
    Thanks for writing.

  28. Gary V. Mosmeyer #

    Don, sorry I have taken so long to respond. You and I met on a cruise out of Galveston, Texas. I was wearing the AADA cap. I have been for years, been searching for a nike hercules missile patch. I have seen them in the past but for the life of me, can’t seem to locate one anywhere. It is triangular with a nike missile and I believe the moon on it. If you have any idea of where I can purchase one, would you please relay the info to me. I was 23G20 mechanic and a spec.5 at the missile park at Ft. Bliss and McGregor range from 1965-1966. I honestly believe the Nike Hercules Improved missile system was the best ever. Thanks, Gary

  29. John Roth #

    Chanook helicopters were used to fly out the nukes when the sites were closed. Those things created a lot of property damage from shingles to awnings on nearby houses. I left for Ft. Bliss to cross train to Hawk then to Homestead AFB. I was gone for the final closure. I finally ended in Germany back to Nike Hercs. I thought guard duty was boring at the Pa. site but worse in Germany with the 40 ft. guard towers. After the army , national guard and AF reserve (911th at Pittsburgh) and a civilian career as a police officer I have managed to boomerang myself back to guard duty as a DoD police officer at a remote navy base.

  30. Don Wellman #

    Yes, John, B Battery had a “mascot” in the IFC Area for a number of its early years. Take a look at Jim Plassio and Bob Sheely’s photos in our website Gallery. He was just a yearling buck when he arrived in 1958. He spent a lot of time in our barracks and like a goat, he would eat just about anything. As he aged he became aggressive, especially during the rut! We had to rope him and saw off his antlers once. I understand he eventually jumped the fence an never came back!

  31. John Roth #

    Did B battery have a mascot. At Elrama I believe we were D battery I was shipped out as soon as the site lost its mission. A small scruffy white and black dog called Mort which I believe was missing a leg lived at the lchr. area. I remember the dog falling into the pit when the missile doors began opening. I believe the dog probably slid half way due to doors opening slowly lessening the impact of the fall. After that we made sure the dog was with us or locked out of the sections ( exc. area ) when we were in the pits. I wonder what happened to that dog. I was 20 when I left and will soon be 60. When I stopped at the site nearly 20 years ago and toured what was left I spoke with a young reservist who thought the site was abandoned during WW2 and had no idea what was what. I felt really old then but was only 40. JTR

  32. Don Wellman #

    Thanks for writing, John Roth.
    Thank you for your service at the Elrama Nike Site in the Pittsburgh Air Defense.
    As you can see, we have had two Reunions. We have not scheduled any further Reunions, but of course anything can change.
    This website is our focal point for continued communication with our Nike veterans. Please take a look at it occasionally as we periodically make updates.
    If you like please contact me at dfwellman@sbcglobal.net for further information.
    Best to you.

  33. John Roth #

    I was stationed at Nike site at Elrama , Pa. , not far from Herminie in 1973. I also know Joe Arthur who was a MP in Herminie around 69 or 70. I have revisited the site at Elrama about 15 or so years ago. It was Army reserve or NG. I would like to know about your reunions or other functions,

  34. Don Wellman #

    Thanks for writing, “Dunny”!
    Good to hear from you.

  35. Warren W Dunn #

    I was a generator operator in the “high power” unit on the hill. I was there from Aug 68 – Feb 69 before being sent to Viet Nam. I remember going to Herminie for “Kessler’s and Rock” on a day off, day on basis. (bombs away!)Going to “little Washington” for a weekend and even to Cleveland for a fine visit. I even drove Cap. Erwin to HQ (somewhere) for a day. All this was in the late “60′s”; what a mad time it was for all of us serving. “…we have heard the chimes at midnight Master Shallow, we have heard the chimes.”

  36. Jerry Scott #

    I served at the site from 1973 qnd was there for the closing. I have a lot of great memories from there and still remember the great guys who were there.

  37. Frank Mellage #

    This is for Donald Jones.

    I was a young 1LT at Herminie — Launcher Platoon Leader from 1968-70. I remember a Major Jones at Battalion headquarters in Irwin. Don’t know if that was your dad or not with Jones being such a common name. The Major Jones I knew worked for a LTC Gray. Who was our Battalion Commander at the time.

    Frank Mellage

  38. Don Wellman #

    Thank you for sharing your memories of the Irwin Nike Site with us, Donald, and thank you for your comment about the Plaque. The Herminie Launcher Site is in great shape. IFC was vandalyzed over many years before the present owner bought it. During our Reunions, it is very meaningful for us old veterans to be able to walk around on the ground we tread on 40 or 50 years ago. We are grateful to the owners of both the IFC and LCA for their hospitality.

  39. Donald L. Jones jr. #

    My dad Lt. Col. Donald L. Jones Sr. Ret.Served at irwin and Oakdale he would love the plaque!!! Itis awesome. I never was at hermanie as a kid but all the sites looked the same! I Wish we could save irwin it is the Most intact site in the pittsburgh complex. When i miss my pop, I go there to the IFC and just remember !!! Even the original flag pole is still up and with flag !! I try to keep it that way for you guys.! The launch site across the turnpike is 75 % intact also ! Thanks Guys for taking care of us in the 50s and 60s !! You kept me From being scared of invasions as a kid !! Our nikes were bad ass

  40. brandon danser #

    Hey,very cool site……its a shame one of the sites in the burgh isn’t restored,i served many years in the national guard on top of the old PI-43 site in elrama pa!! me and daughter still go down and walk around the launcher site couple times a year!! cheers!!!

  41. Don Wellman #

    Thanks for writing, Conrad.
    I’m glad you and your son, Terrance, came to the Reunion. It was good to meet the both of you.

  42. Conrad L Barrick #

    Finily got my computer working. I got the crests from you,and they were the
    right ones.
    My son and I had a good time at the reunion. It brought back many memories,
    too bad many from the time I served didn’t attend.
    I met and married my wife there. She was from Greensburg, and I tried to find
    some of our relations,but most of them moved or had died.
    We enjoyed the CD and had a good time remembering our time there.
    Hope to see you if we have another reunion.

    Conrad L Barrick
    1965 – 1967

  43. Don Wellman #

    I just received notice from Mary Stevens of the death of Tom on October 1 in Greeley, Colorado. Tom Stevens was one of my close friends at the Herminie Nike Site. He was a collegiate tennis champion and travelled to play in many of the Army regional tournaments while stationed in the Army. Among my fond memories are the many tackle football games we played in the snow up on the “Hill”. I also remember the old raggedy car we bought for a couple hundred bucks in 1958. I donated my half to him when I got married in April 1959. Photos of Tom can be found in the Gallery link of this website under my name. Tom was a good guy!
    Don Wellman

  44. Don Wellman #

    Bob Good gave me notice of the passing of Bill Seefeld on October 13th. Bill was First Sergeant at the Herminie Nike Site 1968-1969. He retired from the Army in 1969. Bill attended the 2008 Nike Reunion.
    His obituary may be found at the link below, under the Westmoreland County listing.



  45. Don Wellman #

    I received notice of Jim Eicher’s passing just prior to the 2011 Herminie Reunion. He passed on August 17, 2011.
    Many of you will remember SFC Eicher. He served two tours at the Herminie Nike Site, 1957-1960 and 1966-1968. He retired from the Army in 1968, while serving at Herminie. He lived in Greensburg after retiring from the Army. We’re thankful for his service to our Country.

  46. Don Wellman #

    Hi, Curtis and Jackie.
    Thank you so much for writing.
    Jackie, I was so sad to hear of Don’s passing. I know he enjoyed our Reunion in 2008.
    Curtis, we appreciate your kind and thoughtful words. We are thankful for young men like you and for your service to our Country.
    God Bless our Country, its Military, its Veterans and all their families.

  47. Curtis D. Behm and Jackie Behm #

    I am the son of Donald R. Behm, Spec 4, who served at the site, and I am sitting here with my mother looking at the wonderful plaque. I am an Iraqi War veteran who served in the infantry and I just wanted to let you know that what you guys did during the cold war was so very important and the importance is not lost on me despite how it seems so many have forgotten how dangerous the cold war really was.

    My mother and I thank those who took the time to put all this together with heartfelt appreciation.

    Thank You

  48. Don Wellman #

    Glad you found us, Conrad!
    I will be emailing you the 2011 Reunion Invitation Package. Not too late to sign up.

  49. Conrad L Barrick #

    I served at B Battery from 1965 to 1967. I was supprised to find this site.
    Where in Greensburg it the reunion.

  50. Don Wellman #

    To All-
    Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!!!

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