NIKE AJAX AND HERCULES
ORDNANCE SUPPORT UNIT
SHORT, TALL STORIES
Air Defense Artillery
Submitted by: SFC Ret. J. "Jake the Snake" Jegelewicz
After seeing Charlies pictures of the Surface to Surface shots on your site I've got to tell ya some more of the things that happened in that test program. First of all, I was the SFC that set that target and site for that camera that took those pictures, and despite orders only backed off about a mile to watch that sucker come in. You never see it coming--all you see is the contrail from the launch and motor burn. The ground explosion happens before you hear the sound of the missile coming in. I set at least ten targets on McGregor and White Sands for those tests and even at 100 mi. on White Sands the miss distance was only 17 yards from surveyed impact point.
But to get back to the WHOLE STORY_____
We had one shot of the test on McGregor that was only about 35 mi. range without a warhead. After launch the RSO decided that the missile looked like it was gonna go off range so he decided to burst the missile. That is when we found an inherant FLAW with the Surface to Surface mission that had been there all the time. When the RSO hit the BURST switch, the missile did just as it was supposed to do in a Surface to Surface mission. At Burst Command from the computer---the missile cut off guidance and rolled on to target and continued till impact, and landed 100 yards from a dynamite shack in Cloudcroft. Luckily there was no warhead in the missile or dynamite in the shack!!!!! And you can believe all the Western Electric Tech Reps there caught hell from the town of Cloudcroft,needless to say what Range Command and Ft. Bliss had to put up with!
Just another one of those stories from the great times spent in the Nike Air Defense Systems---which in my opinion is still one of the best Systems ever designed. I spent twenty years in Nike from 59 to 79 as a 16C and 24Q--and it was a great career and I have great memories and met some of the finest people I could ever hope to meet.
SFC Ret. J."Jake the Snake" Jegelewicz
PS: You have a great site---KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK