Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Launching of Nike Hercules missileThe Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was a significant part of 20th century history that had worldwide repercussions. Many consider the Cold War as lasting from March 5, 1946 when Winston Churchill made his famous speech about the descent of “an iron curtain” to December 24, 1991 when the Soviet Union officially dissolved. In 2014, 23 years after the end of the Cold War, Alaskans wanted to recognize this anniversary and celebrate the Alaskan part of the story. Alaska’s location made it a key strategic player in many elements of what happened during the Cold War, both secret and public. Missile sites and radar stations were established around the state to help protect American citizens. For security reasons, much of what happened during the Cold War in Alaska was shrouded in secrecy. Enough time has now passed that security clearances have been lifted, top secret documents have been opened to the public, and the military and associated civilian participants are now comfortable talking about their activities.

Map of Anchorage Nike Missile SitesThis project includes the personal stories of veterans who worked at Nike Missile Sites in Alaska, along with others talking about Alaska's role in the Cold War in general. The interviews were conducted at the conference "A Cold War, 2014 Alaska Conference and Nike Veterans Reunion" held in Anchorage, Alaska in September 2014. These stories tell us about Alaska's role in the Cold War and impacts on Alaska and Alaskans, but also opens doors to understanding what life was like at remote missile sites, the pressures that young soldiers were under, and the impact of the 1964 Earthquake on nuclear missiles in Alaska.Map of Fairbanks Nike Missile Sites

People

Roger Babler

Roger Babler was born in Monticello Wisconsin. He graduated high school in 1959 and then completed two years training as an electronic technican at a technical school. He ran a small TV/radio repair shop as well as working at General Motors. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1964 and was sent to Alaska to serve at the Site Tare (A Battery A/2/562) Nike Missile Site outside of Fairbanks. He arrived on the same day as Ed Hansen. Roger worked on the plotting boards for the high power... Read More

Jim Biles

Jim Biles was born in Florida in 1944 and currently lives in the Mojave Desert in southern California. His father was an Air Force Colonel. Jim entered the U.S. Army in 1962 when he was 17 years old via the ROTC Program at California State Polytechnic College in San Luis Obispo, California. He graduated in 1967 with a bachelors' degree in business administration. He was then commissioned in the Air Defense Artillery and attended their Officer Basic Course at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was... Read More

Bob Bishop

Bob Bishop was born in San Francisco, California in 1944 and grew up in San Carlos, California. He joined the U.S. Army at age 18 after graduating from St. Francis High School in Mountain View, California. After basic training at Fort Ord, California he attended Military Police School in Fort Gordon, Georgia. Bob came to Alaska in December 1963 to work as a MP (Military Police) at the Site Tare (A Battery A/2/562) Nike Missile Site on the bluff overlooking Moose Creek, just outside of... Read More

Joe Griffith

Joe Griffith grew up in Oklahoma. In 1960, he entered the U.S. Air Force Academy and spent the next four years there. He then went into pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. He served three tours in Vietnam and worked at the Pentagon in readiness assessment. In 1982, Joe came to Alaska to serve as Commander of the Air Force's 21st Wing, which had just failed an operational readiness inspection. Joe retired from the Air Force in 1984, but has continued to reside in Alaska.

Ed Hansen

Ed Hansen is from Beloit, Wisconsin. He graduated from South Beloit High School and then attended Northern Illinois University. He was drafted into the Army in 1964 and was sent to Alaska to serve at the Nike Missile Site Tare (A Battery A/2/562) outside of Fairbanks. He arrived the same day as Roger Babler. Ed was responsible for the target tracking radars. When their military service ended in... Read More

Sergei Khrushchev Sergei Khrushchev

Dr. Sergei N. Khrushchev is the son of Nikita Khrushchev who was the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) of the Soviet Union from 1957-1964. Dr. Sergei Khrushchev has his Soviet doctoral degree from the Ukrainian Academy of Science, a Ph.D. from the Moscow Technical University, and a master’s degree with distinction from the Moscow Electric Power Institute. From 1958-1968, he participated in the Soviet missile and space program, including work on cruise missiles for... Read More

Jerald Peet

Jerry Peet grew up in Alden, Iowa. After completing high school in 1966, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After basic training he was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas for maintenance training on Nike missiles. He was sent to Alaska and stationed at Site Tare Nike Missile Site (A Battery A/2/562) near Fairbanks. He was responsible for the test systems on the missile guidance system. After Jerry left the Army, he went back to school for electronics to learn to work on TV and radios. After... Read More

Robert "Bob" Raichle

Robert "Bob" Raichle was born and raised in Westfield, New Jersey, just outside of New York City. He atttended Purdue University in Indiana, where he earned a degree in business and participated in the Army ROTC program. He graduated in 1965 as a comissioned second lieutenant in the US Army.  In the spring of 1966, he was assigned to the Air Defense School in Fort Lewis, Texas and after three months obtained certification to work at a Nike missile site. From 1966 to 1968, Bob was stationed... Read More

Howard Rice

Howard was born in Ada, Oklahoma. His father served in the military so the family moved around a lot during Howard's childhood. By the time Howard was a senior in high school, his father had become professor of Military Science and Tactics for the ROTC program at West Texas University so Howard graduated from high school in Abilene, Texas. This is where he met his wife, Ruth. They married in September, 1957. Howard attended the University of Oklahoma and worked as a student engineer for a... Read More

Ruth Rice

Ruth Rice is originally from Texas. Her father worked for a small retail automotive company and was transferred about every two years so she spent her childhood moving from town to town in west Texas. In 1942, when she was a teenager, her family was living in Abilene, Texas which is where she met Howard Rice. She and Howard married in September, 1957. Howard joined the U.S. Army and Ruth led the life of an Army wife, including time in Anchorage, Alaska while Howard worked at the Site Summit... Read More

Dorothy Roggeveen

Dorothy Roggeveen was born in 1929 in Detroit, Michigan. In 1948, at age 19, she joined the Women's Army Corps and worked in their dental lab. In 1951, she went to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and learned the administrative side of construction contracting. This is where she met her husband, Adrian Roggeveen of the Netherlands, who was an engineer specializing in bridge building. They married and moved to Okinawa, Japan and for the next 18 years worked on construction projects... Read More

Mead Treadwell

Louis Mead Treadwell II was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1956. After earning a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University, he took an internship with Walter Hickel's campaign for governor of Alaska. This began his long political career in Alaska. Treadwell is a member of the Republican Party and served as the 11th Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from 2010 to 2014 during the administration of Governor Sean Parnell. In 2006, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as... Read More

Robert Wallace

Robert (Bob) Wallace grew up in Kansas and earned his Bachelor’s degree in History from Ottawa (Kansas) University in 1966 and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas in 1968. He served in the U.S. Army from 1968-1970, led long-range reconnaissance patrol teams of Company E, 75th Rangers in Vietnam and was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, two Bronze Stars with “V,” and three Air Medals. In 1970, Bob moved to Washington, D.C., and served as an... Read More

George Wallot

George Wallot was born in 1942 and grew up in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1962 after studying engineering for two years at Ohio State University. Upon joining the Army, he applied his interest in electronics and attended a twelve-week course in electronics entry with a radar focus at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He then did six more months of training on the Nike Hercules missile tracking radar and associated test equipment at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. He... Read More

Themes

1964 Earthquake, Alaska Cold War Conference, Bombs, Changes in Technology, Cold War, Detection System, Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, Dog Training, Echelon Maintenance, Electronics, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fire Control Van, Friendship Flight, Guard, Integrated Fire Control (IFC), Intelligence, Launch Site, Marine Corps, Military, Missile, Missile Maintenance, Nike Ajax Missile, Nike Hercules Missile, Nike Missile Site, Nike Missile Site Reunion, Nuclear Issues, Nuclear Missiles, Ordnance, Pacific Air Forces, Plotting Board, Radar, Readiness Assessment, Rocket Booster, Russian Airplane, Russians, Satellites, Security, Sentry Dogs, Soviet-American Relations, Space Station, Spies, Stress, Target Tracking Radar, Telephone Surveillance, Training, US Air Force, Vacuum Tubes, Veteran, War Plans, Warrant Officer, Weapons Systems, White Alice Communication System, World War II