Jerry Peet was interviewed on September 3, 2014 by Leslie McCartney and Karen Brewster at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage Alaska. Jerry's wife Phyllis, Ed Hansen, and Roger Babler also were present during the interview. At the time of the interview, Jerry was attending the conference "A Cold War, 2014 Alaska Conference and Nike Veterans Reunion" held in Anchorage, Alaska on September 4 and 5, 2014. In his interview, Jerry talks about being drafted, his training on Nike missile systems, coming to Alaska in 1967, a typical day working at the Site Tare Fairbanks (A Battery A/2/562) Nike Missile Site and experiencing the 1967 Fairbanks flood. He also talks about his career in medical electronics, Nike veteran reunions and reflections on his time in the Army and in Alaska.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Cold War in Alaska
Date of Interview: Sep 3, 2014
Narrator(s): Jerald Peet
Interviewer(s): Leslie McCartney, Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Sue Beck
People Present: Ed Hansen, Roger Babler, Phyllis Peet
After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.
Typical day on the job at Nike missile site
Training and assignment to Alaska
Safety procedures and maintenance
Missiles on the launch site and hot versus cold status
Test launch and effect of cold weather
Types of nuclear warheads
Chain of command for launching a missile
Job responsibilities and promotions
Work schedule and job secrecy
1967 Fairbanks flood
Cold weather training
Reflections on experience in Alaska and impact on rest of life
Vacuum tubes and missile parts
Nike Site reunions and honoring military service
Dealing with stress
Appreciation for the work done
Number of missiles at a Nike site
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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Thank you, Jerry, for agreeing to be interviewed today. And today is September 3, 2014. And again Karen Brewster is here and Leslie McCartney and, Jerry, can you state your full name. I don’t know your last name.
JERRY PEET: My name is Gerald Peet. I go by Jerry.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Okay. Well, thank you very much. And of course Ed and Roger are still in the room, too. And Jerry’s wife --
PHYLLIS PEET: Phyllis.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Phyllis. Thank you. So we’ll start again just with some loose biographical information, Jerry, about where you’re from and how you came to be in the military.
JERRY PEET: Okay, I grew up around Popejoy in Alden, Iowa. Attended Alden school, graduated from Alden High School, and worked for summer at a packing plant and was drafted. Went down to Fort Bliss, Texas -- or to Fort Wainwright, Missouri for basic training, and then was told that I would probably be going into radio repair, at that time, and be a radio operator.
And when it came time to leave Fort Leonard Wood my orders weren’t there, so I sat at Fort Leonard Wood for about two weeks waiting for orders. When they finally came down, they sent me down to Fort Bliss, Texas for training on the Nike missiles.
And I went into the program as a maintenance -- It was actually a non-com position.
KAREN BREWSTER: That’s non-commissioned?
JERRY PEET: Non-commissioned officer position. I was responsible -- the training there was dealing with the missiles themselves and the launching equipment.
So I was maintaining launching equipment, assembling it, maintaining and assembling the missiles and warheads to the missiles, etc.
So that was primarily the training that I got down there.
KAREN BREWSTER: And what year did you -- were you drafted and you went into this training?
JERRY PEET: I was drafted in 1966 -- May of 1966. And I ended up down at Fort Bliss that fall.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Did you have radio experience before? Why did they wanna -- ?
JERRY PEET: I had absolutely no experience with radio or anything.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So how did they -- why did they choose you for that?
JERRY PEET: Just the battery of tests that you take. When you go into basic training they pretty well isolate, you know, what kind of a knowledge background you’ve got, what you’re capable of picking up, I guess, And determine -- use that to determine where they’re going to stick you, where the needs are.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So unlike Roger and Ed who we spoke to, who slowly found out that these were nuclear missiles, you must have known right off the bat.
JERRY PEET: Our training down at Fort Bliss, we were informed that they were -- some of the missiles were nuclear missiles.
How that affected me, I can’t say that it really did at that time. I was a little naïve about it at that point, so didn’t think much about it.
KAREN BREWSTER: How old were you at that point?
JERRY PEET: I was nineteen or -- no, it’d be twenty at that time.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So you didn’t really understand the gravity of --
JERRY PEET: Not really. All I knew was that, you know, I was in for two years. I had a job that I had to do. I’ll do the job. And that’s about as far as I thought about it.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Didn’t think about the danger? JERRY PEET: Didn’t think about it at all. Nope.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So take us through one of your regular days.
JERRY PEET: Well, after I was -- got up to Alaska, up to Fairbanks, and got out on the missile site, my typical day as these guys said, you had formation, cleaned the barracks. Each group had certain areas that they were responsible for, so you took care of those areas.
And then after formation, then we went down, climbed on the deuce and a half, went down to the launching area, which is about two, two and a half miles down the valley from the fire control area where our barracks were.
We went into the -- my duties were in the assembly building, primarily. Went in. Depending on what we were doing that day -- it would vary greatly, because when I first got there my responsibility was to learn the -- they had a test out there that they used to check the missiles with -- the guidance systems on the missiles.
And I was responsible for learning that test system.
We had learned a little bit in school, but not totally, so I had to relearn that system.
And once we relearned that system, then on our day-to-day basis as we would bring a missile in -- or ordnance would bring a missile to the site, we would take it into the assembly building and we would pull it out of the crates.
Actually assemble the missile without the warhead and without the booster.
So we’d put the missile together. We would take this RF test set and actually test the missile guidance system. Make sure that the guidance system worked properly, that the elevons on the missiles responded correctly, and that our response would come back from the missile.
So basically what we were doing was checking the missile to make sure that it would talk to the fire control radar or the fire control systems, and respond to them, and then send signals back to them so that they would communicate back and forth.
After we assembled the missile, then we would take it to what they called the warhead building.
And at that point, we would assemble the warhead onto the missile. It was actually -- the guidance system was the tip of the missile, then you had a warhead, and then the rest of the missile -- the motor, the avions and so on were behind that.
So we actually separated the two sections that we had already put together, put the warhead in, fastened everything together, and connected all the wiring.
That was when things started gettin’ hairy for me.
Because safety was the first thing that they stressed on everything.
The rocket motor was also put in in the warhead building, because of high explosives in the rocket motor. So it was actually inserted into the missile and put together in there.
Once that was all put together then the missile itself was transported down to the -- what we called the section.
We had two sections in the launching area. Went down to the section, and was put onto a launcher where it was also attached to the booster.
Once it was on the launcher and fastened to the frame and everything, everything was checked out again. And then it was put into the section for storage and for use later on.
So that was a typical scenario of what went on down there. Now day-to-day -- I didn’t assemble a missile every day. We didn’t have to. They didn’t have that many missiles.
But periodically, the missiles had to be pulled apart, brought back, disassembled, and warheads removed. The rocket motors were removed and the missile itself went back to the assembly building to be thoroughly checked over again to make sure that everything was still functioning properly.
And at that time the ordnance people would come in and do tests on the motor and on the warhead to make sure that there were not any cracks in the housing on the motor or the warhead, which would explode prematurely when the missile was launched.
So that was kind of what I did.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Well, that leads to a lot of questions. JERRY PEET: Yes.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: First of all, how did the missiles get to Fairbanks?
JERRY PEET: I can’t really tell you that. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Okay.
JERRY PEET: Because all I know is we saw ‘em come in from ordnance from Fort Wainwright.
They’d truck ‘em in with a armed escort, of course, and bring ‘em to the site. And once they were at the site then we took possession and assembled and so on.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: And I guess the same question for, you know, how did the warheads get there.
JERRY PEET: Right. The same way. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Same way. JERRY PEET: Right.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So I was just curious when you were saying about -- what are the boosters, what powers the boosters? What’s in there?
JERRY PEET: It’s high explosives. It’s a solid rocket fuel that they used in the boosters.
There were actually four cylinders that were fastened together in a square, so we had actually four rocket loaders on the booster.
When the missile was fired, the booster -- it would fire the booster -- the booster would push the missile up. When it reached its proper elevation, the booster would separate and the rocket motor on the missile itself was then activated and go on down range. So that’s basically what we were dealing with.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So how often would you then take these missiles apart to check everything?
JERRY PEET: They were not taken apart. I think every couple of years or so they had to be tested. I’m not sure of the exact sequence, but we did several while I was there.
And like I said, I was there a little over a year also.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, that was my ques -- So when did you go to Fairbanks?
JERRY PEET: I went in -- arrived in Fairbanks in March of 1967 and left in April of ’68.
KAREN BREWSTER: So Ed and Roger had talked about they had this training at Fort Bliss or wherever, and then they got to Battery A and like -- or A battery -- and it was not quite what they had been trained in. What was your experience with that?
JERRY PEET: My experience was that the training that I got -- had in Fort Bliss -- was pretty much what I was doing when I got to Fairbanks to the missile site, to A Battery. So it was pretty -- pretty much the same training.
My situation -- I stepped into a E-6 position when I came in and I was a private E-1 when I got there.
So my problem wasn’t so much that, you know, I was dealing with training. My problem was that I was a grunt soldier coming into a non-com position.
And needless to say that caused some -- a little bit of stress. Some of the other guys didn’t appreciate that.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: And why did that happen?
JERRY PEET: They needed somebody in that position. They were short on assembly people and -- all over the country. It wasn’t just Alaska.
But they were short on assembly people, people who would qualify to be able to work and actually assemble the missiles and be responsible for that.
So that was where I had a problem. Because, like these guys, I was drafted. I did not like authority, as well.
And here I am in a position where I have to be the authority, and I didn’t like it.
KAREN BREWSTER: And did guys under you give you trouble?
JERRY PEET: No, not really. When I first got there they stuck me in the -- in one end of the barracks. Of course, I came in in the middle of the night, so I was put into the bay area, I guess they called it, where all of the low-ranking men were bunking.
I was put in with them. The next night, after I had checked in with the first officer -- or first sergeant, they moved me to a non-commissioned room, and some of the guys didn’t appreciate that. They didn’t think that was fair. So, caused a little stigma there.
Most of the guys that I became acquainted with right away were the guys that worked in the sections.
Because even though I was in assembly, we used section people to help with the assembly and so on.
Because once they got down in the sections then they took over the maintenance of those missiles as far as the day-to-day checks and so on, on the missiles.
KAREN BREWSTER: So it helped that they knew how they were put together.
JERRY PEET: Right. Exactly. So, as far as other things I did, we were responsible for -- of course, when we had hot status we had to -- the position I was in was as a fire control officer position.
If there wasn’t an officer on site in the launching area, that was my responsibility -- it was to become the launching control officer.
So when we had drills, then I was the one that had to be in charge of the launching area. Even though I was a PF -- or a private, I had E-6 sergeants reporting to me from the sections.
And that’s kind of an awkward situation to be in. So it was not very fun at times.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Can I just go back to what you were saying about the safety and when things got really hairy putting things together.
So how did that work? Was there like a two system check where, you know, before you put that wire in there someone’s gonna say, yes, that’s where it should go?
JERRY PEET: Before we connected any wire on a missile, we actually took a volt meter and checked the pin continuity, and checked the continuity between every pin on that connector before we connected it.
If it didn’t give us the correct reading, it was not connected. And we had to go back and find out why that reading was not right.
And I don’t think we ever found any that weren’t right, so we didn’t have to ever actually send a warhead or a rocket motor or anything back to ordnance to be further checked.
KAREN BREWSTER: It sounds pretty scary.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: It must be scary -- and stressful to me.
JERRY PEET: Yeah. Right. It’s just that, you know, we had the procedure down. You checked every single wire on that missile, every time you connected something.
KAREN BREWSTER: So did you find it scary?
JERRY PEET: At times it was. The thing that we were really careful about was -- you’re using wrenches to tighten bolts on the missile, screwdrivers, etc.
And we had a procedure. Any time you were using a wrench -- and it was a rule, and if you got caught breaking it, it was major consequences.
You never push your wrench. You always pulled a wrench.
And the reason for that was that if you’re pushing a wrench and that wrench slips off the bolt and hits the missile, there’s the possibility of a spark. And we’ve got high explosives here.
Sparks and high explosives don’t mix. So you always pulled it. If you pulled it and it slipped off, you had control.
I mean, you’d stop right there. Whereas if you’re pushing -- you know, slips, you’re gonna hit something. So that was a major concern.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So there was high -- really tight procedures for handling and assembling?
JERRY PEET: Right. In the launching area there was never a person working on a missile by themselves. Okay? There was always two men. That was a rule.
Any time that you were in an area where the missile was or where the warhead was or the rocket motors were, you always had two men there.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: When you were actually assembling them, how many people worked on them at the same time?
JERRY PEET: There was a crew of probably six or seven men working on it. It varied from time to time because sometimes we could use extra help and we did.
We had a forklift operator that lifted the crates for the motor and the warhead, brought those into the assembly building.
We had the person -- or the sergeant that was in charge and usually there was a warrant officer there that was in charge of the operation. And then there were the people doing the work.
I was the primary person doing the attaching, and then we had two or three other people that were doing some of the other things. Connecting and so on. I usually didn’t -- I’d do most of the testing.
And the way we did that, we would go into the manual. We had a manual there, and the person reading the manual would call off a wire number -- or a pin number on the wire -- usually two pin numbers, and we’d call off what we were reading on those pin numbers.
And he would give us a check or a no to determine whether that was correct or not, just for safety reasons. So --
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Then out in the launch site itself, did you have an assembly of anything out there?
JERRY PEET: Once the missile was on the launcher, okay, most of the maintenance done there was done by the section hands. There was a sergeant down there that was in charge of each section.
And then he had a crew of probably fifteen or twenty men, and it varied from day to day who it was. They weren’t all in the section at the same time. But they did the routine maint -- day-to-day checking.
They would pull hatches off missiles, have to check certain things.
A lot of those tests I’d have to go down to the sections and verify that they were done properly. Same type thing where we would check connectors and so on, and we’d do that on a routine basis.
When we did simulations, which we did quite often, we’d go in, we’d put -- first of all a warhead was never -- the wiring for the warhead to fire the warhead was never connected on a missile unless it was being readied to fire.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So unless you were under a hot time?
JERRY PEET: We would have to be under hot status. And only when we were told that that missile was prepared -- to be prepared for firing would we connect that.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: And how long would that take you to prepare? JERRY PEET: Just a couple of minutes.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: That fast.
JERRY PEET: Yeah. You’d pull a panel off. You would check the pins on the wires. Connect the wires. Put the panel back on. And then you’d get an indicator on your test panel.
There was a test panel in the section itself, and, of course, you had a series of lights and switches and everything had to be checked and everything.
And you’d get an indication that the warhead was armed. That you knew that it was ready. So then at that point, then the missile was raised on the launcher and prepared to fire.
The personnel would go back into the section. The doors were closed, in the van -- launching control van -- we would be in there.
We’d have an indicator there that the missile was hot and ready to be fired.
And then we’d get commands from fire control as to elevation, azimuth, and range. And we’d have to send those from the launching control trailer to the section hands.
They would set those parameters in. When we verified that those parameters were set in the launching control trailer we notified fire control -- the missile is hot, azimuth and everything is in -- has been set, we’re ready to fire.
And then we wait for command to fire. We had a switch there that when we received the command to fire then we flipped the switch to fire that missile.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: And then, if you had to -- I don’t know what the right word is -- when you went from hot back to normal, then you had to unconnect all the wiring for the warhead?
JERRY PEET: Right. The missile would be lowered. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Right.
JERRY PEET: First thing that would happen would be the panel would be pulled off. Those wires would be disconnected, and the rocket motor would be disconnected, so that there would be no accidental firing.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Right.
JERRY PEET: Panels were put back on. The missile was put back into the section.
And if it was one that was housed on the -- kept on the launcher, then it stayed on the launcher. If it was a missile that was -- we had rails than ran between the launchers also.
If it was a missile that was kept on the rail, then it would be moved to its position for storage.
KAREN BREWSTER: So you kept some missiles on the launcher at all times?
JERRY PEET: There was a missile on every launcher at all times.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: But not activated unless you were under the hot situation.
JERRY PEET: Right. Now when we did simulations, we had a dummy plug that we plugged into the missile and it would give us the simulation that the missile was hot.
And we would go ahead and hook that up, go through the same scenario as if we were going to fire the missile.
And then we’d raise the missile. Fire control then would lock onto the missile and make sure that they could control it. They were getting response from the missile. And then we’d simulate a fire and that’d be it.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Did you actually ever send up missiles?
JERRY PEET: Every year we had to launch one. We went over to B Battery when I was there.
We actually assembled the missile. Took it out of the boxes, assembled it, raised it, and unfortunately the day that we were there it was snowing like crazy.
And we raised the missile. After the assembly crew was done then everyone that was not needed for firing the missile in the launching area was removed from the launching area and went up to the fire control area.
And they had bleachers set up where we could watch the launch.
What we saw when they launched the missile was -- we heard this roar and we saw the snow all of a sudden clear, and we saw the tail end of some fire coming down as this missile went up. And that’s all we saw.
And the snow closed in, and we hear this missile going down range. So that was the gist of what we saw.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Did the cold affect the launch pads at all or the launch equipment?
JERRY PEET: Yeah. It did. It did. We had to constantly check that equipment because of the cold. Occasionally, we had to replace parts on the launchers.
The missiles themselves were housed in a heated -- the sections were heated, so they weren’t affected as much.
But the launchers themselves were, because they were actually outside.
KAREN BREWSTER: But you did say you had some missiles on those launchers.
JERRY PEET: Well, they were on a rail that the launcher moved out on. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I see. JERRY PEET: Okay.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So, the launcher would be in a building on a rail? JERRY PEET: The launcher’s in a building on the rail. It moved out. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.
JERRY PEET: Okay? But you had to make sure that that track that it moved on was clear of all the snow and ice and everything that came up. So it was a constant battle to make sure that was clear and make sure that that launcher was gonna function properly.
Like I said, there was rails running between the launchers also, on the outside as well as on the inside of the section, so those rails had to be maintained, as well.
Because if we had to bring a missile out and move it over and then go back in and pull another missile out -- for instance, if we had a high explosive missile on the launcher and we needed to -- or we were instructed to put a nuclear missile, whether low or high-powered on that launcher, then we had to get that high-explosive round off the launcher.
And the way we did that, we moved it out, moved that to the side of the launcher on the rails outside, took the launcher back in, and they brought that nuclear missile onto the launcher, brought it out, moved it off, moved the high-explosive onto the launcher, put it in, moved it to the side, brought the launcher back out, put the nuclear round on the launcher, and then went through our procedure.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: What machine is moving this around, or was this all mechanical?
JERRY PEET: It’s -- the launchers themselves had -- I’m not sure whether it was a cable that pulled ‘em out, or whether it was actual -- I think it was a cable if I remember right -- that actually pulled the launcher out.
It’s a cable system that went out and around and back. So they were actually pulled out and pulled back in. But they were electric motors that actually moved ‘em.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So no fear of hopefully sparks or anything like that. There was no gas engines around.
JERRY PEET: No, no, no, no.
KAREN BREWSTER: I think the cold would be an effect on you guys -- you know, as you say, the radar guys were in a heated building. You guys were out in the elements.
JERRY PEET: I wasn’t out in it as much as the section guys were. The section guys were out there a lot more than I was.
Because I was on the assembly end of it and we were always -- when we were working on the missiles we were usually in the buildings.
The only time that I was out in it was when we were actually testing the launching equipment. The actual launchers, or the test sets -- control sets for the launchers. They were outside. So they had to be checked periodically, too.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Just to go back to what we were kinda briefly talking about with Ed and Roger, and you mentioned there was different color codes or different levels of nuclear warheads.
So can you maybe explain that? Because that’s something I don’t know about.
JERRY PEET: Well, basically there were two sizes of nuclear warheads. There was a large -- or what they called a high-powered nuclear warhead, and there was a low-powered.
I can’t tell you exactly what the specs on that was because they didn’t tell us.
But they were -- the way we could tell the difference was the color of the markings on the warhead itself. And I can’t remember at this time what those colors were or anything else.
ED HANSEN: I think red was the big one. JERRY PEET: I don’t remember.
ED HANSEN: What was the other color, Roger? Color on the warheads. Red was the large one. ROGER BABLER: There were stripes. ED HANSEN: Yeah. Had a stripe about that long.
JERRY PEET: Yeah. And I don’t remember what they were. ED HANSEN: Think red was the --
ROGER BABLER: Was the black stripe for AG’s?
JERRY PEET: That might be. I don’t remember really.
ROGER BABLER: A yellow or a green stripe for something else.
ED HANSEN: Must’ve been the lower yield. JERRY PEET: Yeah.
ED HANSEN: ‘Cause red was the big one.
KAREN BREWSTER: Red was the big warhead. That would make sense.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: That would make sense, that red was the big one.
KAREN BREWSTER: But you had mentioned being the -- what was the word? It was not the fire control operator, is that -- the fire control officer? JERRY PEET: Mm-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: So is that the person who makes the final decision to push the button?
JERRY PEET: That’s made by higher authority.
KAREN BREWSTER: I should rephrase it. That’s the person who pushes the button to launch it. LESLIE McCARTNEY: When he’s been told to do it.
JERRY PEET: I was the launcher guy. I have to flip a switch in the launching control trailer that allows the missile to be launched.
Now, fire control also has a switch up there if I remember right, that had to be activated also before it could be launched.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So again, a two-tier system of doublecheck.
JERRY PEET: Right, right. And then, once both those switches are activated, then I believe the computer took over. I’m not real sure how that worked up there. But then it went -- fire control took care -- took control of it at that point.
KAREN BREWSTER: So you, at the launch site, just by pushing that button, didn’t shoot the missile off. It was one more layer. JERRY PEET: No. Right. Right.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: And, of course, you couldn’t flip the switch until you had received orders to do so? JERRY PEET: Right. Right. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Right.
JERRY PEET: Yeah. If I had, nothing would’ve happened, other than I’d probably gotten court-martialed.
KAREN BREWSTER: So it started from the battery control, who then sent it down to you, and then back and forth. JERRY PEET: Right. Yeah.
ROGER BABLER: It could be launched from your van if they could not from BC for some technical problem? JERRY PEET: Right.
KAREN BREWSTER: So what was that?
JERRY PEET: Now there was a way that we could launch it from the battery control trailer.
ED HANSEN: There was a drill, I think. One of the guys in our reunions, he was in a drill where he actually fired it from the launch area. I don’t remember if it was an actual firing or if it was just a drill.
KAREN BREWSTER: So how would that work? How could you fire it from the launch area without -- ?
JERRY PEET: We had an override that we could activate. But it had to come down as a verbal command from fire control to activate that. I couldn’t just -- and there’s another man in the trailer also. I’m not the only one in the trailer.
So there had to be verification on his part before I could activate that.
KAREN BREWSTER: So you still had the checks and balances. It was just overriding the switch. JERRY PEET: Right. Yeah.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Then were there follow-up reports? Like every day, did you have to file reports or every time you did something?
JERRY PEET: We didn’t down there, or not that I was involved in, anyhow.
I’m sure there were reports that had to be filed and everything, but I had a sergeant above me, and -- well, actually two sergeants above me -- and a warrant officer that was responsible for that paperwork and so on.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: That’s a big responsibility, being the one that flips the switch, even though you get the orders. JERRY PEET: Yeah.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: How did that affect you, or did you really consciously think about it?
JERRY PEET: Yes and no. I went up through the ranks so fast that -- I mean, my head was in a blur most of the time.
I went from a private E-1 to a specialist E-5 as soon as I could get time in rank.
At one point there I had three different insignias on my uniforms, because I didn’t have time to change ‘em all before I was promoted again.
And then as soon as I made E-5, they took me over to headquarters on Fort Wainwright and I was promoted to acting sergeant E-5. So I was actually in a non-com position as a -- I had the authority of a noncom, non-commissioned officer. Just that quick. And here I am -- I’m still green.
KAREN BREWSTER: So how was it that you are able to move through the ranks so quickly?
JERRY PEET: Because I was in a E-6 position and they had to fill that position as soon as they could.
And since they didn’t have a sergeant to fill that position, they had to bring somebody up through the ranks to fill it.
And since there was such a shortage of assembly personnel, that’s the only thing they could do.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, you must have been capable.
JERRY PEET: Well, that was debatable.
ED HANSEN: PFCs are entirely different rank-wise. You didn’t get promotions.
He and I both walked out as specialist fourth class, just very shortly before we were discharged that we get that. JERRY PEET: Yeah.
ED HANSEN: And that’s why a lot of the guys did stay in, and that comes up here, too, is there was no rank.
JERRY PEET: Yeah. Most of the launching area was that way, too. But I just happened to be in that position where it was an E-6 position.
KAREN BREWSTER: So you’re saying most of the people on post didn’t get to be promoted. They just stayed at their --
JERRY PEET: They -- they were promoted. But they were promoted in a normal cycle.
You know, I mean they had to have time in rank and then maybe, you know, for instance a private coming in as a section hand may be a private for six months or a year before he’s promoted to private E-2.
KAREN BREWSTER: So in the eighteen months or two years you’re not gonna get very far in a normal --
JERRY PEET: Not normally. ED HANSEN: Specialist four.
JERRY PEET: No, maybe specialist four. And then that’s -- you have to be in a specialist position.
The section hands probably would not have made E-4.
KAREN BREWSTER: So was there a hierarchy within the -- you know, like, oh, you know, it was -- you have more status if you were working at the launch versus the section hand versus the radar guys?
JERRY PEET: I think we pretty much worked together. We didn’t associate a lot with the fire control area because -- the guys up there -- because we were in separate areas.
ED HANSEN: Wasn’t that we didn’t like each other. JERRY PEET: Two miles apart.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, you were in the barracks and mess hall together. JERRY PEET: Yeah. Yeah.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Did you also have the twenty-four hours on and then eight hours off, or was your schedule different?
JERRY PEET: Our schedules were usually -- we’d go down in the morning and come back that evening. Okay, if we were on hot status we were twenty-four on, twenty-four off, similar to what you guys were.
But because of the situation down there, where we’re in the cold a lot, we weren’t running these long hours like those guys were.
We tried to stay out of the cold as much as we could and do as much inside. A lot of our work was inside.
KAREN BREWSTER: So your twenty-four hours on -- if it was a hot status and you worked twenty-four hours on -- were you down at the launch site that whole twenty-four hours?
JERRY PEET: We had to stay in the launching area during that period of time.
KAREN BREWSTER: So was there places for you guys to sleep, and how did you get food?
JERRY PEET: We had bunks down there, and they shuttled food down from the barracks to our facility down there. We had -- actually had bunks in the assembly building and a kitchen down there where they served the food.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So the job that you did, obviously, wasn’t one that you could tell people what you did. JERRY PEET: No.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: And how long was it before you could really talk about your role?
JERRY PEET: I never really talked about it much until we started having these reunions. First one of these that I went to.
ED HANSEN: That’s same with us. JERRY PEET: Yeah.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Was there a -- were you guys told, you know, you can’t talk about this for -- well, obviously while you’re working there -- but like, for the next ten years, twenty years, thirty years, or was it that structured?
JERRY PEET: You were told that this is a secret installation and you were not to talk about it to anyone.
There were certain things that you could say -- you know, Nike Hercules missile is x number of feet long and it has a booster. As far as any technical aspects of that missile, you couldn’t talk about that.
ED HANSEN: Definitely not about a warhead.
JERRY PEET: No. No. We had -- from time to time we had a civil engineer -- not civil engineer -- a civil aeronautics club would come? And we would actually bring -- we had a training missile that we used that looked like a regular missile except the warhead in it and the rocket motor in it were empty. There was nothing in ‘em.
And we used that as a training missile to train new section personnel.
So we would bring that outside the fence of the launching area and the civil aeronautics club would come in. And we would actually show ‘em the missile, explain a little bit how the missile worked as far as we could -- what we were allowed to say about it -- and then that was it.
So some civilians were able to see it, and get a little brief explanation of how it worked. But that was about as far as we went, or we were allowed to even talk about it.
KAREN BREWSTER: I was wondering, you know, that on your days off if you went into town? Say you went into Fairbanks and, you know, you went to a restaurant or a bar or you’re talking about -- oh you know -- what do you say about what you were doing?
JERRY PEET: I was a little different than anybody else around there, because I always went to church.
We were stationed just down the road about, what, five miles from North Pole? And I went to a little Baptist church down there at North Pole, so I got acquainted with some of the people from Eielson Air Force Base and some of the local people, and became friends with some of ‘em.
And I used to go down there -- well, of course, went to church every Sunday, and Wednesday nights -- so I got off base for that.
Because I became familiar with or got acquainted with these people, a lotta times we’d go and do things together. I went to -- they had some dog sled races, stuff like that. We went out and watched those one time.
Went out and watched -- went out to Eielson Air Force Base and watched a bunch of people skiing out there. You know, stuff like that. Odd and end stuff.
One couple I was acquainted with was a -- he was an airman at the Air Force base, but they lived in North Pole. So we went out and cut down a Christmas tree at Christmastime, and I helped him set up the Christmas trees.
You know, stuff like that. I would also go into Fairbanks. We’d go in and bowl, go skating, stuff like that.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So did you have a -- like were you given a script if someone said, "So what do you do?"
Did the Army supply you with the script or was it you were to make up your own?
JERRY PEET: I don’t think anyone has really asked me what I did.
KAREN BREWSTER: They just knew you were with the Army.
JERRY PEET: They would know I was in the Army. They might ask, "Well, what do you do in the Army?" "Well, I’m stationed on a missile site out here." "Oh, okay." That was about the extent of --
KAREN BREWSTER: But you could say that, "I’m stationed at a missile site." JERRY PEET: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. JERRY PEET: Sure.
KAREN BREWSTER: So people in the area knew those sites were there.
JERRY PEET: Oh yeah. Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: They maybe didn’t know what was going on there. JERRY PEET: Right. KAREN BREWSTER: In there. Interesting.
JERRY PEET: Hm mm. One of the interesting things that happened when I was there was -- I was up there in ’67 and they had the big flood in Fairbanks.
And during the flood, of course, I went -- Fort Wainwright was flooded, also. And most of our officers and non-commissioned officers lived on Fort Wainwright, so they couldn’t get out to the site.
Not that they didn’t want to or whatever, but they just weren’t able to get out there.
So we weren’t allowed to leave the site during that period of time except for me. I was the only one that got off the base -- got off site.
KAREN BREWSTER: How did you sneak out? Did you?
JERRY PEET: No, it wasn’t a matter of sneaking out. I went to the officer in charge and I said I always go to church on Sunday. I says, I’d like permission to leave the site and go to church.
He says, go right ahead. But I was the only one that ever got off that site during the flood.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So given where -- at least where Ed and Roger were located, which is now part of the floodplains, did the water come anywhere near any of the Nike sites?
JERRY PEET: No. LESLIE McCARTNEY: It didn’t. You were high enough up.
JERRY PEET: Yeah. We were nowhere near it.
ED HANSEN: The barracks definitely were. That was way up. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Yeah. Okay.
JERRY PEET: Yeah, the barracks themselves -- if you’re familiar with North Pole, if you go east on Richardson Highway there’s a big mound on the north side of the road there. Our fire control area sat up on top of that mound.
KAREN BREWSTER: The Moose Creek Bluff? Up there? JERRY PEET: Yeah. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Okay.
JERRY PEET: And then the launching area is straight north of there about two and a half miles down in the valley. But we weren’t anywhere near the river.
That whole area to the south of the Richardson Highway there, that was all water. I mean we could see it from the bluff there.
And you looked toward Fairbanks and you could see the water out that way, also.
KAREN BREWSTER: Were there times when the launch area -- you were told, okay, this is it, get everything ready, get it activated and ready to fire? There wasn’t a test that actually got that close?
JERRY PEET: I don’t recall that we'd ever had any where we actually were -- put a missile up -- prepared a missile for firing.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Other than when you were in a hot zone, or hot time?
JERRY PEET: Well, even when we were in a hot time, we didn’t.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Oh, right. 'Cause you had to assemble it all first, right?
JERRY PEET: Yeah, 'cause it had to be assembled. But we did have routine tests.
You know, we’d have drills where headquarters would set up a drill and we’d have to go through the whole process and simulate launching the missile.
And we did do that several times while I was up there.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I wondered if things ever got to a point that, okay, we see something on the radar. We’re tracking it -- here we go, guys, we're ready to go, and then at the last minute -- oh, nope, never mind.
JERRY PEET: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No.
JERRY PEET: Not to my knowledge.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‘Cause I think that would be pretty stressful.
JERRY PEET: Yeah. We had never gotten to the point where we actually had to pull a missile out and set it up for firing.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So you were only up there -- how did the winters affect you, then, personally?
JERRY PEET: Well, personally, I was pretty good. We were required to go out on bivouac during the winter -- ED HANSEN: Yes.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, now they remember it, too.
JERRY PEET: Yeah. You had to go out, and I’m not sure how long it was supposed to be -- I think it was a couple -- ED HANSEN: Just for a day.
JERRY PEET: It was just overnight? ED HANSEN: Yeah.
JERRY PEET: Yeah, okay. Well, we loaded up our gear the morning that we were supposed to go out on bivouac, went down to bivouac area, unloaded the gear, and we were supposed to set up our tents and so on.
Well, before I ever got that far, first sergeant came down. He said, “Peet, go down to the launching area. They need you down there.”
Okay, what do you want me to do afterwards? Come back out here. Okay. So I went down to the launching area for the day.
It was a normal day down in the launching area. Well, at the end of the day, I go back out to the bivouac area. Get out there and they say, “Well you’re not set up yet, so take your gear and go back up to the barracks.”
So I loaded up my gear and went up to the barracks. Actually there was a lieutenant down there that told me to do that. He had his pickup down there. He says, “Take my pickup, load up your gear and go to the barracks. Stay there.”
KAREN BREWSTER: You gotta follow orders, right?
JERRY PEET: I followed orders. So I never did --
ROGER BABLER: An interesting scenario on the winter indoctrination. JERRY PEET: Yeah.
ROGER BABLER: We went out generally -- and I assume it worked the same for you, that one group went out and set up the tents and did everything, and then you left and the other group would come for the next day and they would take tents down.
We were on the first group. We went out and we set up the tents and we got -- we got heat in the tents and everything. And then it got to be quite late in the day.
And the temperature got colder than they figured it was supposed to get.
ED HANSEN: Like fifty-four below.
ROGER BABLER: Some colonel at Wainwright says, “You gotta get them guys outta there.”
Well, everybody’s in their sleeping bags and in their tent and they’re very comfortable. They don’t wanna leave.
But they left anyway. But the best part about it was we were supposed to -- no, we were in the second group and we’re supposed to pick things up. But we had duty -- well, somebody else had to go pick up the stuff.
ED HANSEN: Anyone know who did? No idea who went and did it?
ROGER BABLER: Nope, had no idea who went and did it, but somebody got drafted and went out and picked that stuff up.
ED HANSEN: It got to -- think it was 64 below or something that night. And if it was colder than 50 below you weren’t supposed to be there, I think. ROGER BABLER: No.
KAREN BREWSTER: So, how’d you get out to this bivouac? Did you snowshoe out, or you just drove out?
ED HANSEN: Took us in trucks. JERRY PEET: Took us out in the deuce and a half.
KAREN BREWSTER: Deuce and a half? What’s that?
JERRY PEET: It’s a two and a half ton truck. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Deuce and a half. JERRY PEET: Right.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So you were there for a year, you said?
JERRY PEET: Yeah, just a little over a year.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: And then what?
JERRY PEET: Then it was -- my tour of duty was up, so I went home.
I had considered staying in Alaska, but hadn’t been home for over a year and decided that I’d go home first.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So at the time and then on reflection, you know, how positive, negative, in the road --middle of the road?
JERRY PEET: I had a lot of fun while I was in Alaska. Like I said, I had a lot of friends that were off base. And actually had a lot of friends on the site, too.
My biggest problem was because I went up through the ranks so fast. Supposedly non-coms are not to associate with the enlisted personnel. You’re supposed to associate with non-coms.
But I just couldn’t get by that. I had some non-coms that thought I came up through the ranks too fast and they didn’t appreciate it.
And I had the same thing on the other end of enlisted personnel thought I went up too fast. So basically I had a lot of friends that were enlisted personnel that I associated with. We did a lot of things together.
KAREN BREWSTER: And did you maintain contact with these people afterwards?
JERRY PEET: No, I lost contact with almost all of them.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: But you did -- you really liked Alaska?
JERRY PEET: I enjoyed Alaska. I did.
KAREN BREWSTER: So what did you go on to do after you left the military?
JERRY PEET: After I got home, went back to work at the packing plant for a while until I decided that that was ridiculous, because the union that was supposed to be supporting me was not supporting me. And I told them they could take the job and do what they wanted to with it, and quit.
And went back to school. Decided that I’d try to get into the electronics field.
Of course, training for -- military training is a little different, because they train you for what you need to know and that’s it.
So my electronics experience was working with a missile, and it’s a little different working with a missile than working on TVs and radios.
So I went back to school for electronics to learn to work on radios and TVs.
Well, when it came time to graduate I realized that there was a ton of radio/TV repairmen out there that were just getting by by the skin of their teeth.
And it wasn’t probably a very good career to get into that area. So I started looking at other options. And there were a lot of people looking for people in the medical field.
So had a couple companies that interviewed for and went to work for a company that built particle counters and blood cell counters for hospital laboratories and clinics.
Worked for them for seventeen years and got laid off. Went to work for a hospital in Cedar Rapids there where I live, and I’ve been working for them for the last almost twenty-six years. So --
KAREN BREWSTER: So you were still able to use your understanding of electronics in different equipment, but in a more medical context.
JERRY PEET: Right. Right. KAREN BREWSTER: Neat.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So, I’m sure you couldn’t say in a job interview, you know, what experience do you have? Well, I used to build nuclear missiles.
JERRY PEET: Well, yeah, you could say you worked on missiles. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Right.
JERRY PEET: Nike Hercules missiles, guided missiles, and that’s -- that’s about all you ever said. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Right.
JERRY PEET: And they realized that, you know, it’s a missile and it’s military, and you don’t ask any more questions.
ED HANSEN: I had a situation where I interviewed for a job with Sunstrad Aerospace. The guy in the interviewing session turned out to have been a Nike Herc officer and -- when he was in the military.
So we never said anything. I gather that he knew where I had served and that -- but we never talked about it.
But I always felt that helped me a great deal in getting a job there.
KAREN BREWSTER: Certainly military experience helps in a lot of contexts for getting work afterwards.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: And then, the electronics field itself, did you see -- both -- all of you have had careers in the -- how much has that changed?
‘Cause my brother used to sit on the bench and fix radios and that doesn’t exist anymore.
JERRY PEET: It’s changed quite a bit, because when I was -- well, first of all the Nike Hercules missile, the guidance system on that was actually vacuum tubes. Okay? Believe it or not.
It was vacuum tubes. They were little tiny ones, but they were vacuum tubes.
And when I went back to school they were still teaching vacuum tubes, and transistors were just getting popular at that time -- starting to come out with transistor radios and so on.
So that’s what I was trained on. Well, when I got out of school, of course, the electronics industry was starting to get into integrated circuits and so on, and digital circuitry.
And so I had to kinda pick that up as I went along. So it’s changed considerably from what it used to be.
KAREN BREWSTER: So these vacuum tubes, did they break and you had to keep replacing them? It’s not the most stable system.
JERRY PEET: We never -- well, these were small enough to where you didn’t have a lot of problem with them.
Occasionally, you’d have to replace one, but I can’t recall replacing more than one or two of ‘em the whole time I was in.
KAREN BREWSTER: And those replacement parts came from ordnance at Fort Wainwright, or did you have it on hand?
JERRY PEET: Usually what we’d do is swap out a whole board. A circuit board.
KAREN BREWSTER: So did you keep extras of those kinds of things at the site, or -- ?
JERRY PEET: Those were brought in by ordnance when we needed ‘em.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Any idea -- the missiles, ‘cause it’s all these different components -- were they all -- the components made somewhere else differently so that nobody really knew what they were making in the factories? Do you know what I mean?
JERRY PEET: I can’t tell you that because I don’t know exactly where they were made.
One interesting thing that I did run across a couple years ago. I live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and there was an article on the news about this item that was found in a factory -- an old factory in Waterloo, Iowa.
And they didn’t know what it was, but it looked like a bomb.
And they brought some people up from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to look at this thing. And as it turned out, it was a warhead shell for a Nike Hercules missile.
It was made in Cedar Rapids -- or Waterloo, Iowa. And I just about died when I heard this. They had an article in the paper about it.
KAREN BREWSTER: Did you see the -- ?
JERRY PEET: I didn’t actually see it, no.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‘Cause if they’d asked you, you could’ve told them probably what that was.
JERRY PEET: I may have been able to, yeah. But, you know, they wouldn’t let anybody anywhere close to it, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: No. That’s true.
JERRY PEET: But it was just kind of an interesting thing that I’d run into later.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So have you been involved in going to all of Nike site reunions?
JERRY PEET: This is the third one that I’ve been to. I was able to go to the one in Dayton and the one in Tucson and enjoyed both of those, meeting a lot of the guys.
Most of the guys that have been to the reunions have been either fire control area or the MPs, the dog handlers.
And I haven’t run into too many guys from the launching area, though.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: But you’re the mystery man --
JERRY PEET: I’m the mystery man, yes.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Who can clear up all the mysteries that everyone would -- wondered what happened down on the launch site.
KAREN BREWSTER: They know what you were doing down there.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: And so what has this meant to you?
JERRY PEET: I’m proud of what I did. I think that it was something we had to do at the time and it was well worth it.
I think anybody that serves is to be commended for serving, whether they were drafted or whether they enlisted. I don’t think it makes any difference.
But my hat -- I wear a hat now -- has US Army on it. And I enjoy it.
I get comments on it all the time and people really understand, you know.
When I came back from -- when I came back from Alaska, flew into Des Moines, Iowa, got off the plane and nobody there to meet me. Had to take a bus from there to my home.
And, you know, there’s no big fanfare, no -- even “Thanks for serving” or anything else at that time.
And it was kind of a letdown, I mean, I really felt bad about it at the time.
And until, you know, recently when they’ve started having these honor flights to Washington, D.C. for the World War II vets and some of that, and realized that, you know, these guys coming back really need to be appreciated.
And I think that’s really neat when they do that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it’s interesting that, you know, a lot of times the honoring people coming back has to be people who’ve been in combat. And you guys weren’t in combat. JERRY PEET: No.
KAREN BREWSTER: But you still felt that you weren’t honored for your service. JERRY PEET: Right.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: You may not have been in combat, but you were in a very serious, serious situation.
ED HANSEN: That’s not only true of us, that’s true of the vets that came back from Vietnam.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it’s a common story -- the vets from Vietnam -- and that’s why I find interesting that, yeah, working at a Nike site was high stress.
You didn’t see combat, but it was high stress. And you did serve. JERRY PEET: Right.
ED HANSEN: I recently joined -- not really joined, ‘cause we didn’t sign papers or anything -- but I attend meetings of a vets’ group. And there are several from the Korean War, but mostly they’re Vietnam War. And I think there’s one from World War II yet.
And I always feel funny because they all served in Korea or in Vietnam or in Europe and I didn’t. But still, they accept me like I was, you know, a vet from a war, as well.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I was gonna ask Jerry about how you dealt with the stress. I mean, being down on the launching area I would think would be a little bit more stressful than perhaps some of the other jobs on post.
JERRY PEET: Well, like I told you earlier, I went to church and that was a big outlet for me. I mean, I’ve got my faith and I dealt with that.
In fact, I had started a Bible study on -- at the post. Bunch of the guys from the launching area would get together on Wednesday nights or whatever and just go in the chapel there -- we had a chapel in the barracks.
We used to go in there and just have a Bible study. And several of those guys eventually went to church with me from time to time.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Was there a pastor then? Assigned there? JERRY PEET: No.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: No. Just a chapel? JERRY PEET: Just a chapel.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: But (Fort) Wainwright would’ve had a pastor or something -- chaplain. KAREN BREWSTER: Wainwright had a chaplain.
JERRY PEET: Yeah, I’m sure they did down there, but we seldom went to Wainwright. When we had time off we’d go into Fairbanks.
One of the other guys and I had a pickup so we swapped off whenever we -- who used the truck when, you know.
But if we needed to do maintenance on the truck or get gas or anything we always went to Eielson, because it was closer and facilities there are easier to work with than going all the way to Wainwright. So --
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So when you went home you couldn’t really tell your family what you had done, or --
JERRY PEET: Well, you tell ‘em that you were on a missile site and, you know, you maintained missiles. That’s about all you could tell ‘em. I mean, what else do you tell ‘em?
They wouldn’t have understood if I’d have tried to go into detail. And since it was a security issue anyhow, you couldn’t tell ‘em. And so you just never talked about it.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, if you said to somebody, well I worked on a missile site in Alaska, do you feel like people appreciated that -- as you said, it was something that had to be done at the time given the Cold War situation.
Do you think people appreciated, respected that that was happening, or did they go, oh, why do we need those missiles?
JERRY PEET: I think it was a matter of indifference. You know, they’d ask what you did. Well I was on a missile site up in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Oh, well that’s nice. You know, somethin’ to that effect is what you’d get. And you kinda just dropped it at that.
KAREN BREWSTER: So it sounds like people were accepting that we had these missile sites around the country?
JERRY PEET: Yeah, they knew they were around. When I was in school -- I went out to Chicago to school, and there was actually a missile site that was right there on Lake Michigan, right next to a park -- the actual launch area.
I don’t know where the fire control area was from there, but it was right on the lake front there and you could see it.
Those missiles were underground, so you seldom saw the missiles. But I recognized the missile site as soon as I saw it. I knew what it was.
And when I was in training down at Fort Bliss, we had a couple guys there that were from Chicago in the National Guard and they actually served on those missile sites. So I knew they were around.
So when I went out there and saw this thing, well, that’s a Nike missile site. I know what that is.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, just to go back before, when you were maybe not as well on the mic, you were talking about how many missiles there were. Can you maybe tell us that again?
JERRY PEET: Well, if I remember right there were sixteen missiles per section. And then you had four launchers per section. So a total of sixteen missiles.
Four of them were always on the launcher. And the next were on side rails on either side of the launchers in the section building.
KAREN BREWSTER: That’s a lot of missiles. JERRY PEET: Yep.
KAREN BREWSTER: And there were five sites in Alaska, each that had sixteen? JERRY PEET: Right.
ED HANSEN: Five in Fairbanks.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, five just in Fairbanks? JERRY PEET: In Fairbanks, right.
KAREN BREWSTER: And then the three here in Anchorage?
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Did you guys ever get down to the Anchorage one at all? JERRY PEET: No. No.
KAREN BREWSTER: And then there was that one in Anchorage that was a double launcher, right?
JERRY PEET: I can’t tell you.
ED HANSEN: I’ve heard that there was one with Hercs and Ajaxes -- it was a dual site.
KAREN BREWSTER: There was a dual site here.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: You’ll learn more on that when you go to Kincaid Park. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JERRY PEET: I think I read something to that effect, too.
KAREN BREWSTER: Or there was someone else we talked to who worked on one of the sites here.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: So was the site in Alaska bigger than what most sites would be? Or were they all pretty, like, cookie-cutter size everywhere?
JERRY PEET: I don’t know, from what I’ve read from materials on the websites and so on it seems like they were all pretty much about the same size.
Most of ‘em consisted of two sections, although the Lower 48 they were all underground from what I understand. Whereas these up here are above-ground.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you know why?
JERRY PEET: Because of the permafrost.
ED HANSEN: Yeah, their exception was in the Everglades. During the Cuban Crisis they moved ‘em down there, and it was just so swampy that they didn’t put ‘em --
KAREN BREWSTER: The Everglades and the Cuban Missile Crisis?
ROGER BABLER: That was the exception. The Florida sites. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Yeah. They’d be above-ground, too.
KAREN BREWSTER: Jerry, anything else that from your experiences that we haven’t talked about that you wanted to make sure we know?
JERRY PEET: No, I think that’s -- we pretty well covered it.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Thank you very much. It’s been a really big learning experience for me. JERRY PEET: You’re welcome.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, nice to see both sides of what you guys did. JERRY PEET: Right.
ED HANSEN: Yeah, I'm glad Jerry sat in for you.
LESLIE McCARTNEY: Thank you so much. KAREN BREWSTER: Thank you very much.
JERRY PEET: You’re welcome.