The Cold War at Fort Hancock

Nike soldier with radar vans.
Soldiers of the 66th ADA pose in front of a radar van, circa 1955.  Before the permanent IFC site was built in 1956, a temporary home for the radar was in front of Battery Peck.

NPS/Gateway NRA

Fort Hancock’s long history in defense of New York continued after the Second World War. New defenses, however, were no longer needed from sea attack, but instead from the sky. 90mm Anti-Aircraft guns were emplaced in the early 1950s. These guns were replaced by Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM). The Nike Missile was the last defensive weapon system located at Fort Hancock.

From 1954 until 1974, the Nikes guarded the New York area. Soldiers assigned to Nike batteries at Fort Hancock worked in one of two locations, the Missile Launch Area or the Integrated Fire Control Area (IFC). The two locations were one mile from each other along Hartshorne Drive.

These soldiers lived on site in ready barracks when they were on 24-hour duty shifts. When they were not on duty they were housed in Barracks 74 in Fort Hancock. Barracks 74, a double barracks, served as not only housing for the soldiers, but the mess hall and the administrative headquarters for the batteries.

Click here to learn more about the Cold War and Nike Missile Defenses.

Click here to view oral histories from Cold War Veterans.

View, Guardian Park: A History 1970-2003.


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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