Home

A decommissioned missile base hides tucked away within the heavily forested Florida Keys. Looking down the old SR-905 in Key Largo, you can barely see the crumbling remains of a former radar site, rusting to dust between hectic overgrowth. The three radars found at this site were the target ranging radar, target tracking radar and the missile tracking radar.

 

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 served as a huge eye-opener to the U.S. needing more defenses – thus came the construction of HM-40 only a few short years later in 1965. With the Cold War lasting well through the 1980s, the U.S. continued to send troops and weapons into Florida. This included sending soldiers into the Everglades, where they would then be stationed with mobile anti-aircraft weapons.

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

HM-40 was one of the first places where HAWK missile units were used, before transitioning to mostly NIKE. What you see here is part of a defunct communications/command post known as an IFC, or integrated fire control. This part of HM-40 controlled the radars, which controlled the missiles. The use of Nike missiles was thought of as extremely advanced during this time, as they were one of the first types of missile to actually track their targets. During these years, soldiers were also living within the grounds of this particular part of HM-40.

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

In June 1979, HM-40 was abandoned permanently, while the launch site – which no longer stands – was under federal control and became part of the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The radar site, as shown by my photos, was under state control and had become part of the Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. There are plans set to let the areas natural vegetative state consume all that was left behind, returning it to the rich and earthy piece of land it once was. Over these next decades, the Earth will continue to swallow what we have left behind, and some day the soil here will breathe freely once more.

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

Abandoned HM-40

Following photos from the December 17, 1969 issue of the Upper Keys Reporter

KL-HM 40 Under ConstructionKL-HM-40PayDay69KL-RadarInstallation69KL-TwoRadarTowers1968

2 thoughts on “Quiet 905

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s