Carrolton in Isle of Wight County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
1954 Nike-Ajax Missile Site N-75L
The “Cold” War (1949-1990) is so named because no actual armed conflict took place between the two alliances: The Warsaw Pact and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It began when Joseph Stalin, dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), reneged on his commitments to withdraw the Soviet Army from the Eastern European countries it had occupied in the great victory over Nazi Germany. In quick succession, the Soviet Union acquired intercontinental bombers and then nuclear weapons in August of 1949. Next, the West viewed the 1950 attack by North Korea against the South as a Soviet inspired opening battle in the bid for world domination by the Soviet Union.
Beginning in 1951, the United States deployed hundreds of WWII era anti-aircraft gun batteries around major U.S. cities as a reaction to the perceived threat of a potential nuclear bomber attack against America. Meanwhile, the U.S. had been developing an anti-aircraft missile to replace the obsolete anti-aircraft guns. Based on research developed from the German V-2 rocket program of WWII, the U.S. Army tested the world’s first successful supersonic anti-aircraft missile designated “Nike-Ajax”. In 1953 production began on this missile and eventually over 13,000 of these
The missile base here in Carrollton, Virginia, was one of these bases. It was operational by 1954 and stood ready to defend America until longer range nuclear tipped missiles, the Nike-Hercules, made the Ajax obsolete. In 1961, the Carrollton base became an Army radio relay site which operated until 1971. Isle of Wight County obtained the former missile base from the federal government in 1972 and began the development of a convenience center and the parks and recreation facilities—Carrollton Nike Park and Jones Creek Boat Ramp.
The U.S. Army designation for this missile base was N-75 (Carrollton/Smithfield). “N” stood for Norfolk Defense Area because this base was one of eight in the Hampton Roads Area which protected the critical military installations of Norfolk Naval Operating Base, Norfolk Naval Air Station, Langley Air Force Base, Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Oceana Naval Air Station and the private Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. “75” meant that this base was the 75th Nike-Ajax battery in the U.S. to become operational. The “L” in the heading designated this as the Launch site where the actual missiles were kept in concrete underground magazines. In close proximity was N-75C, the control
Norfolk Defense Area
The Norfolk defense was initially constituted with two Nike-Ajax battalions covering the Hampton Roads/James River area of Virginia known as Tidewater. Two Army National Guard battalions acquired several Ajax sites in the fall of 1959; Battery B, 4th Missile Battaliom, 111th Artillery, had the honor of retiring the Ajax from ARADCOM at site N-63 in Nansemond County, now Suffolk.
Location. 36° 57.738′ N, 76° 33.649′ W. Marker is in Carrolton, Virginia, in Isle of Wight County. Marker can be reached from Nike Park Road (Virginia Route 669) 0.1 miles south of Carrollton Court. Click for map. This marker is located in Carrollton Nike Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 13036 Nike Park Road, Carrollton VA 23314, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. People and Places, circa 1957 at N-75L (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Missile Magazine and Launch Operations (about 500 feet away); Nike-Ajax Missile Radar Control Site N-75C (approx. 0.9 miles away); Josiah Parker (approx. 1.1 miles away); Saint Luke's Church St. Luke’s Church (approx. 2.2 miles away); Warraskoyack Indians (approx. 2.2 miles away); Benn’s Church (approx. 2.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Carrolton.
More about this marker. On the upper left is an aerial photograph of the launch site noting the “14 unit military housing area for officers and NCOs to the north and east”.
On the upper right is a map of the “Norfolk Defense Area”.
On the bottom is a timeline of base operations.
Also see . . .
1. Nike-Ajax Missile Site N-75. Smithfield & Isle of Wight Convention and Visitors Bureau
2. Nike-Ajax Missile Site N-75. Isle of Wight County
3. Nike Park and other Nike-Ajax launch locations. South Eastern Virginia Rocketry Association
4. Nike Historical Society.
Categories. • War, Cold •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,395 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.