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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near San Jose (New Almaden) in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Scanning the Skies

 
 
Scanning the Skies Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 14, 2018
1. Scanning the Skies Marker
Captions: (upper right) During the Cold War, intercept fighter aircraft, such as this Convair F-106 Delta Dart were poised and ready at other locations to respond to potential nuclear threats detected by a network of early warning radar stations including the one here at Mount Umunhum.; (center left) ☉ SAGE defense system long range radar sites along the west coast of the United States.; (bottom left) Almaden Air Force in 1980 just prior to station closure.; (bottom center) 682nd Radar Squadron Patch, "Vigilance and Prudence."
Inscription. In the late 1950s, the United States government procured Mount Umunhum to build the Almaden Air Force Station. an early warning radar facility that operated from 1957 to 1980. The station was constructed as part of a west coast network that scanned 250 mils out over the Pacific Ocean. The operation kept watch over United States airspace during the Cold War in search of possible airborne nuclear attacks from Soviet bombers.

Cold War Readiness

Almaden Air Force Station and other military bases in the Bay Area employed technologically inclined people to help fight the Cold War. As many as 125 military personnel and their families lived and worked on Mount Umunhum. Dozens of structures housed equipment, a commissary, food services, living quarters, and recreational facilities including a bowling alley and swimming pool.
Advancements in both missile delivery systems and satellite technology-by some of the very same people who came to work at Almaden Air Force Station-ultimately made the radar here obsolete and eventually led to the permanent closure of the station in 1980. Many Air Force personnel who were stationed here remained in the region and applied their skills and knowledge to the development of Silicon Valley, helping establish it as a world leader in technology and innovation.
Scanning the Skies Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 14, 2018
2. Scanning the Skies Marker


SAGE Defense System

The 84.5 foot tall concrete tower that remains here was the foundation of what was one of the largest rotating military radar ever built. It was part of a system of similar stations in California and among hundreds of others across the country that provided radar surveillance data into the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) defense system. SAGE coordinated the incoming signals and processed the data with its powerful computers and networking equipment, assessed potential threats, and directed response through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
 
Erected by Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
 
Location. 37° 9.637′ N, 121° 53.876′ W. Marker is near San Jose (New Almaden), California, in Santa Clara County. Marker can be reached from Mount Umunhum Road near Mount Umunhum-Loma Prieta Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: San Jose CA 95120, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Early People of Mount Umunhum (here, next to this marker); A Sacred Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Military Community (about 700 feet away, measured in a
Radar Tower image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 14, 2018
3. Radar Tower
Summit Shelter at the left
direct line); Miners and Settlers (approx. mile away); Wood Road & Jacques Ridge (approx. 2.2 miles away); Mine Hill (approx. 3.1 miles away); The Rossi Retort (approx. 3.1 miles away); SpanishTown (approx. 3.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Jose (New Almaden).
 
More about this marker. This marker is located at the Mount Umunhum Summit Shelter
 
Categories. MilitaryWar, Cold
 
Radar Tower image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 14, 2018
4. Radar Tower
Mount Umunhum image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 14, 2018
5. Mount Umunhum
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 4, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 4, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 73 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 4, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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