LA-55 Nike Radar Site Palos Verdes CA.
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aradcommed.gif (3124 bytes)Air Defense        LA-55 PALOS VERDES

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A humorous Cartoon from the 'Palos Verdes Coloring Book ca. early 1960's. This depicted the launch site that was down the hill from where LA-55 was. 

LA-55 Nike Radar Site, Palos Verdes California


Looking for anything related to  Nike radar site LA-55 in Palos Verdes at the dead end of Crenshaw Blvd. I grew up in Del Cerro across from it and would like to re-connect with some of the  folk that worked there.

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Ed Sharpe's Nike Birthday Present 
The Coolest Birthday Present I Ever Got! 

Ed Sharpe's Nike Birthday Present From Dave Fairchild and  others at LA-55. In addition I was given a magnetron  tube that did not work but the magnets became the basis for many projects... this was  during High School

Part Number was a JAN 6544 and  the maker was Dumont. Notice  the round paper inspection sticker is still on the tube!

This tube sat in my room when I was young, and sits in the bookcase at home here now. When I pass on it will go to the museum.


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LA-55 Radar Site Photographs By Ed and/or Rick Sharpe - CLICK ON THESE TO MAKE THEM HUGE!

We were both shooting photos of the base... we do not remember which was which!


Del Cerro Radomes

NIKE Radar Site at Del Cerro Park




Microwave link at Nike Base. This was NOT there in 1960. This  photo  by Ed Sharpe of Del Cerro 7/31/1966. This  system was maintained by the Telephone  Company as I  would see people in  telephone trucks enter and exit the building below  the  tower. I will try to  find out were it linked to.

All NIKE personal wore the above patch. This was  gift  to Ed Sharpe of Del Cerro   from Spc4  Dave Fairchild.


Del Cerro Gate photo By Ed Sharpe our house in left hand corner Aug/1964
This may have been my sister Vickie standing there? not  sure... This was the other side of Crenshaw across from the  access  road to the  base. There is a park and homes where the base once was...



Miscellaneous Palos Verdes 
and Vicinity  Nike Items   

I can't help you on any pictures of the guys or the site .When I was there only one house at the bottom of the hill existed there was nothing between that farm house and the top of the hill but la-55 and the road teed at the top to the right was the IFC to the left you dropped off to alt 101. If  you are interested in history of site the science fiction movie 'The Invisible Boy' military part was shot there in 1956 and there were a lot of out takes if you can find them also in the Jan 1974 issue of Readers Digest which you can still get . The book length story 'The Sergeant Who Opened The Door' is about a  soviet spy that was there. I hope I was able to help you.  - John Daley


Barron, John. "The Sergeant Who Opened the Door." Reader's Digest 104 (Jan. 1974): 187-194 which was condensed from the book "KGB" By John Barron. 

Petersen: "Robert Lee Johnson sold NATO secrets to Russia."


The small excerpt that covers Palos Verdes California... which would be the launch site not the remote radar site across the street from Del Cerro at the dead end of Crenshaw .

The immediate KGB objective in reactivating Johnson was to gather intelligence about American mis­siles, which were just beginning to be deployed in numbers. The Russians recognized that he prob­ably could not gain a technical assignment, but they thought that from some peripheral billet he might photograph equipment and documents.

Turned down by the Air Force, which the KGB wanted him to join, Johnson was able to rejoin the Army and retain his former grade. As KGB luck would have it, the Army stationed him as a guard at a new Nike-Hercules missile site on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in California. In meetings with Mintkenbaugh between the springs of 1957 and 1958, Johnson transmitted photographs and diagrams of the Nike-Hercules missile, together with overheard comments about its characteristics. He also succeed­ed in siphoning off a sample of the rocket fuel, which the Russians had ordered. The KGB rewarded him with bonuses of $900 and $1200.

The Army eventually transferred Johnson to Fort Bliss, outside EI Paso, Texas, where he continued to pass missile data and other secret information to Mintkenbaugh.




on  IMDb the Author: robby-23 from Oceanside,California wrote...

I saw the premiere as a seven year old. My Dad was an extra during a remote shoot on location at the Palos Verdes Nike missile base where he was stationed

We replied but the user was not current there any more.... anyone know this person?

Re: My Dad was an extra during a remote shoot on location at the Palos Verdes ( in the earlier message... we tried to contact you but your user name is not current)

Hi I lived at the top of Crenshaw near the radar base... I think most of the footage was shot at the launch facility.

Any more details you can give us for the Nike page at our communications and computation museum at

Any pictures? Is your dad still alive for an interview?
please email me at
or call me at623 435 1522

many thanks Ed Sharpe archivist for smecc

for info on the movie

catch this movie once in a while on turner movie classics too!

From the Fort MacArthur Museum site...


LA-55 Palos Verdes-Pt. Vicente/1956-(1958)-1974/2B/ABAR
IFC-Located at the southeast corner of Crenshaw and Seacrest Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes.
L&A-Located between Hawthorne and Palos Verdes Drive, southeast of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall. This battery had an AN/FPS-71 and an AN/FPA-16 ABAR radar unit. The IFC site has been destroyed and is now Del Cerro Park. The launch site is now the maintenance yard for the city of Rancho Palos Verdes and the administrative site is used as RPV City Hall.

Ed Sharpe,

While surfin the internet I typed in "LA55" (as I recall) and I eventually
ended up at your site.

 During my 6 years I was assigned for a time,to the Nike site LA55, in Palos Verdes as a "weekend" warrior while in the CA Army National Guard, as a Radar Control Operator. (MOS 16C10)  My main assignment was at the Radar facility located at the end of Crenshaw Blvd, with the main headquarters located on Hawthorne Blvd where the missile silos were located.  I was assigned there from 1971 until they closed the facility, I think, around 74-75 and I was transferred to of all things a MASH unit in Santa Monica.

During my time at LA55 I did go to both Fort Bliss (El Paso, TX) and White Sands NM with the unit and participate in live missile fire.  During our weekends on duty I spent the most of the time washing and waxing my Porsche and "hiding" just over the edge of the western most edge of the property adjacent to the inner perimeter fence, sleeping and/or enjoying that view.  I always felt that would make a great location for a restaurant... or a park.

You mentioned David Fairchild.  He was a "full timer" regular Army, assigned there.  He was a strange guy, a loner, talked to himself a lot, seemed to always be wearing a very faded, relaxed uniform and those gray plastic framed Army issued corrective eye glasses perched near the tip of his nose.  He was also known as being very smart, and knew his stuff. David's knowledge came to play one day while the facility was having a "new" communications system installed by the engineers from Fort MacArthur, part of which involved the installation of a new tower to communicate with equipment installed at Ft MacArthur.  

While watching them work and casually eating a sandwich, David commented  to the workers that the tower he had watched them install over several  daya and had just topped off, was five feet short. 

 The know-it-all engineer specialist guys working on the installation told him basically he was a fool who didn't know what he was talking about.  Well, not only did the tower prove to be too short, David hit it right on at 5 feet.  When they tried to make it work, and couldn't, they realized that they had made a mistake, a five foot one.  When informed, David said, "Told em!"  

They had to move everything "up" to the correct height and apologize to him too.

Thanks for your interest in LA55 and sharing your experiences which re
kindled mine.

Dennis Wuethrich

Vista, CA

Dennis,  thanks for sharing this... yes  Dave was amazing... he seemed to almost have a 'sixth sense' sometimes when it came to technical issues!  ---Ed Sharpe

Wikipedia articles on Nike



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