Refurbished Missile shell returns to Park
Contact: General Park Information, 305-242-7700
Contact: Project Manager Ryan Meyer, 305-242-7015
Contact: media contact Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
The George T. Baker Aviation School has completed refurbishment of a 41-foot Nike Hercules Missile (shell) and will transfer it back to Everglades National Park on Friday, October 19, at 9:00 a.m.
Everglades National Park Deputy Superintendent Keith Whisenant will be on hand as Principal Sean Gallagan turns over the refurbished missile that students have been working on since August 23rd. Following photo and interview opportunities, the 41-foot Nike Hercules Missile will then depart the school at 10:00 a.m. to be transported via flatbed truck, provided by the Redland Construction Company, to its new permanent home, the historic Nike Missile Site HM-69, located in Everglades National Park.
What: Press availability for first photos with the refurbished Nike Hercules Missile and interviews with representatives of George T. Baker Aviation School, Everglades National Park, representatives of Miami-Dade County Schools, local Nike Missile Site Veterans, South Florida National Parks Trust, and the Everglades Association.
When: Friday, October 19, 2012, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Where: George T. Baker Aviation School, 3275 N.W. 42nd Ave., Miami, FL 33142, adjacent to Miami International Airport. [Enter via 31st street, through the school's gate located nearest LeJeune Road. There is limited parking next to the missile; students in orange vests will direct overflow parking across the street.]
On Friday, October 19, a refurbished 41-foot Nike Hercules Missile (shell) will be transported from the George T. Baker Aviation School via flatbed truck to its new permanent home at the historic Nike Missile Site HM-69, located within Everglades National Park. Media are invited to meet at the school on October 19 to be the first to glimpse the refurbished missile before it travels to the park.
The Nike Missile was delivered to George T. Baker Aviation School in late August as part of the events surrounding the 50th Commemoration of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is this October 2012. Through a partnership with Everglades National Park, the students have sanded, repaired, and re-painted this piece of Cold War history which will be displayed at the historic Nike Missile Site HM-69, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This will be the first Nike Missile in 33 years to return to a Florida military base, originally part of a larger missile defense system built in south Florida in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Nike Missile Site HM-69 is the best remaining example of the four facilities constructed in south Florida. Although Everglades National Park was established to protect wildlife, in response to the gravity of the situation, park managers issued the U.S. Army a permit to build the base within the park. In 1966, A Battery moved to a permanent missile site, HM-69, inside Everglades National Park.
Did You Know?
In the 1800s John James Audubon noted that the sky was often darkened by the flocks of numerous birds above. Since the early 20th century, around 93% of the wading bird population has vanished. Much of the wildlife left in south Florida depends on Everglades National Park for a home.