The Cold War at Fort Hancock
Fort Hancock’s long history in defense of New York continued after the Second World War. New defenses, however, were no longer needed from sea attack, but instead from the sky. 90mm Anti-Aircraft guns were emplaced in the early 1950s. These guns were replaced by Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM). The Nike Missile was the last defensive weapon system located at Fort Hancock.
From 1954 until 1974, the Nikes guarded the New York area. Soldiers assigned to Nike batteries at Fort Hancock worked in one of two locations, the Missile Launch Area or the Integrated Fire Control Area (IFC). The two locations were one mile from each other along Hartshorne Drive.
These soldiers lived on site in ready barracks when they were on 24-hour duty shifts. When they were not on duty they were housed in Barracks 74 in Fort Hancock. Barracks 74, a double barracks, served as not only housing for the soldiers, but the mess hall and the administrative headquarters for the batteries.
Click here to learn more about the Cold War and Nike Missile Defenses.
Did You Know?
Fort Wadsworth, located on Staten Island at the Narrows (next to the Verrazano Bridge), is one of the oldest military sites in the nation. This site has controlled the entrance to New York Harbor since the Washington administration.