- GETTING READY FOR 2016:
A Call to Action
- Action Item:
- History Lesson
- Year Accomplished:
Everglades National Park partnered with high school students at the George T. Baker Aviation School to return a Nike Hercules Missile to the site where it once stood watch over South Florida. In August of 2012, Everglades National Park acquired a 40 foot Nike Hercules Missile which would be housed at the Nike Missile Site located within the Park. The missile needed serious refurbishing which the students of the George T. Baker Aviation School willing took on! In just a few short weeks the students repaired and painted this piece of history just in time for the Park's Nike Veterans Reunion Event in October. The reunion engaged over 40 veterans and their families in a site visit to the Park to be a part of the first unveiling of the newly refurbished Nike Missile. The reunion commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. As these U.S. Army Veterans toured the site memories and stories poured out. Once highly classified, these soldiers could now relive and talk about their experiences with family, friends and fellow soldiers. For many of the Veterans this event mark their first time back in Everglades National Park since the Cold War.
The Nike Missile Site was one of four sites constructed in South Florida during the Cold War. Today it remains the best preserved of the four sites. In 2004 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Comments by Veterans after the reunion:
"Thanks again for everything that all of you did. It's nice to know that A Battery will remain strong with the Park Service." -Gary Smith 1977-1979
"The reunion was even more than I had expected and I actually cried when I saw that missile looking so pretty in the old missile barn. Caught me off guard that it would cause me to have such strong emotion, but I was happy that it did. I can't tell you how much all of us appreciate what you have done." -Rick Roode 1969-1970