Everglades National Park houses one of the best preserved relics of the Cold War in Florida, a historic Nike Hercules missile site called "Alpha Battery" or "HM69".
A Historic Site
The site remains virtually the same as it was when official use of the site ended in 1979. Construction of the site by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was completed in 1965, just after the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. At the time, the nation's air defenses were positioned to protect against a possible Soviet air attack over the North Pole and thus, this and other anti-aircraft missile sites were established to protect against a possible air attack from the south. The Nike Hercules missile site was listed on the U.S. Department of the Interior Register of Historic Places on July 27, 2004 as a Historic District.
The area includes 3 missile barns, a missile assembly building, a guard dog kennel, barracks, 2 Nike Hercules missiles, and various support elements. HM69 was also significant because of the technology employed. The South Florida Nike Hercules sites were integrated with Hawk missile sites to provide an all altitude defensive capability around South Florida. Approximately 140 soldiers staffed the 3 above-ground missile barns of HM69 to protect against an air attack from Cuba. The personnel of HM69, along with the members of other South Florida units, received the Army Meritorious Unit Commendation which was one of the few times that it was awarded for deterrence rather than engagement with the enemy.
Visiting the Site
Visitors may visit the site most days between early December and late March. There is an open house program, as well as Ranger-guided tours. Our visitor programs fluctuate due to seasonal changes and staffing capability. Please check with the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center or view our park calendar for scheduled programs at the site.
What: Coinciding with the park's 75th anniversary is the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The HM-69 Nike Missile Site built inside Everglades National Park represented South Florida's first line of defense against potential air attack from Cuba in the 1960's and 70's. Join special guest speakers and Nike veterans for an open house and guided tour, as they share their stories and discuss lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis and its implications for avoiding future nuclear conflicts.
For further details and how to register, please visit our calendar.
A Unit Roster of the 2nd Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery lists those who served at the South Florida sites. Please contact us with corrections / additions.
Volunteering at the Nike Missile Site HM-69
Are you interested in supporting Nike Missile Site HM-69? A new group of volunteers have recently come together as the "Friends of Everglades Nike Site". If you would like to be added to the email list and informed of opportunities to be involved, please email the site coordinator.