Back to Home Page

?Benign? Neglect
SF-88 Nike Artifacts are Rusting Away

I started this web page in 2015, filled with disappointment and disgust.
- Aug 2016 - updates added :-((
- March 2018 - similar at Everglades Nation Park?

Executive Summary
Many volunteers feel that NPS middle management wishes this Nike site would "just go away". Letting the artifacts crumble into rust (while spending money ineffectively painting the insides of buildings) is the first step.

The Nation Park Service has long supported the restoration and maintenance of SF-88. Thank you :-))
Some serious money has been spent rewinding motors, hydraulic fluid, painting magazine elevator doors, great ranger/managers, and the needed road maintenance, porta-potty, phone, drinking water, electric power, security, grass mowing, ...

BUT I think I see a serious problem that is being ?largely? ignored by mid management of the Nation Park Service (NPS).

Insides of buildings are being painted and over-growth (trees 100 meters away) are being removed
The the Nike vans, missiles, launchers ( the interesting artifacts of the site ) are rusting away in the salt water mist from the Pacific Ocean, about a half mile away.

For the price of removing some far away trees, some emergency corrosion stoppage and paint could stop some devastating and unsightly corrosion of these scarce, interesting historic defense artifacts.

I "found" SF-88 in 1996, when restoration was up to the current level (2018). Note the little rust and corrosion.
This picture was taken with a film camera in 1998. Note the ?fresh? yellow paint and medium rust. The tow truck is now (2018) a rusting hulk behind the war head building. 1998 photo enlarged to show the unrusted launcher rack foot. No rust visible.
The purpose of the following pictures and text is to highlight this (preventable) damage to artifacts visible to the visiting public.
Seemingly the worst "important" - the racks to permit missiles to be moved to various launchers Seemingly the worst "unimportant" - Launcher Area Magazine Ventilation
Standing tall,
but rusty :-((
Launcher under missile,
could pass inspection.
Not this sad thing:-((
Aug 2016 - Instead of spending ?$15? on yellow paint, and letting volunteers prep & paint, NPS got some specially tailored weaker (completely not Nike) doors made, which still need to have ?contractor? paint to match the yellow surface decor.
Assembly bldg.
We and some NPS folks painted the inside
but the outside is in trouble.
April 2, 2016 update - this corner much better, vertical 4x4 wood replaced and painted. Cross beam looks "new" and painted. Door is in less risk of falling off :-))
Radar Control van,
looking sad
Ventilation doors,
last year, a promise to fix and paint. ...
Aug 2016 - These ventilation doors now cannot be closed and secured. The fasteners have rusted away. Salty Pacific spray now has free access to the inside of the van.
Battery Control van siren.
Yes, bottom back side is gone, inside corroding.
NPS has grabbed "our" spare, but paperwork delays ...
One on e-bay, but not an artifact.

photo by Greg Brown
The BC van siren a year later (June 2017). The back side is now corroded away. Susan of NPS keeps losing the paperwork to let us get a spare from storage. There is now a Tupperware bowl inside to help protect the motor.
This is a sample of the ?mould? attacking the south side of the BC van. The NPS won't let free volunteers clean/paint the outsides of the vans, and won't pay others to do it either.    

It is important to remember:
- these are largely one of a kind remaining artifacts
- under direct control of NPS, no amateur preservative/paint applying allowed -

- March 2018 - similar at Everglades Nation Park?
Subject: Nike Hercules Eliminated from ENP Vintage Day
From: "Ted Swanson" < > Date: Sat, Mar 03, 2018 4:01 am To: ...


[To:] Everglades National Park - Barbara Hedges,
     Just saw the newspaper write up on the 2018 Everglades National Park “Vintage Day” event ! And the photo from 2017.
     Just to think in the 2017 event the Nike Hercules Veterans and the Nike Hercules missile were “Accidentally” forgotten on the listing of events.
     When you “photo shop” out the Nike Hercules missile of the 2017 photo - - THERE IS NO MISTAKE - - you do not really care for the Veterans that defended our country !
     It is interesting to see that your contempt for Veterans and their service is really your true colors.

Ted Swanson Nike Hercules Veteran


I’m sorry that you are offended by the fact that the missile was deleted from the group photo. I can assure you that decision was made in the spirit of conveying the total message of Vintage Everglades Day, and not out of disrespect for any one story of the Everglades. Your passion for this important part of Everglades history is admirable. I’m concerned that you perceived this as “contempt.”

Barbara Hedges
Everglades National Park Volunteer Coordinator,
Vintage Everglades Day


What??? how can she say by 'eliminating' the picture of the missile somehow 'conveys the whole story'??? that is convoluted thinking.....when something is deleted, it certainly lessens the 'whole story'.....whoever was at the head of this 'photo shopped' picture is against what our military stands for and thinks they can erase history by destroying pictures and tearing down's like throwing whitewash on something that needs repaired (and in this case, understood and treasured)...shame on this type of 'fake news' or in this case 'fake picture'..

You may send this to the powers that be who don't have the courage to report the 'whole story'....and thereby would have earned more respect by being honest and showing that during a time of crisis in this country that we thank God we had men and women defending our great land.