Unit Histories

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The purpose of this page is to present the histories of units in the NIKE program.

( I, Ed Thelen, will be delighted to give this section to someone else. :-)

All below from Ralph Liebing

Table of Contents

from Liebing, Ralph




The history of the 2d Group dates back to 1821, with the founding of its parent unit, the 2d Regiment of Artillery. Formed in June, 1821, the history of the 2d Artillery Regiment represents a long and distinguished military tradition.

Soon after its formation it served in the Indian Wars, taking an active part in the Florida Campaign against the Seminole Indians. During the Mexican War of 1846, the 2d Artillery Regiment served in the campaign of 1847 directed by General Winfield Scott. It was this campaign that ultimately led to the capture of the Mexican capital, Mexico City, and the successful ending of the war.

It was during the civil War that the 2d Artillery Regiment compiled an impressive record of military service-- serving at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania and many other famous battles.

Following the Civil War, the unit remained an active component of the Army until 1901, when it was broken up and its batteries redesigned as companies of Coast Artillery.

In 1924, the unit was reconstituted and activated as the 2d Coast Artillery Regiment and its old batteries assigned to it. For eight years it was assigned to the Panama Canal Department, then in 1932 was reorganized at Fort Monroe, VA.

The newer era of the 2d Group's history begins in 1942 when a 2d Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Group was constituted in the Army of the United States, and subsequently served in the European Theater of Operations, participating in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe campaigns. In 1942, it was redesignated as the 2d Antiaircraft Artillery Group, and in June, 1950 the Headquarters and Headquarters Batteries of the 2d Coast Artillery Regiment [HD] and the 2d AAA Group were merged. The consolidated unit was activated on 10 June 1951 at Camp Edwards, MA, as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2d Antiaircraft Artillery Group.

With the formation of the Niagara-Buffalo Army Air Defense Command in 1952, the 2d AAA Group moved to Fort Niagara, NY. On 20 March, 1958, it was designated the 2d Artillery Group [Air Defense]. It was felt that the new name better reflected the mission of the unit responsibility, at that time, for the Army' defense of the vital Niagara-Buffalo population and industrial complex. The Group was commanded by a full Colonel.

In the summer of 1960, the Group activated its automated command center, which utilized the Martin-Marietta Company's MISSILE MASTER equipment and configuration. The MM detachment was co0located with Air Force electronic and manual plotting and interceptor control personnel at the Lockport, NY Air Force Station


from Liebing, Ralph





The history of the 2d Missile Battalion [NIKE-HERCULES], 62d Artillery, dates back to the War of 1812. Units from which the 62d Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion descended participated in six wars-- the War of 1812, Indian Wars, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and the Philippine Insurrection.

Down through the periods following the organization of the 62d Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps, January 1918, in the National Army at Fort Winfield Scott, CA., the 62d went through many changes and redesignations. demobilized March 1919, Fort Eustis, VA; consolidated with reconstituted 62d Artillery, Coast Artillery [Antiaircraft], May 1942; Regiment broken up, March, 1944; 2d Battalion reorganized and redesignated 693d Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion inactivated, December, 1945 in Germany; redesignated 50th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, October 1948; activated, June, 1949, Fort Bliss, TX; redesignated 50th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, March, 1953; inactivated, June, 1958 in Korea; consolidated with headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 80th Antiaircraft Artillery Group, 62d Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion and the 331st Antiaircraft Artillery Searchlight Battalion to form the elements of the 62d Artillery activated September 1958. These elements are;

The battalion moved from Fort Niagara, NY to Lancaster, NY, 20 November, 1957, and was reorganized as the 2d Missile Battalion [NIKE_HERCULES], 62d Artillery, 1 September, 1958.

The designation of the 2d Missile Battalion [NIKE-HERCULES], 62d Artillery to its portion of Air Defense within the Niagara Frontier is a fitting tribute to the gallant heritage exemplified by its ancestral participation in 44 combat campaigns.


from Liebing, Ralph





The history of the 1st Missile Battalion, 4th Artillery, dates back to 1 June, 1821, when the parent unit, the 4th Artillery Regiment, was organized from existing independent companies of artillery. The battalion inherits twenty-five of its twenty-six battle honors from Batteries I and K. Battery I originated in 1817 as Peter's Company Corps of Artillery, Southern Division, and served as Battery I, 4th Artillery Regiment, during the entire life of the regiment [1821-1901]. Battery K was organized in 1838 and served with the regiment until it was dissolved in 1901.

During the life of the 4th Artillery Regiment, Batteries I and K served gallantly in five engagements during he Indian Wars, three engagements during the Mexican War, and seventeen engagements during the Civil War.

In 1901, the 4th Artillery Regiment was broken up into independent batteries of the Corps of Artillery, but in 1924 it was reconstituted and reorganized as the 4th Coast Artillery Regiment and assigned to the Panama Canal Department. It was there that Batteries L and M were constituted as new batteries of the regiment, the 3rd Battalion consisting of Batteries I, K, L, and M. The twenty-sixth battle honor was awarded the regiment for its service in Panama during World War II. When in 1944 the 4th Coast Artillery Regiment was again reorganized into the 4th Coast Artillery Battalion [HD], the 3rd Battalion was concurrently disbanded.

The 3rd Battalion, 4th Coast artillery Regiment, was reconstituted and redesignated as the 44th AAA Gun Battalion at Camp Stewart, GA, on 1 April 1951. The battalion arrived at Lewiston, NY in October, 1952 to establish its portion of the AAA defense of the Niagara Frontier. On 22 March 1955 the battalion was redesignated as the 44th AAA Missile Battalion [NIKE] and soon thereafter became the first operational NIKE battalion in the defense of the Niagara-Buffalo area.

The Department of the Army has since redesigned the 44th as the 1st Missile Battalion [NIKE-HERCULES], 4th Artillery Regiment, in keeping with the conversion from AJAX to HERCULES missiles, and as part of the Army-wide program to reorganize separate battalions into elements of famous regiments. It is significant that a battalion carrying the colors and heritage of the valiant 4th Artillery Regiment should defend the Niagara Frontier with the most advanced operational air defense weapons.

The 1st Battalion was made up of a headquarters battery, and Batteries B and C. Batteries A and D were eliminated from an active status by reduction to zero strength. Battery A was turned over to the 2d Missile Battalion, 106th Artillery, NY Army National Guard on 8 August 1960. Batteries B and C are both double batteries, each having NIKE-AJAX, and NIKE-HERCULES fire units.


from Liebing, Ralph







The detachment was organized using personnel reassigned from the firing batteries with the addition of newly trained officers who finished their Officers' Basic Missile Course at Ft. Bliss, TX. The unit was located in the specifically constructed, bomb-proof Missile aster Building, at the Lockport Air Force Station, Routes 425, and 31, just west of Lockport, NY.

The command center was in communication with, and directed fire from all NFBU Defense firing batteries, and later firing batteries which had been turned over to the NY National Guard.

The operational staff of this detachment consisted of a Lt. Colonel who was Detachment Leader, a Major Assistant, and approximately 8 enlisted personnel with administrative duties. Four "shifts" were formed to man the Operations Room and equipment on a 24-hour basis. The shifts created their own work schedule which called for a shift to work 8-hours, and then off 24 hours, on a rotating basis; weekends called for 2 shifts to be off, while another worked 8 am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday, and the fourth worked 6pm-8am. Each shift ran this schedule each month.

The shifts each were commanded by a Captain, with 4 Lieutenants, and 22 enlisted persons. Two Lieutenants were assigned as S&E officers [Surveillance and Entry] who used raw radar data to identify aircraft targets. The two others were Tactic Monitors who received the targets on synthetic electronic screens and who then assigned firing batteries to each target. This worked to prevent overkill on any one target, and prevented insertion of a target with no firing action.

The detachment was supported by a small [10-15 persons] Signal Corps unit, which supplied spare parts for the equipment, and other trouble-shooting and maintenance activities. Also, the detachment was fully supported by the 2d Group command structure and facilities located at Fort Niagara, NY.

If you have comments or suggestions, Send e-mail to Ed Thelen

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Last updated (Ralph's e-mail address) June 1, 2010