How do I do research on NIKE Air Defense Missile Sites?
The NIKE air defense program fielded three generations of missiles: the NIKE-AJAX, the NIKE-HERCULES, and the NIKE-ZEUS. The United States Army developed them and issued them to units deployed both inside and outside of the boundaries of the Continental United States.
Locating records of the NIKE program involves determining which agency was the originating agency for the information that you need, and understanding how that material was preserved and retired.
Research and development records normally were retired in a regular process by the various agencies and subordinate staff elements, and requests for information from or access to those records should be addressed to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Division. Before beginning the search for records, however, a historian would be well advised to contact the various historical offices of the successor agencies to learn if the historians assigned to them ever compiled monographic studies or assembled background historical files.
Finding the records of an individual operational NIKE site is a more difficult research problem, because the records themselves have been split into several locations.
Records relating to the procurement and construction of the individual sites normally were withdrawn from other Army record holdings, and now are normally housed in either the Engineer District Offices of the US Army Corps of Engineers, or in the responsible regional site of the National Archives and Records Administration (the regional archives division of the nearest Federal Records Center). We suggest that the first step in attempting to locate those materials should be to contact the archivist at the Historical Office of the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Both the Regular Army and the Army National Guard contained NIKE units. The first step in searching for unit records should be to determine if the unit in question belonged to the Army National Guard; if so, then the records probably are still in the custody of the individual state's Adjutant General. Most NIKE unit records created by the Regular Army, and possibly some Army National Guard ones, should have been sent to the Military Operational Archives, National Personal Records Center, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63132. That agency has indicated that records which can be identified contain correspondence, charts, plans, architectural drawings, but are not consistent in content. If records are not at St. Louis, contact the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Division.