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The multiple uses of Two Creeks Air Force Station

Logo for the 700th Radar Squadron

The Two Creeks Air Force station has had multiple different functions and units based there in its short life. This base started out as a mobile radar station to support the Air Defense Command (ADC) Radar network that operated around the perimeter of the United States and has had multiple non-military functions as well.


Cause of Closing

The Two Creeks Air Force base was plagued by a lack of funding from its beginning with construction and equipment delays. . After site became operational in 1954, two years after its planned date, the 700th Aircraft Control and Warning squad was relocated to this site from Willow Run Air Force station in Michigan. This lasted for just under three years when budget cuts closed the station on November 30th. During this time the 37th Air Division was also stationed at this location from July 1956 until its closer in November (Cornett& Johnson).

Two Creeks got another life again when the Antigo Air Force station used it as a “gap filler” site. The FPS-18 short range search radar and FST-1 Coordinate Data transmitters were deployed and used remotely with maintenance crews providing the required maintenance to keep the equipment up and running. The function of this site was to provide radar coverage in locations that lacked radar coverage from the main base. The base was finally shut down in 1968 and only buildings remain as a reminder that the base was ever there (Antigo Air Force Station).


Impact as a Nike Missile Site

This base got a new life in 1958 when the United States Army renamed the site Tisch Mills and used it as a Nike Missile radar station (Information for Two Creeks). This site was one of the 275 Nike sites that were built in 29 states. The purpose of these sites was to defend the United States from Soviet bombers and was the first missile defense network in the world (Smoley).

Many of these Nike sites have been forgotten about from public knowledge. This is mainly due to the fact that they never had to do what they were designed to do, and that is shooting down Soviet bombers entering United States air space. The biggest attack against the Nike system, which was operated by the Army, came from proponents of a different missile defense system called the BOMARC which was operated by the Air Force. This group of people claimed that a Nike missile was not capable of hitting a high speed and altitude bomber (Smoley). The end result of this debate was many more Nike sites being constructed around the country.

Even though these Nike sites they were an important part of the National Defense strategy, they were not immune to being shut down either.  An article from the Chicago Tribune in 1971 announced the closing of 27 missile sites and “11 other Nike units”. This was based on “the strategic importance of the defended areas, the retention of the maximum number of missile sites, and providing the best all-around coverage” and this decision saved $31 million per year which is equal to $43.86 million today (Nike Missile Bases). Restructuring the military like this is not an uncommon thing. In World War two the military restructured but this was an $8 billion dollar expansion.


Non-Military Usages

After being decommissioned as a military site, Two Creeks was used for multiple, wide ranging non-military applications which include a trailer park and an organic farm. In November 2007 Paul and Katherine Priester bought 14.8 acres of Two Creeks to start a pick-your-own organic berry farm. In order to do this they had to remove 600 tires along with 15 trailer homes from the property (Herzog).  These new owners have plans to turn old military buildings into farm builds as well.

Contacting libraries near site to get  more information over break.

Primary Sources

  1. Herzog, K. (2009, September 4). Planting Peace: Family Converts Military Radar and Missile Site to Organic Farm.
  2. McGuire, M. (1968, Dec 13). Pick Libertyville as missile site. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current File)
  3. Nike Missile Bases Face June Closing. (1971, Mar 04). Chicago Tribune (1963-Current File)

Secondary Sources

  1. Antigo Air Force Station
  2. Cornett, L. H., Jr., & Johnson, M. W. (1980, December 31). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization.
  3. Information for Two Creeks Air Force base
  4. Smoley, J. K. (2008). Seizing victory from the jaws of deterrence: Preservation and public memory of America’s Nike air defense missile system (Order No. 3342049). Available from SciTech Premium Collection. (230777183).