Camp Nutley - aka Camp Avondale
CAMP NUTLEY - Plaque dedication, historical talk, Sept. 22, 2011 Slide show
THE PLASTIC HELMET
ARAACOM: ARMY ANTIAIRCRAFT COMMAND
‘Remembering Camp Nutley or Camp Avondale as we knew it.
Of course a lot more open space existed. Highway Rt
21 had yet to be constructed. Mixed in with all this
three Taverns and four Grocery stores counting Cafones
at the top of East Centre St.
Large families mostly male children and there among us
Preceding the present statue of
the St Mary Priest being constructed and installed. Seeing the uniformed Army man at his post drew me in.
Then one morning instead of going to my first grade
class in Washington School I grabbed my plastic OD
army helmet, which by the way had a large crack and
headed for Camp Nutley. Greeted by a black soldier
wearing his Ridgeway hat (same hat that Fidel Castro
made famous in 1959) and brown boots the same type
issued during World War 2 with the pull across buckle
A large olive drab rectangle marked with the white star the radar screen mounted atop aimed at the New York Skyline. Stepping up the staircase and entering the darkened space a soldier sat in front of the scope marked with circles within circles.
Allowed to view the screen and see an actual
blip blip of an aircraft tracked as it crossed the
sky. Another soldier stood with earphones prepared to
alert the antiaircraft gun crews. Later realizing I
was one of the few that day allowed in the radar
trailer. The big attraction that day being the 90mm
antiaircraft artillery itself. Displayed and
demonstrated in an action drill for the benefit of the
events visitors. The battery of guns were contained in
underground bunkers being brought up on elevators.
They were swung about and elevated to show the guns
range of abilities. Seeing the soldiers performing
their duties and skills was thrilling.
By 1957 the 90mm artillery was deemed
obsolete and not capable of defending against Soviet
Bomber attack. The transition from antiaircraft
artillery to missiles was well underway. Nike Ajax and
then Nike antiaircraft missiles were replacing the
Army’s guns. Camp Nutley may have been one of the last
installations to phase out the use of the 90mm.
the Department of the Army; US ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY
HISTORY, FORT LESLEY J. McNAIR resulted in little
information concerning Camp Nutley or the Army
Antiaircraft battalions that garrisoned Camp Nutley’s
sister installations; Belleville, Englewood,
Wallington, Newark Airport, Moonachie and many others.
...For example the Nutley Sun...01/07/1954
Belleville unit Take Over Camp Nutley, Battery B Broken Up.
After being manned by a skeleton guard detail for two days Camp Nutley located in Father Glotzbach Park is new home of Battery A 98th AAA Bn formerly stationed in Branch Brook Park Belleville. Battery A moved into the Park Ave site on Friday while Battery B 72?(6)AAA Bn evacuated the ???????? Wednesday ????has been the third since the US Army took over the Park Ave grounds ????? 2? months ago.
(Continued From Page One). The
Army site will be continued to be used in the future
in development for the metropolitan Area air defense
against guided missiles. It is understood that with
the moving out of Battery B Lieut. Hooper will be
relieved of his troop command and be reassigned to the
Army staff on guided missiles at Fort Hancox.
The crew both
operated and maintained the weapon, which could fire
its 24-pound projectile 30,000 feet into the air
ARAACOM had three types of AAA battalions: 90mm, l20mm
and AW. The most numerous were the very accurate,
high-velocity 90s. With an altitude capability of
30,000 feet and a range of 14 miles, the 90mm gun was
a proven performer that had scored numerous kills
during the Second World War, especially when it was
linked to a fire control computer and fitted with VT
proximity fuses. One 90mm gun could put 20 to 25
rounds in the air every minute, so a complete battery
of four guns firing at an aircraft could put a lot of
steel on target
1/06/1955 GENERAL MOVES SWIFTLY TOWARDS CAMP CLEAN UP
Protest by town chamber of commerce against unsightly dumping on a vast area of the undeveloped Father Glotzbach Park occupied by the US Army as an air defense training post brought swift reaction by high military authorities who are understood to have ordered policing of the former quarry area by Army engineers.
11/22/1955 GRACE CHURCH WOMEN BAKE CAKES FOR CAMP NUTLEY GIs.
4/05/1956 CAMP NUTLEY SOLDIERS HAVE PAIR OF “COFFEE HOURS”
Battery A soldiers stationed in Camp Nutley, were honored...sponsored by the Nutley Chapter Red Cross and various town organizations.
2/23/1956 REINHEIMER BOY’S CLUB HOLDS BROTHER AND SISTER DANCE
from the article; “Seven soldiers of the A Battery, Camp Nutley entertained the youngsters, “The Caribe Trio” composed of Privates Suarez, Nunez and Santa Cruz played dance music and Sgt. Ray Malave was the vocalist. Pvt Chuck Davis called the square dances. Sgt Jim Harris and Pfc Loren Chamberlain sang and helped entertain.
10/17/1957 ARMY DEACTIVATES AIR DEFENSE GUNS TURNS BACK CAMP
Nutley Ordered Abandoned after seven years As “Nike” Missiles Replace Guns. The inactivation of all of the 749th Battalion installed at Englewood, Little Ferry, and Newark as well as Nutley will be completed by December 20. The Nutley Battery was part of the air defense of the New York Metropolitan area.....Consideration is being given to requesting that the mess hall be left for use as a possible clubhouse for the Nutley Boys Club...Arrangements have been made with the Army Air Defense Center at Fort Bliss Texas to assign specialist presently on duty with gun units for retraining as missile men to serve with new “Nike Hercules” crews.
12/24/1957 VETERANS COUNCIL ASKS EISENHOWER ABOUT MESS HALL.
Urges His Intercession with Army To Help
Town Boy Building For Boys.
Unlike last year's Exercise Signpost, it produced no fatal accidents. When the enormous amount of data from written reports and the photographic records of gun cameras has been assembled and analyzed, experts will write a top-secret report evaluating the readiness of North Americans to defend themselves against sneak attack.
ARAACOM was no exception to the rule that problems occur when organizations expand. Irvine's 1951 command report listed six major problems. There was a serious shortage of certain items of equipment and a critical shortage of certain specialists, especially radar repairmen. There were few firing ranges and insufficient funds to put units on permanent sites. No tactical communications linked ARAACOM headquarters through field commands to defended areas, and finally, operational procedures were lacking within ARAACOM and between ARAACOM and the Air Defense Command.
Problems could be solved within the Army, perhaps the thorniest issue, and the one that would take the longest to solve, was the last. Now that gun battalions were being deployed in defensive positions, the Air Force feared that, during an actual air battle or an inadvertent civilian flight over these defended areas, engagement would result in loss of friendly air-craft and pilots, especially passengers in the case of an airliner gone astray. A series of agreements between the two services resulted in rules of engagement, alert statuses and conditions of readiness; however, the issue of releasing units to fire at hostile aircraft was never adequately addressed.
Consequently, in July 1952, during an integrated air defense exercise called SIGNPOST, ARAACOM successfully engaged only five of 25 air strikes at areas they were to defend. Commanders held their fire due to a "guns tight" condition imposed by their local Air Force air defense division commander.
This meant AAA units could fire only at aircraft positively identified as hostile or observed committing a hostile act. With aircraft flying at altitudes of 30,000 feet, visual identification could not be made, and electronic identification was not effectively used, so identification was out of the question.
By the time the enemy penetrators had
committed a hostile act, in this case dropping
imaginary bombs, AAA was not likely to engage. In the
event of a real attack, most AAA would turn into
weapons of revenge, if they survived the bombing,
since the enemy would have already accomplished their
mission. This problem was never solved to the satisfaction of Army air
Each firing battery had 15 such SSF personnel who worked full time. The additional personnel required to round out the battery were ordinary guardsmen who drilled one weekend a month and attended a two-week camp once a year, a period AAA units usually spent on a firing range.
Generally the National Guard followed behind the
Regular Army units. When a Regular Army battalion
turned in guns for missiles, the Guard assumed
responsibility for the guns. Similarly, when the
Regular Army battalions progressed from NIKE AJAX to
NIKE HERCULES, the National Guard took over NIKE AJAX
until it was removed from the inventory. Finally, in
the 1960s, the National Guard manned the premier
systems of the time when only NIKE HERCULES units were
left in the inventory
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