Blazing Skies: Air Defense Artillery on Fort Bliss, Texas, 1940-2009

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9780160822100: Blazing Skies: Air Defense Artillery on Fort Bliss, Texas, 1940-2009

The book is an authoritative history on the Army Air Defense Artillery Branch on Fort Bliss, Texas. Fort Bliss in 1940 was a cavalry post located on the Texas border. The post itself occupied the sixth location of what had been called Fort Bliss. In the summer of 1940 a number of Army National Guard antiaircraft regiments were called to active duty to spend one year protecting American cities and territories from air attack. In September the first antiaircraft regiment, the 202nd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Regiment, arrived at Fort Bliss. Over the next four years the post became an antiaircraft training center and finally the Army antiaircraft training center. After the war, Fort Bliss became the premier guided missile testing and training center for the Army. All of the Nike missile battalions deployed to protect American cities during the Cold War trained there. As time passed, Fort Bliss expanded to 1.1 million acres, one of the largest Army posts in the world. By 1946, the antiaircraft arm was the owner of Fort Bliss. By 1957, the post had become the Air Defense Center and School for the United States Army. This book is the story of that progression until the Base Realignment and Closure announcement in 2005. By 2011, the Air Defense Artillery Center and School will be located at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. This will end the era of Air Defense Artillery ownership of Fort Bliss, Texas 

 

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From the Back Cover:

In September 1940, Fort Bliss, Texas was a far-flung desert post occupied by the 1st Cavalry Division, still mounted on horseback in the modern age. On September 20, a new unit arrived at the plainport railroad siding that would change the post for almost seventy years.

The 202nd Coast Artillery Regiment/antiaircraft was the first of many antiaircraft and Air Defense Artillery units that came to Fort Bliss. The Tularosa Valley north of the post provided almost year around good weather and the land offered vast maneuver and range areas for air defense weapons that needed open air space. The city of El Paso also provided a friendly community for soldiers as well.

Thus began a period of almost seventy years of air defense training on Fort Bliss. Over the years the Air Defense Artillery came to dominate the post until 2005, when the Department of Defense made the decision to move the ADA Center and School to Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

This is a brief record of the Air Defense Artillery on Fort Bliss. Its title, Blazing Skies,
Evokes the memory of the dreaded air defense operational readiness evaluation. Thousands OF Air Defense Artillery soldiers lived, trained, and workers in the hot sun of the ranges. This book forms a remembrance of those times.

FIRST TO FIRE!

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