as Fire Control Panel Operator and Launcher Section Chief
176 AAA Battalion Crest
Sign at PH 75, also known as 'B' Battery
176 AAA Missile Battalion
The Edgemont Nike Missile Base, designated PH 75 or Battery 'B', 176 AAA Missile Battalion, was located approximately 15 miles west of center city Philadelphia. The base was sometimes referred to as PH75/76, as the Edgemont base was one of the few dual batteries housing two complete, independent sets of fire control and launcher equipment. The Control Area-which contained the radar equipment for searching for enemy aircraft and controling the missiles-was on Delchester Road North of West Chester Pike (State Highway 3) in Willistown Township and the Launch Area-where the missiles were assembled, maintained and stored-was also on Delchester Road a half-mile South of the highway. It was not uncommon for the two sections to be in different townships. The site was chosen for its high terrain necessary for the radar equipment. The base was part of a ring of 12 Nike Bases built by the US Army to protect the City of Philadelphia in the advent of an enemy air attack, a threat during the Cold War years. Major metropolitian areas in the US were protected by these rings of Nike bases from the mid 1950's until 1974.
The Edgemont base was activated in May 1955 with about 100 men stationed there. The $1 million facility began operation before most of the buildings were completed. While the Barracks were being completed the enlisted men and officers slept in Jamesway huts, constructed of a double layer of canvas on a wood frame and housing about a dozen men.
The base was later converted into a dual site with the addition of Nike Hercules missiles along with the Nike Ajax missiles. Additional personnel was added at this time. After 1963, only the five bases in the Philadelphia Defence Area that housed the Hercules missiles remained in operation. Less bases were needed with the more advanced Hercules.
The base was deactivated by the mid 1970's along with the remaining 48 Nike facilities in the US and abroad.
Today the Control Area is used by the Deleware County Highway Department and the Launch Area is home to US Army Reserve 157th Support Battalion.