Historic Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
San Francisco Defense Area Site SF-37, Coyote Hills/Newark
History by Daniel M. Sebby, Military Historian, California Military Department
In 1956, the U.S. Army established an air defense missile site on the Site officially known as San Francisco Defense Site SF-37. As with all U.S. Army air defense missile sites of this period, the missile battery was divided into three functional areas.

The Administrative Area (SF-37A; also known as the cantonment area or facility area) contained the Site's administrative and support functions. This included troop housing and messing, recreational facilities, battery administration, supply buildings, and vehicle maintenance facilities. The buildings were of a standard concrete block construction and were heated by fuel oil (Morgan and Berhow 2002).

The Control Area (SF-37C; also known as the Integrated Fire Control area) was the location of the Site's radar and fire control systems. The Control Area was located two miles to the south and allowed for 360-degree "line-of-site" radar coverage by the Site's tracking and search radar systems. The missile tracking radar would "lock-on" to the missiles as they sat on the launcher and follow them from launch to impact with the target. The Control Area was located away from the Launcher Area because the high speed of the Nike missiles would have destroyed the mechanisms of the missile tracking radar.

The Launcher Area (SF-37L) was located to the northwest of the Administrative Area and consisted of 12 launchers and three magazines (also known as underground storage "bunkers") that held a total of 30 MIM-3 Nike-Ajax multi-stage, surface-to-air missiles. The Nike-Ajax missile required special facilities for the fuelling of the Ajax (second-stage) portion of the missile. The liquid fuel used for the Ajax was a combination of dimethyl hydrazine and red fuming nitric acid. The Nike portion (booster or first-stage) used a solid fuel which did not require on-Site fueling. Additionally, the Launcher Area consisted of missile and warhead assembly, crew readiness, and security buildings (Morgan and Berhow 2002).

The Site was garrisoned by the U.S. Army's Battery D, 740th Antiaircraft Artillery Missile Battalion (1956 through September 1958); Battery D, 4th Missile Battalion, 61st Artillery Regiment (September 1958 through July 1960). The California Army National Guard's Battery C, 1st Missile Battalion, 250th Artillery Regiment garrisoned the Site from July 1959 until March 1963 when the garrison was inactivated and the Site was deactivated (Morgan and Berhow 2002).
The Launcher and Administrative Areas have been incorporated into the Coyote Hills Regional Park, a unit of the East Bay Regional Park District. The Control Area is a communications facility and law enforcement training area for the County of Alameda.

Aerial Photos, Circa 1965
Launch (SF-37L) and Administration (SF-37A) Areas
Integrated Fire Control (SF-37C) Area


Search our Site!
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
Updated 8 February 2016