Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
San Pedro Hill Air Force Station
(Los Angeles Defense Area LA-45DC)
US Army Corps of Engineers History (San Pedro Hill AFS)(1993)
On 31 March 1959, the Department of the Army obtained 31.33 acres by Declaration of Taking for the development of the San Pedro Air Force station (AFS) facility. The 31.33 acre site consisted of two parcels of land: tract number 100, encompassing 11.18 acres of fee-owned land, and tract number 100-E, an acquired easement encompassing 20.15 acres, located in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The San Pedro AFS was developed on Tract 100. Tract 100-E was a perpetual and assignable joint use easement and right of way which provided roadway access from Rancho Palos Verdes Drive to the gates of the North American Air Defense (NORAD) facility. The roadway, known as Crest Road, was maintained by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Real estate property responsibility for the entire 31.33 acre site was maintained by the US Army.

Despite US Army real estate responsibility, the US Air Force was in charge of site operations under the terms of a permit from the Department of the Army. The San Pedro AFS was used as the NORAD Joint Manual Direction Center. The NORAD radar facility was used to control Nike missiles and track airplanes using Height Finder and Air Route Surveillance radar as part of the Joint surveillance System (JSS) within the Los Angeles Defense area. Improvements to the site included operations, power and communication buildings; radar and communications towers, and utility lines. out grants for building and or land space have been issued at various times to the County of Los Angeles, Advance Electronics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Flood Control District, U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Secret Service, and the Aerospace Corporation. Three privately-owned structures were also built on the site.

The 31.33 acre site, including its improvements, was determined to be excess to the requirements of the Department of the Army and were transferred to the Department of Transportation - U.S. Coast Guard on 26 March 1982. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) acquired the site by means of an interdepartmental transfer from the Coast Guard on 7 July 1982. Crest Road has been continuously maintained by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. The FAA is currently using the facility, as a continuation of the JSS program, for tracking airplanes entering airspace in the greater Los Angeles Basin. In addition, the FAA currently operates air defense radar for March Air Force Base.
San Pedro Hills AFS circa 1963 (radomes.org)
US Army Corps of Engineers History (San Pedro Hill AFS)(1994)
Location: The former San Pedro Hill AFS is located at the top of San Pedro Hill, north of Rancho Palos Verdes Drive East, at the terminus of Crest Road in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Site History:
The San Pedro AFS site is also known as the Los Angeles Defense Area, North American Air Defense (NORAD) Center, and as the U.S. Army Nike Site, San Pedro Hill. The site was established by the Department of the Army. However, the site was occupied by the U.S. Air Force, under the terms of a permit from the Department of the Army, to provide manual direction of rocket-fire control and height finder radar within the Los Angeles Defense Area.

The installation was operated under the Joint Surveillance System (JSS), a program under the control of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The JSS was established to integrate air defense and air traffic control capabilities, avoid the duplication of facilities and functions, and assure the compatibility of national air traffic control and the nation's air traffic control and air defense facilities. The JSS planned to make the site one of 46 long-range radar installations located throughout the United States.

Fort MacArthur was the original host facility for the San Pedro Hill AFS and retained real property accountability for the site. When Fort MacArthur was deactivated, accountability for the site was transferred to Fort Ord. Even though real property accountability was maintained by the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force operated the facility under the command of the 26th Air Division at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

The former facility was used as a Nike control site for directing Nike missiles from their surface launchers to air targets. The ground equipment for the system included low and high power target acquisition radars, target and missile tracking radars, and target ranging radar. Improvements to the site included seven operations, power, and communications buildings; radar and communications towers; all necessary infrastructure and utilities. Outgrants were issued to several public agencies and private concerns to allow the use of portions of the site for radio equipment, antennae, and buildings.

The U.S. Army declared the site excess and transferred the San Pedro Hill facility to the United States Coast Guard on 26 March 1982, with the intention for joint use with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), another Department of Transportation agency. However, the Coast Guard conveyed the site to the FAA by means of interdepartmental transfer on 7 July 1982. This transfer was made contingent on issuance of a use agreement to the Coast Guard to allow use of portions of the site.

The site is still under the jurisdiction of and operated by the FAA.
US Army Corps of Engineers History (Palos Verde VHF Control Center)(1994)

Pursuant to Real Estate Directive 7189 and Declaration of Taking dated 14 April 1961, the Department of the Army acquired 31.33 acres of land for use as a site for a North American Air Defense (NORAD) Direction Center, Los Angeles Defense Area. 11.18 acres were acquired in fee from Rancho Palos Verdes Corporation, et al., and Capital Company, and 20.15 acres in road right-of-way easements from various owners.

The site was used jointly by the Army, Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a radar facility for manual direction of air defense missile control within the Los Angeles Defense Area. Improvements by the Army included eight buildings, four radar towers, five electric power substations, two electric power plants, a standby generator plant, utility systems with cable trenches, roads, sidewalks, parking areas, and fencing completed in 1975.

The NORAD Center on San Pedro Hill was reported as excess to General Service Administration on 7 August 1975. All of the 31.33 acres were transferred to the FAA on 18 September 1975. Currently sixteen different agencies and companies operate or maintain communications equipment on site by lease from the Department of Transportation
Other Online Histories
Fortwiki: http://www.fortwiki.com/San_Pedro_Hill_Air_Force_Station
Radomes: http://www.radomes.org/cgi-bin/museum/acwinfo2x.cgi?site=%22Fort+MacArthur+(San+Pedro),+CA%22&key=FortMacArthurSanPedroCA&pic=FortMacArthurSanPedroCA&doc=FortMacArthurSanPedroCA&www=FortMacArthurSanPedroCA
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Updated 8 February 2016