Southwest Florida is rich with nature as well as history. Did you know that deep within the Everglades National Park there is an abandoned Nike Hercules Missile Site that was built there in the 60’s as a precautionary measure for the Cold War? This is site is called Alpha Battery or HM-69. HM-69’s main purpose was to act as an anti-aircraft missile site in case the enemies of the state attacked. And since they never did, the missile site has terminated its operations in 1979 but it still looks the same as it had in the seventies. And thus, the former launching site was declared a part of the National Register of Historic places on 2004.
The missile site boats of amazing things to see and learn about. There are 22 buildings scattered around this vast open facility and they all have something significant to share into the American history. Today, you can still see three missile barns, a missile assembly warehouse, military barracks and even dog kernels. What made the Alpha Battery an important site at the time of the Cold War was that it housed HAWK missiles that were fully integrated into the facility to deliver maximum destruction in case Southwest Florida needed some missiles intercepted from the would-be enemies of the state.
Nike Hercules Missiles were massive surface-to-air missiles that can shoot down planes and other unwanted things from the sky. However, it can also act as a surface-to-surface missile which can pulverize enemy units on the ground. This bad boy weighs 10 thousand pounds and is 41 feet long. Deadly as it may be, this model went through several upgrades over the years and now it’s called MIM 14.
During its operational years, the Alpha Battery had as many as 140 personnel and this was only in those three missile barn areas, obviously there were more crew in the other parts of the site. These personnel along with several Florida Units received the very distinctive Army Meritorious Unit Commendation. This was one of the few times this award was handed out to soldiers who served to build defenses rather than engaging in offensive attacks against enemies. Their efforts had been contributory to the proudest moments of the region’s history. Today, the Missile Site conducts guided tours from December to April and accepts people composed of groups of 20 although actual dates and tour schedules may vary.
For more historically relevant sites and museums across Southwest Florida, check out our Articles section. You may also want to go to our Tourist Guide section where we show you awesome places you can visit in Fort Myers and Bonita Springs. However, if you’re new to the place and would need some product or a service on-the-go, try our Business Directory page where we connect you to the best local business owners and skilled workers in this side of the country. Or, you may drop by our office in 4th Ave South in downtown Naples to talk about tour packages that you may need.