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16 April 2005. Add Google satellite photo. See new NSA facility nearby:

22 June 2002. Since this file was presented in April, higher resolution photographs have become available on MapQuest for closest-in views. They have been added with overviews of the RSOC area. The munitions bunkers to the left of the RSOC appears to be the former Medina National Stockpile Site (NSS), based on the the remnants of a double-fencing security system typical of nuclear weapons storage areas (WSAs).

From the report Taking Stock: Worldwide Nuclear Deployments 1998, by William M. Arkin, Robert S. Norris and Joshua Handler, published in March 1998 by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Texas also hosted two of the original National Stockpile Sites (NSS). Killeen Base (“Site B”) at Fort Hood, Texas, was the first of the initial three (with Manzano Base and Clarksville Base) to receive weapons, in 1948. The second NSS was Medina Base at Lackland AFB, San Antonio. The original storage area was constructed between 1953 and 1955. In 1959, the AEC built a Modification Center at Medina Base for disassembling weapons and storage operations for the military ceased.

On November 13, 1961 an explosion involving 123,000 pounds of chemical high explosive components of nuclear weapons occurred at Medina. On the southern boundary of the Medina facility workmen were placing subassemblies from dismantled atomic bombs in a storage igloo [photo below]. The subassemblies, which were being stored for further processing and disposal, contained chemical high explosives, aluminum, natural and depleted uranium. No longer covered by the metal bomb shell, the subassemblies were being stored in metal and plastic explosive cases which had openings on their surfaces leaving the explosive exposed. They were handled by a three-man crew—two fork lift operators who moved them from a straddle carrier into the igloo and one man on the carrier.

Most of the load was in the igloo when at about 10:24 the explosive in one of the subassemblies ignited. Seeing the flash, the drivers sprinted for cover, alerting the men outside. For about 45 seconds the explosive burned. Then it detonated with a force of over 60 tons of TNT. The first explosion set off other subassemblies in the igloo and those still on the carrier. The igloo disappeared in a cloud of smoke and dust, leaving a crater some twenty feet deep.

In the 45 seconds between ignition and detonation the three workers got away. Their injuries were minor. Adjacent igloos were not disturbed. The shock was felt for miles. Windows were shattered in downtown San Antonio, twelve miles away. This is one of the 32 acknowledged “Broken Arrows” or serious nuclear weapon accident confirmed by the Pentagon. The disassembly/modification work continued at Medina until 1965, when all functions were transferred to Pantex.

More on active nuclear weapon storage areas:

May 1, 2002. B. writes:

"Moyock" is a Naval Security Group facility: its actual name is Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA) Northwest. The large circularly disposed antenna array is an AN/FRD-10, and its purpose is radio interception and high-frequency direction-finding (HF-DF). The site is or was part of the NSG's BULLSEYE HF-DF net, more recently called the CROSSHAIR net. According to this note the Northwest array has recently been dismantled:

The big circles at Sugar Grove also used to contain FRD-10s, but I think those ones have been scrapped too. Many FRD-10 sites have been closed, both in the US and around the world (the two Canadian sites, Masset and Gander, are still operating, however). If you want to eyeball the whole US set, I think the current operational list is NSGA Winter Harbor, MA, NSGA San Diego, CA, NSGA Sabana Seca, PR, NSGA Wahiawa, HI.

There is also an array of some kind at Medina RSOC, possibly operated by NSGA Medina, but I can't tell from the overhead image what kind of array it is, and since the RSOC was originally an Air Force facility, it might be an AN/FLR-9, which seems to have been the array typically used by the Air Force. (There's a FLR-9 at Elmendorf, AK, and there are or were several others around the world, but I don't know if there are any in the CONUS.) More likely, the Medina array would be an AX-16 "Pusher", or some system like that, since the circle looks too small for a FLR-9.

Speaking of RSOCs, there are also RSOCs at Fort Gordon, GA and Kunia, HI and another RSOC or RSOC-like facility at Buckley ANG (Denver, CO).

27 April 2002. Thanks to B.

Regional SIGINT Operations Centers (RSOCs) are NSA communications interception installations located around the world.


A description of Medina Regional SIGINT Operations Center activities:


MapQuest photo in April 2002.

MapQuest photo in June 2002. Note expansion of central RSOC.

Antenna to the west of the RSOC.

Appears to former site of Wullenweber antenna.

Unknown facility, perhaps for weapons disassembly/modification; "igloo" is conical structure.

Unknown facility, perhaps for weapons disassembly/modification; "igloos" are conical structures.