Fortunate in Fortuna

Copyright 2012, Scott D. Murdock


This trip was scheduled due to the imminent demolition of the structures at Fortuna AFS, North Dakota. This was new territory for me, way up north--just a few miles from the border with Canada.

Friday, 29 Jun 2012

I departed Denver at 0445, heading north.

Douglas Instrument Route (RBS) Site WY (FJUS) Located at 43-14-35, 105-15-22, this was a radar bomb scoring facility. It was probably activated in the 1980s, and in May 1992 it was transferred from Ellsworth AFB SD to Francis E. Warren AFB WY. It was disposed of on 31 August 1994.
(General view from road)

(General view from road)

(General view from road)

Fort Keogh MT This property was acquired by the Army in 1878, to serve as a general remount depot. It adjoins Miles City, and the cantonment area is centered at 46-22-50, 105-53-00. The 64,000 acre installation provided pasturage and farming to prepare animals for issue to the Army. In 1924 it was transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who still operate approximately 55,000 acres as the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory.
(Stable)

(Stable)

(Remount depot mess hall)

(Remount depot mess hall)

(Water wagon shed)

(Water wagon shed)

(Water wagon shed)

(Elevated water storage tank)

(Elevated water storage tank)

(Metal building relocated from Miles City AFS)

(Metal building relocated from Miles City AFS)

I spent the night in Miles City, Montana. This was the long day of the trip, at 563 miles in just over 11 hours.

Saturday, 30 Jun 2012

From Miles City, I hit the road at 0730 for a busy day.

Amidon Mini-MUTE RBSS (19MM1) ND (AHSS) This was a component in the Dickinson radar bomb scoring system, located at 46-36-35, 103-11-52. It was probably activated in the late 1980s. On 1 June 1992 it was transferred from SAC to Air Combat Command (ACC). It was disposed of 30 September 1994.
(General view)

(Fenced compound)

New England Mini-MUTE RBSS (19MM2) ND (RPNV) This was a component in the Dickinson radar bomb scoring system, located at 46-30-37, 103-04-15. It was probably activated in the late 1980s. On 1 June 1992 it was transferred from SAC to ACC. It was disposed of 30 September 1994.
(General view)

(Fenced compound)

New England Instrument Training Route (19IR1) ND (RPNT) This was a component in the Dickinson radar bomb scoring system, located at 46-28-21, 102-52-59. It was probably activated in the late 1980s. On 1 June 1992 it was transferred from SAC to ACC. It was disposed of 31 July 1994.
(General view)

(General view)

Dickinson Radar Bomb Scoring Site ND (FGBX) This was the hub of the Dickinson radar bomb scoring system, at 46-29-09, 102-43-09. It was constructed approximately 1988. It was also referred to as "Training Range Complex Site 5" and "USAF STRC - Site 5." It was disposed of in June 1997.
(General view at gate)

(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(Building
)
(Building
)
(Building
)
(Retaining wall
)
(USAF sign
)

Dickinson AFS ND (3238) Located at 46-55-15, 102-43-55, this was an Air Defense Command (ADC) long-range radar site also known as TM-177 and Z-177. Real property accountability and logistical support were from Ellsworth AFB SD. It was activated on 16 July 1958, inactivated 1 March 1965, and disposed of 2 March 1966. Unfortunately the current owner doesn't want visitors. I did notice two water system facilities along the road about a mile west of the station; I haven't confirmed the history of these but they looked like standard Air Force facilities. These may have been part of the Air Force station, or a separate water system annex.
(Access road)

(Access road signage)

(Water system building, east)
(Water system building, east)
(Water system building, west)

(Water system building, west)

Dickinson Communications Facility Annex ND This ADC communications annex, a Ground-to-Air Transmit and Receive (GATR) facility, was located north of the radar site at 46-56-08, 102-43-54. The access road was overgrown with tall, dry grass; due to the high fire danger in this part of the country I decided not to risk driving in.

Belfield Communications Site GWEN 847 ND (BDTL) This Ground Wave Emergency Network relay node site, with standard 299' tower, was operational from about 1987. It was disposed of by the Air Force on 7 January 2000. In some documents it was listed as "Medora."
(Antenna tower)

(Antenna tower base)

(Equipment shelters)

(Signage)

I stopped in Glendive, Montana, and secured a room for three nights. This was a 7.5 hour day, covering 377 miles.

Sunday, 1 Jul 2012

I headed north from Glendive at 0640.

Alexander Gap Filler Annex / Watford City Radar Site ND (YNLY) Located southwest of town, this was built in 1958 and supported Dickinson AFS ND until 1965, then Minot AFS MT until December 1967. In 1979, a long-range radar site was activated adjacent to the gap filler structures. That radar site served ADC, then Tactical Air Command (TAC), then ACC before being disposed of on 30 July 1994.
(General view from gate)

(Gap filler building)

(Gap filler building)

Fortuna Air Force Station ND (2475,GWRF) Located west of town at 48-54-14, 103-52-04, this was another ADC long-range radar site. It was also known as site P-27 or Z-27. It was activated 31 October 1956, although it had been in use since 1951. It was disposed of on 26 January 1996.
(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(General view)

(Radar towers, AN/FPS-6 (-90) left, FPS-35 right)

(Power plant)

(Baseball field)

(Gate)

(House, radar towers in background)

(Garage, radar towers in background)

(Manual ground/air/ground radio facility building)

(House)

(House)

(House detail)

Fortuna Communications Facility Annex ND ( 7253, GWRJ) Located south-southwest of the radar site at 48-53-05, 103-53-03, This ADC communications annex housed the GATR facility for Fortuna AFS.
(General view)

(Access road)

(Building)

I made it back to Glendive at 1340, covering 371 miles in 7 hours.

Monday, 2 Jul 2012

I headed north from Glendive at 0730.

Brockway GFA MT Located at 47-17-01, 105-59-02, this ADC gap filler radar was designated M-98B in support of Miles City AFS MT. It was short-lived, operational from september 1959 to December 1960.
(General view)

(General view)

(Building)

(Building)

(Building)

(Building)

(Radar tower mount)

Glendive GFA MT This ADC gap filler radar, also known as M-98A, was located southeast of town at 47-02-39, 104-40-54. It was designated TM-177A in support of Dickinson AFS ND, and also TM-98A in support of Miles City AFS MT. I'm not sure if it actually sent data to two locations, or if one of those designations is in error. It was operational from September 1958 to December 1960. Disposal documents suggest that the sanitary latrine building is original -- first time I've noticed one of these on a gap filler annex.
(General view)

(General view)

(Gap filler building and sanitary latrine building)

(Gap filler building and sanitary latrine building)

(Gap filler building and sanitary latrine building)

(Gap filler building and radar tower mounts)

(Gap filler building and sanitary latrine building)

(Radar tower mounts)

I made it back to Glendive for a third night, covering 190 miles in 6 hours.

Tuesday, 3 Jul 2012

I headed south from Glendive at 0700.

Miles City Air Force Station MT (3323) Located southwest of town at 46-17-50, 105-58-45, this was an ADC long-range radar site also known as M-98 and Z-98. It was designated on 1 May 1955 (though it had been used since late 1954), and served until about June 1968. This land, as well as the communications annex, is part of the much larger Fort Keogh property and is not open to the public. By making advance arrangements and filling out some paperwork, I was able to get access.
(General view)

(General view)

(Guard shack)

(Power plant)

(Power plant)

(Power plant)

(Power plant)

(Operations building)

(Operations building)

(Operations building)

(Operations building)

(Operations building)

(Radar tower site)

(Radar tower site)

(Radar tower site)

(Radar tower site)

(Base for FPS-27 radar tower)

(Base for FPS-27 radar tower)

(Base for FPS-27 radar tower)

(Base for FPS-27 radar tower)

(Base for FPS-27 radar tower)

(Vehicle building)

(Vehicle building)

(Recreation building)

(Recreation building)

(Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) building, possibly built as a Ground/Air/Ground (G/A/G) radio facility building)

(MARS building, possibly built as a G/A/G radio facility building)

(Air police building)

(Air police building)

(Water system structure)

(Water system structure)

(Dining hall foundation)

(Foundation)

(Foundation)

(Fire hydrant)

Miles City Communications Facility Annex MT (7131) This ADC communications annex, a GATR facility, was located north of the radar site at 46-18-28, 105-58-27. As mentioned above, this annex is on the larger Fort Keogh property.
(General view)
(Building)
(Building)
(Building)
(Building)
(Building detail)

I made it to Buffalo, Wyoming, by 1330. This day spanned 357 miles in 6 hours.

Wednesday, 4 Jul 2012

I motored out of Buffalo at 0640, heading south for the drive home. From Casper all the way to Denver, the sky was very smoky from two new wildfires in southern Wyoming. I cancelled my final planned stops, saving them for another time. I made it home in 6 hours and 399 miles. Total for this trip was 2,257 miles.


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