Roslyn Air Base
The following information was provided by MgSgt Jan Klebukowski, 213th Education
and Training Manager
Roslyn ANG station was once a part of the 230 acre estate
of Clarence Mackay. The property's first military use came during World War
II, when the U.S. Government leased part of the estate as an Air Defense Post
of the First Fighter Command. Later, from 1948 until 1959, the site was the
home of the 26th Air Division's Air Defense Control Center - which controlled
the entire Northeast. During this period it was known as the Roslyn Air Force
Station. Formal title to the site changed hands in 1953, when the U.S. Government
paid the sum of $250,000 for the current 50 acres. The station was owned by
the USAF until the year 2000, when the land was turned over to the local community
as a result of the 1995 Base Realigment and Closure commission (BRAC), and the
remaining units will be relocated. Since 1959 New York State had a lease on
the station for its use as a Communications and Electronics Training site for
the Air National Guard. Perhaps the largest and finest non-flying station in
the ANG, Roslyn had over 30 buildings, including a Vehicle Maintenance shop,
AGE Shop, warehouse, and dining hall. In it's heyday, living space was maintained
for as many as 80 people in private and semi-private rooms.
History of Roslyn ANG Station - 1920 to Present
Roslyn ANG station was once a part of the 230 acre estate of Clarence Mackay,
a millionaire contemporary of the Morgans, Vanderbilts, and Witneys. At it's
peak, the estate employed 400 people and entertained such royal visitors as
the Duke of Windsor (then Prince of Wales). Charles Lindburgh was also honored
here upon his return from Europe in 1927.
During the 1920's and 30's, the estate was the scene of many fabulous society
parties and was one of the famed North Shore areas of activity. This era ended
with Mr. Mackay's death in 1938 and the subsequent destruction of the main house
by fire a few years later.
The property's first military use came during World War II, when the U.S. Government
leased part of the estate as an Air Defense Post of the First Fighter Command.
Later, from 1948 until 1959, the site was the home of the 26th Air Division's
Air Defense Control Center - which controlled the entire Northeast. During this
period it was known as the Roslyn Air Force Station.
Formal title to the site changed hands in 1953, when the U.S. Government paid
the sum of $250,000 for the 50 acres we now occupy, which today has a replacement
value in the millions of dollars. The station is currently owned by the USAF
until the year 2000, when the land will be turned over to the local community
as a result of the 1995 Base Realigment and Closure commission (BRAC), and the
remaining units will move up to Stewart ANGB, Newburgh, New York. Since 1959
New York State has had a lease on the station for its present use - as a Communications
and Electronics Training site for the Air National Guard.
Perhaps the largest and finest non-flying station in the ANG, Roslyn has over
30 buildings, including a Vehicle Maintenance shop, AGE Shop, warehouse, and
dining hall. In it's heyday, living space was maintained for as many as 80 people
in private and semi-private rooms.
1940 - 1948 1948 - 1959 1959 - Present
Air defense Post 26th Air Defense Div 213th EIS, 274th
First Fighter Command
1940 - 1947 - Air Defense Post, First Fighter Command
The Fighter Control Center, who was a part of the Army Signal Corps, was used
to provide an integrated command and control facility dedicated solely to air
defense. The first military buildings consisted of nine buildings, including
enlisted and officer quarters, mess hall, recreation building, store room, transmitter
building, receiver station, and radio tower, and D/F homer station. Prior to
April 1944, access roads, 7 foot barbed wire perimeter fence, Fighter Control
Center (currently Building 6), emergency power building, and power distribution
system had been completed. At this time, the installation was called the Roslyn
Filter Center under the jurisdiction of the 1st Fighter Command. The mission
of the Fighter Control Center was detection, interception, identification, and
if necessary, destruction of all aircraft in the greater New York Metropolitan
area. The mission was centered around the Fighter Control Center, a bomb and
gas proof building constructed as the air defense command and control center.
Through the use of radar and ground observers, the controllers of the Fighter
Control Center would identify and classify all aircraft operating in the region.
Unknown aircraft would be targeted for interception, and destruction if necessary,
by interceptors operating out of nearby military airfields such as Mitchel Field,
or by other active defense systems, such as anti-aircraft artillery (AAA), barrage
balloons, and smoke generated equipment situated around nearby defense plants
and military installations. Orders to passive defensive systems such as blackouts
and air raid warnings were also issued from the from the Fighter Control Center
to the appropriate Civil Defense personnel. The Roslyn Filter Center operated
until the end of the war and was then declared surplus to the needs of the Air
Defense Command. Operating personnel were withdrawn on or about 14 Jan 46.,
and caretaker personnel were assigned to protect the property against pilfering
"Caretaker" Squadrons stationed at Roslyn Station after the 1st Fighter
Command was inactivated on 21 Mar 46 and disbanded on 8 Oct 48
916th Army Air Forces Base Unit
Stationed: 31 Jul 47 - 30 Sep 47 - First "Caretaker" unit on base
after 1st Fighter command was disbanded. Unit was based out of Ft. Slocum
Mission: Maintaining and developing Roslyn Control Center.
503rd Aircraft Control and Warning Group
Stationed: 30 Apr 48 - 6 Feb 52
Mission: To develop an Aircraft control and warning system to serve as a link
in overall system of Air Defense Command
Footnote: This unit was later absorbed into the 26th Air Division (Defense)
on 6 Feb 52 along with the 645th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron.
645th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Stationed: 30 Apr 48 - 22 Mar 49 and 8 Dec 49 - 6 Feb 52
Primary Mission: Establish a control center at Roslyn for Air Defense units
in the surrounding area.
Secondary Mission: Perform Housekeeping functions for the 503rd.
646th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Stationed: 30 Apr 48 - 8 Dec 49
Footnote: This unit was manned by one officer and two airmen at the Roslyn Location
672nd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Stationed: 28 Mar 49 - 1 Apr 49
*Detachment 1 - 19 Apr 49 - 19 May 49
*Detachment 2 - 19 Apr 49 - 10 Jun 49
*Detachment 3 - 19 Apr 49 - 19 May 49
647th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Stationed: 30 Apr 49 - Apr 58(?)
1948 - 1959 - 26th Air Defense Division
Commanded by Brig Gen. Thayer S. Olds, the 26th Air Division was activated at
Mitchel Field during the spring of 1949 for later transfer to Roslyn. It's headquarters
was located at Roslyn Air Force Station, Long Island, New York, a few miles
outside New York City. The mission of the 26th Air Defense Division was to defend
the sector of the United States which included all of Massachusetts, Connecticut,
Rhode Island, New Jersey, and parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
To carry out this mission, NIKE missiles and anti-aircraft guns of the Army,
radar picket ships and aircraft of the Navy, and all the tactical units of the
26th Air Division (Defense) of the Air Force were placed under the commander's
operational control. The 26th Air Division Defense was transferred to Roslyn
on 18 Apr 49, and moved out in February 1959.
U.S. Army 1st NIKE Missile Battalion
Roslyn apparently served as an early Control Center which received
radar data from the Montauk Air Force Station in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Also served as Headquarters, HHB 1st Battalion 244th Anit-Aircraft Regiment,
New York Army National Guard from 1959 to 1974. For more information on the
NIKE programs see http://alpha.fdu.edu/~bender/nike.html and http://www.jps.net/ethelen/
1959 - Present - 213th Engineering Installation squadron, 274th Combat
Communications Squadron, 106th Civil Engineering Squadron (Deactivated - October
1995, Absorbed into the 213th EIS), 152nd Tactical Control Group (Moved to Syracuse,
New York ), 552nd Air Force Band (Relocated to Stewart International Airport,
Newburgh, NY-May 1986)
213th Engineering Squadron
History - The 213th Engineering Installation Squadron has been at Roslyn since
1959, when it moved from a Brooklyn, NY Armory. Its mission install and maintain
Radio, Central Office, and Wire communications Facilities. The 213th was federally
recognized in 1948 as the 602nd Signal Construction Company, and became the
213th Communications Constructions Squadron, and a member of the Air Force Team
in 1952. In January 1959 the unit was redesignated as the 213th Ground Electronics
Engineering Installation Agency (GEEIA), and on 1 May 70, the 213th received
its present designation as the 213th EI Squadron, a member of the Air Force
Mission - The 213th Engineering Installation Squadron provides for the engineering,
Installation, and removal, and relocation of ground communication-electronics
systems, and to provide for emergency and programmed, mobile, on-site, maintenance
and modification of these systems. The unit also responds to National Guard
274th Combat Communications Squadron
History - The unit was federally recognized as the 102nd Communications Squadron
in 1948 in White Plains, NY, redesignated as the to the 274th Communications
Squadron in 1953 and in 1976 to Combat Communications Squadron in Air Force
Communications service as the Gaining Command Plans for utility in a National
Emergency. The 274th Combat Communications moved here in 1959.
The 274th Combat Communications Squadron is part of the 253rd Mobile Communications
Group which is located in Wellesley, Mass; other units of the group are located
in Pennsylvania , District of Columbia, and Maine.
Mission - The 274th Combat Communications Squadron will attain optimum capabilities
to install, operate, and maintain mobile communications facilities in support
of the 253rd Combat Communications Group and Air Force Communications Service
and Tactical Air Command communications area in a national emergency.
552nd Air Force Band
History - The 552nd Air Force Band was activated on August 16, 1942 at Pueblo
Army Air Base, Colorado, as the 52nd Army Air Forces Band. The unit was later
re-designated as the 552nd Army Air Forces Band in March 1944. A year later,
the unit was transferred to an overseas assignment Casablanca, French Morocco,
North Africa, assigned to the Air Transport Command. The unit remained in Africa
until April 10th, 1946, when it was inactivated and it's personnel were transferred
or absorbed into other units. The 552nd Army Air Forces Band was allotted to
the New York State Air National Guard in May 1946 with an authorized strength
of 29. In September 1947 the band was redesignated 552nd Air Force Band with
an assignment station at the State Armory in White Plains, New York.
The band was ordered to active duty during the Korean Conflict on March 24th
1951 and assigned to the 15th Air Force of the Strategic Air Command at March
Air Force Base, California. On December 1, 1952, after 21months of active duty,
the band was relieved from active military service and returned to the State
of New York in an inactive status. In 1954, the band was again reformed and
reassigned to Westchester County Airport as a New York Air National Guard contingent.
The band operated from the State Armory in White Plains and the Dean Street
Armory in Brooklyn until 1959 where it relocated to Roslyn Air National Guard
Station in Roslyn, Long Island. While stationed at Roslyn Air National Guard
Station, the 552nd performed such historic events such as the 1961 departure
ceremonies at Hancock Field in Syracuse, New York; for the federal activation
of NYANG forces being sent to Berlin, Germany; the opening ceremony of the lower
level of the George Washington Bridge in August 1962; the New York State Winter
Olympics at Lake Placid; and the New York City Marathon.
In May 1986, the 552nd Air Force Band was relocated to Stewart International
Airport, Newburgh, New York.
The band was manned almost entirely with professional musicians and is considered
one of the finest military marching bands in the country. It was very much in
demand; performing several dozen times each year. They have played for the President
of the United States, the Governor of New York, and for many other distinguished
Mission - The 552nd Air Force Band will support all ANG Bases located within
the assigned geographical area without regard to command affiliation. They participate
in, and provide music for: Military Formation and Ceremonies; provide musical
support for recreation and entertainment programs at ANG installations; provide
musical support for the ANG procurement programs; provide musical support for
the ANG community relations programs. Additionally, they furnish support to
the medical services requirements of military units when an emergency arises.
152nd Tactical Control Group
History - The 152nd Tactical Control Group had originally been a Aircraft Control
and Warning Squadron, but had been redesignated as the 64th Air Division, and
in August 1953 changed it's designation and mission to 152nd Tactical Control
Group and changed its mission to Tactical Control. - Unit moved to Roslyn in
1959. Roslyn was the Headquarters for the 152nd, whose history includes active
duty during the Korean War and the 1961-62 Berlin Crisis. The 152nd commands
ten Tactical Control Units based in seven states.
The 152nd was federally recognized in March 1948 at White Plains, NY as the
152nd Aircraft Control and Warning Group. The unit saw its first active duty
in 1951-53 installing the initial radar systems in Labrador, NewFoundland, and
Following the northern assignment, the unit became a Tactical Control Group
with a mission to control aircraft in battle missions against enemy ground and
air forces. For the next few years its large organization included subordinate
units in Georgia and Puerto Rico. It moved to Roslyn in 1959, and was stationed
here when the next federal call up came in 1961. The unit was later relocated
to Syracuse ANG Base, New York.
During the height of the 1961-1962 Berlin crisis, President John F. Kennedy
visited members of the 152nd Tactical Control Group at the Roslyn Air National
Guard Station, New York.
The 152nd deployed its 2,000 officers and airmen to West Germany for ten months
of active service with US Forces there. The unit's radar and communications
equipment became, for that period, a part of the NATO team.
Mission - Assigned to the Tactical Air Command, the mission of the 152nd Tactical
Control Group is to command, organize, equip, and administer the assigned elements
of the TACS. This includes radar, Communication equipment, vehicles and support
services required to provide the capability to control tactical air operations,
including air defense and provide the air space management in a tactical theater
of operations any place in the world. Composed of nine units in seven states,
the mobile personnel and equipment units are tasked for world-wide deployment
in support of joint American and/or Allied nation forces.
106th Civil Engineering - Operation Location
The 106 CE-OL arrived on station in 1984. Prior to it's arrival, the 152nd Tactical
Control Squadron provided the function of the host unit. The Mission of the
106CE-OL is to provide daily engineering support and host unit functions to
the station. It's military mission is to provide civil engineering service and
support on a world-wide basis. The 106CE-OL does not possess heavy equipment
but obtains these assets as necessary, from it's parent organization, the 106th
Civil Engineering Squadron, location at Westhampton Beach, New York. Due to
recent manning cuts, the 106CE-OL was disbanded in October 1995, and it's personnel
moved to the Westhampton location, or absorbed onto the 213th EIS.
Memo for Record
Roslyn ANG Station’s Community Support of the Village of East Hills and
April 1968 – The 152nd TCC made an emergency power unit available to
the Village of East Hills, Long Island, NY and thereby helped avert what might
otherwise have resulted in suspension of Village operations in the emergency.
November 1968 – Roslyn ANG Station once again provided an emergency generator
to the East Hills Village Hall and offices, which enabled them to stay in operation.
In addition, the station Dining hall and other Roslyn ANG Station facilities
were made available to the local residences during the evenings and arrangements
were completed for the local populace to sleep in the Station recreation hall
in the event of a severe cold. Mayor Fleischer wrote a letter to Col Saul expressing
his deepest appreciation for the Station’s quick response.
January 1974 – Roslyn ANG Station assists the Town of North Hempstead
during a major power outage
May 1975 – Members of Roslyn ANG Station participate in the annual Memorial
Day Parade held at Roslyn
March 1976 – Members of Roslyn ANG Station participated as Color Guard
for the Roslyn Public School for the nation’s Bicentennial celebration.
January 1978 – Roslyn ANG Station was once again opened to the local
community of East Hills, NY after Mayor William Fleischer declares an emergency
at 1630hrs on 15 Jan 78. The station was opened to provide local shelter for
the local civilian personnel who did not have any heat or electricity due to
the ice storm. The emergency ended at 1600 hrs , 18 Jan 78
Jun 1979 – Two members of Roslyn ANG Station assisted local Old Westbury
Police at a serious auto accident at Glen Cove Rd and the North Service Rd of
the LIE on Saturday, 23 Jun 79 at approximately 0715 hrs.
February 1984 – Members of Roslyn ANG Station assisted the Roslyn Heights
Elementary School, Parent-Teacher Association in erecting a self-help playground
for the local children. Old tires and telephone poles donated by LILCO were
used in the construction.
November 1987 – Mayor Leonard Nadel of the Village of East Hills, NY
wrote a letter of appreciation concerning Roslyn’s overall participation
in local events and assisting the community over the years.
1991 – Unit assisted Village of East Hills to remove roadway debris after
a serious storm.
1993 – Unit assisted local community of East Hills by completing a construction
of a Little League baseball Field.
For more information see: (Links open new window)
The above is an unframed page: to see the framed version follow the directions
1. Go to: www.radomes.org/museum/
2. On the left side menu, select DEFENSE AIR DIVISIONS
3. Scroll down until you see a yellow patch, which is marked "26th Air
Division" -- and click on it
4. Click on "Roslyn AFS" Selection
See also www.hempsteadplains.com/
Some photographs can be found here: http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/2499591050031454372kAcbin
Back to Forts Q - S Index
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military
August 10, 2009