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Re: Oh SAGE Can You See?

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  • ColdWar COMMS
    My aunt worked in the Sage blog at Fort Meade. Vaguely remember the story about a fire there that shut it down. Curious about the story behind that. Sent from
    Message 1 of 15 , May 23, 2013
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      My aunt worked in the Sage blog at Fort Meade. Vaguely remember the story about a fire there that shut it down. Curious about the story behind that.

      Sent from my iPhone
    • lasertower
      Considering whom I received emails from after I posted this, Let me clarify things. The offer to get one or two simple questions answered is withdrawn. I was
      Message 2 of 15 , May 23, 2013
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        Considering whom I received emails from after I posted this, Let me clarify things. The offer to get one or two simple questions answered is withdrawn. I was going to pick the best question and see if I could get it answered. Under no circumstances was I going to disclose current use etc.

        Steve
      • OZOB99
        You may be thinking of the 1970 s fire at the Ft Lee Direction Center, AKA Petersburg 50/Station 76/WADS/; started in the electronics & put it out of service
        Message 3 of 15 , May 23, 2013
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          You may be thinking of the 1970's fire at the Ft Lee Direction Center, AKA Petersburg 50/Station 76/WADS/; started in the electronics & put it out of service for a few weeks; other Direction Centers picked up the load with additional interconnect circuits rushed in.



          --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, ColdWar COMMS <cappy755@...> wrote:
          >
          > My aunt worked in the Sage blog at Fort Meade. Vaguely remember the story about a fire there that shut it down. Curious about the story behind that.
          >
          > Sent from my iPhone
          >
        • John K Scoggin, Jr
          AFAIK, Fort Meade was an ADCCP site (Nike s), not SAGE. And I think the ARADCOM region HQ was there too. At least one of the old buildings was still being
          Message 4 of 15 , May 23, 2013
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            AFAIK, Fort Meade was an ADCCP site (Nike's), not SAGE. And I think the
            ARADCOM region HQ was there too. At least one of the old buildings was
            still being used by the DOIM (Directorate of Info Mgmt) on base.



            john



            From: coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com [mailto:coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com] On
            Behalf Of OZOB99
            Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:58 AM
            To: coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [coldwarcomms] Re: Oh SAGE Can You See?





            You may be thinking of the 1970's fire at the Ft Lee Direction Center, AKA
            Petersburg 50/Station 76/WADS/; started in the electronics & put it out of
            service for a few weeks; other Direction Centers picked up the load with
            additional interconnect circuits rushed in.

            --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com <mailto:coldwarcomms%40yahoogroups.com>
            , ColdWar COMMS <cappy755@...> wrote:
            >
            > My aunt worked in the Sage blog at Fort Meade. Vaguely remember the story
            about a fire there that shut it down. Curious about the story behind that.
            >
            > Sent from my iPhone
            >





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Marc's Yahoo Account (original)
            My mistake: it was a Missile Master bldg at Fort Mead that had the fire. Sent from my iPad
            Message 5 of 15 , May 24, 2013
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              My mistake: it was a Missile Master bldg at Fort Mead that had the fire.


              Sent from my iPad
            • ozob99
              I have just heard off list from an insider who was there, and the appx date was June/July 1976. I have only found a couple of mentions online about this fire,
              Message 6 of 15 , Mar 25
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                I have just heard off list from an insider who was there, and the appx date was June/July 1976.


                I have only found a couple of mentions online about this fire, but no details; here is a snippet from a website:


                "I served as maintenance technician, crew chief and site trainer at Fort Lee AFS, VA (Washington Air Defense Sector - WADS) from 1966 through 1969. The Q-7 provided one of the best basic computer operations and air surveillance mission training available anywhere. Its maintenance console hosting over 10,000 neon lights allowed technicians to single step through machine operations to watch data transfers and troubleshoot with ease. Its size was equivalent to 23 ranch-style home with an internal telephone system to match. It had 123 miles of internal signal wire and 75,000 vacuum tubes. It was so impressive that Hollywood bought several of the surplus machines as they were shut down or never installed. They were featured in "Lost in Space," "Journey to the Bottom of the Sea," "Time Tunnel" and many more. The expertise I gained at Fort Lee made it easy to become site computer maintenance trainer for AUTDIN at Clark AFB, RPI and complete an electronics engineering degree. As an officer, I led a special team out of the 4754th Radar Evaluation Sq at Hill AFB, UT to respond to a disabling fire at the Fort Lee Q-7 by redirecting all air surveillance inputs and response capabilities to two neighboring Direction Centers. The severely limited data handling capacity was addressed by focusing computer processing on only those aircraft of interest instead of the entire civilian air traffic load. The basics of computer operations and maintenance learned at Fort Lee led me into over 20 years of active USAF time in computer systems design and engineering culminating with 4 years at the USAF Academy leading a mathematics department and teaching engineering application to thousands of Academy cadets. I have always been grateful to the knowledge and experience I gained through that old vacuum tube computer!




                Tuesday 27th May 2014
                Dr. Dave Felsburg (USA)"


                (from old-computers.com/museum)


                The story I recall from telco guys there was: extensive damage to the Q7 & Battle Staff room, and inoperable for one or more weeks; the DC operations were picked by Tyndall and/or Gunter, or?


                There's bound to be official investigative reports somewhere, but apparently not online.


                Also surprised one of the IBM guys hasn't posted something after all these years.




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • David
                ... Indeed, there is a prop rental house that has sourced such for many years...and MANY productions.
                Message 7 of 15 , Mar 25
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                  On 3/25/15 4:31 PM, ozob99@... [coldwarcomms] wrote:

                  > It was so impressive that Hollywood bought several of the surplus
                  > machines as they were shut down or never installed. They were featured
                  > in "Lost in Space," "Journey to the Bottom of the Sea," "Time Tunnel"
                  > and many more.


                  Indeed, there is a prop rental house that has sourced such for many
                  years...and MANY productions.

                  <http://web.archive.org/web/20090421022615/http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Q7/>

                  <http://woodysprops.com/inventory.php>

                  <http://www.uncleodiescollectibles.com/html_lib/tt-props/>

                  <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Dz2t5EV_NA>

                  If only the junque in my basement was worth half as much....
                • couryhousesmecc
                  we have parts from the Luke afb site wish we had gotten more of it though. but between the artifacts we have and some photos the kids get an idea of
                  Message 8 of 15 , Mar 25
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                    we have parts from the Luke afb site wish we had gotten more of it
                    though.
                    but between the artifacts we have and some photos the kids get an
                    idea of the mass of it....

                    we are looking for ANYTHING connected to SAGE.
                    Part of our mission here is to preserve communications and computation
                    at any of the nearby bases.
                    Ed Sharpe archivist for SMECC _www.smecc.org_ (http://www.smecc.org)






                    In a message dated 3/25/2015 3:47:50 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time,
                    coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com writes:




                    On 3/25/15 4:31 PM, ozob99@... [coldwarcomms] wrote:

                    > It was so impressive that Hollywood bought several of the surplus
                    > machines as they were shut down or never installed. They were featured
                    > in "Lost in Space," "Journey to the Bottom of the Sea," "Time Tunnel"
                    > and many more.

                    Indeed, there is a prop rental house that has sourced such for many
                    years...and MANY productions.

                    <http://web.archive.org/web/20090421022615/http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloe
                    wen/Q7/>

                    <http://woodysprops.com/inventory.php>

                    <http://www.uncleodiescollectibles.com/html_lib/tt-props/>

                    <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Dz2t5EV_NA>

                    If only the junque in my basement was worth half as much....






                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • radionut500
                    Have a look at this. Note the windows, that must have been fun to cut out. http://www.unr.edu/ntf/about/sage-building
                    Message 9 of 15 , Mar 25
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                      Have a look at this. Note the windows, that must have been fun to cut out.

                      http://www.unr.edu/ntf/about/sage-building http://www.unr.edu/ntf/about/sage-building


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • ozob99
                      Another anecdote on the fire with some specificity : The fire was in the summer of 1976. I was stationed at Fort Lee AFS as a Display Maintenance Tech. We
                      Message 10 of 15 , Mar 27
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                        Another anecdote on the fire with some specificity :


                        "The fire was in the summer of 1976. I was stationed at Fort Lee AFS as a Display Maintenance Tech. We were told that a utility 220 V panel caught fire.


                        The General Battle Staff equipment was totally destroyed and some of it fell down on to the third floor (It was between the 3rd and 4th floors)."






                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • ozob99
                        More details on the Ft Lee DC fire (from my query on ColoniesRadarVets group) I was stationed at 632nd Radar Sq., Roanoke Rapids, NC when they had the fire.
                        Message 11 of 15 , Mar 28
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                          More details on the Ft Lee DC fire (from my query on ColoniesRadarVets group)

                          "I was stationed at 632nd Radar Sq., Roanoke Rapids, NC when they had the fire. I was there from '73 to '77. Our radar site was one of the sites controlled/directed by Ft. Lee's computer. It controlled the radars for all of the Southeastern U.S., from Virginia to Texas. Ft. Lee's computer replaced an older system which I believe was base out of Florida.
                          I was a radar repairman in the height finder section, we had a FPS-6A and a FPS-26. Our site also had a search radar, I've forgotten the model. Our search radar would send all it's data from our onsite computer tracking system to Ft. Lee's computer. The controllers there would be monitoring traffic along the edge of the U.S., and when they saw one they wanted more information about they would aim their pistol shaped mouse at the target. Their radar monitor would draw a little circle around it, and they'd press the trigger. \
                          Then the Ft. Lee computer would send the target info to our computer, and our computer would swing the height finder around to the correct azimuth automatically. A set of crosshairs would line up just left of the target on our radar operater's height finder console. He'd use a trackball to center on the height and distance of the target, and press enter on his keyboard. Our computer would relay that back to Ft. Lee's computer and their controllers would get the info displayed on their radar screen with the correct and accurate information next to it. He'd make any further decisions from there.
                          I got to tour the Ft. Lee building once, before the fire. It was a big cement blockhouse, built to be somewhat survivable in case of nuclear war back in the days of the cold war. A couple hundred feet square, and 6 stories high if I remember it right. The 1st and 2nd floor were the power supplies and cooling equipment for the computer system. The computer system took up the entire 3rd floor. The 4th and 5th floors were radar monitors and controllers, supposedly including the areas where the officers made the decisions to scramble or not, etc... The 6th floor was upper level management as I recall?
                          The computer was made up of 2 complete analog tube computers. Each was identical to the other, and each received all the information sent and received from all us radar sites. The information was compared and if they both had the same results, then it was considered correct and operating. They were separated from each other by two concrete fire barrier walls, with nothing in between the walls except for interconnecting wiring. This was for protection from fire, bomb damage, etc... and if one side was down then the other would still be protected and operational.
                          On the nite in question, I was working 3rd shift. I came on duty and reported as always to the control room. I was surprised to see the usual keyboard/trackball equipment shoved against the wall, and the old stuff that usually sat behind the terminals in front and being used. I'd only seen them turned on a couple times in 3 years, so that was different! When I asked what was up, they informed me that there was a fire in the blockhouse, and Ft. Lee was down. We'd switched back to the old Florida system for real.
                          I checked on the progress a couple times that night, and was informed that the fire started between the 2 firewalls in the interconnected wiring system. By the time they knew there was a fire it had come out the cable troughs into both sides of the computer, and the magnesium alloy troughs were ablaze and impossible to put out in a hurry. It took the fire department 8 hours to put out the fire, including 3 hours spent jack hammering through the thinnest portion of the roof to get some water in from from above.
                          By the way, magnesium burns even under water, and is hotter'n hell as you might imagine since it's metal ablaze. So it was a very hot fire inside a solid concrete blockhouse with no way for the heat to be released. The monitors were all made with lots of plastic, and they as well as all the cable and wire insulation melted into puddles and joined the blaze.
                          The result was that the building was an oven, melting everything it could before it got put out. Maximum damage, total destruction, stuff like that. All the wiring, cabling, and equipment had to be replaced pretty much completely. They were scrambling all over everywhere to find equipment to rebuild it ASAP. The USAF brought in everyone it could on a super priority and got the place back online in a miraculous 30 days. Seemed like forever to the controllers at the radar sites since it meant everything was manually operated till Ft. Lee was back online.


                          Hope that helped?
                          William McNeill, former SSGT, USAF, civilian since 1979."











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                        • couryhousesmecc
                          tubes YES analog NO!!! It was a Sage blockhouse digiatal computer but yea.... lots of tunes!! Ed Sharpe archivist for smecc In a message dated
                          Message 12 of 15 , Mar 28
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                            tubes YES analog NO!!! It was a Sage blockhouse digiatal
                            computer
                            but yea.... lots of tunes!!

                            Ed Sharpe archivist for smecc


                            In a message dated 3/28/2015 1:34:05 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time,
                            coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com writes:

                            The computer was made up of 2 complete analog tube computers. Each was
                            identical to the other, and each received all the information sent and
                            received from all us radar sites. The information was


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • couryhousesmecc
                            correction tubes not tunes In a message dated 3/28/2015 3:38:26 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time, coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com writes: tubes YES analog NO!!!
                            Message 13 of 15 , Mar 28
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                              correction tubes not tunes



                              In a message dated 3/28/2015 3:38:26 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time,
                              coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com writes:




                              tubes YES analog NO!!! It was a Sage blockhouse digiatal
                              computer
                              but yea.... lots of TUBES (tunes)!!

                              Ed Sharpe archivist for smecc


                              In a message dated 3/28/2015 1:34:05 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time,
                              coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com writes:

                              The computer was made up of 2 complete analog tube computers. Each was
                              identical to the other, and each received all the information sent and
                              received from all us radar sites. The information was

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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