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Students at George T. Baker Aviation School Will Refurbish a Cold War Missile

Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Students at George T. Baker Aviation School will welcome a Cold War missile to South Florida for refurbishing before it is placed on display for the public at the Everglades National Park, the technical school is located at 3275 N.W. 42 Avenue in Miami, Florida.

After 33 years, a Nike Hercules Missile will once again watch over the River of Grass in South Florida. However, this time it will not be as a defensive U.S. Army weapon, but as a display at a new historic site. This display is especially significant because October 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

After the crisis ended fifty years ago, four permanent Nike Missile Bases were constructed by the U.S. Army as part of the 2nd Missile Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery. One of the sites now lies within the Everglades National Park. From late 1962 to 1979, these sites defended the skies over Miami. This winter visitors will get a glimpse of the five-ton, 40 foot missile that once offered the last line of protection from enemy aircraft.

Once the refurbishing process is completed, the participating students will have the opportunity to meet Nike veterans who worked at these South Florida sites. This piece of world history will be on display this coming winter at the Everglades National Park, where they will hold an Open House on Veterans' Day, November 12. Regular tours will be offered from December to April.

Support for this project was provided by a partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools' George T. Baker Aviation; The South Florida National Parks Trust; The U.S. Army Center of Military History; The Everglades Association; and The Nike Historical Society.