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Joseph Hullender

MSR Supervisory Electrical Engineer

Guestbook Entry

From Joseph Hullender, 1 Nov 2006:

I was the supervisory electrical engineer for the MSR at Nekoma and remember lots about it. There was a time I had total recall, but at age 76 I have lost some.

The system was developed on Kwajalein in the Pacific. I also was there when the first DCCB was started, but it was canceled when the program was approved for 10 sites. The DCCB (Defense Center Control Bldg.) had 4 faces as the MSR did; we refered to this as Missile Site Radar. The site built on Meck Island is the same as PAR site--it did the intercept then passed this info on to DCCB. But as I said, it was never finished. I was back on Kwajalein in 73 and the building had been closed in and was in use as a warehouse.

Your info about the water system is in error: there was a water system. I think the small towns and villages along its route are now using it. It is 60 miles long from the area near Fordville, has 10 wells and 3 relay reservoirs, and it also splits and feeds the PAR site. It is buried 8 ft deep due to frost and intrusion.

The cathodic protection you list is in error. The covering bars on the power plant are 16 ft on center N-S and E-W, and the ground rods are 70 ft long; had to be to get the proper readings. Everything in the building was shock isolated to withstand a direct hit and still operate. There was a 7 million gallon heat sink near the power plant to cool the engines of the units. The power plant was 17 megawatts, with the heat sink underground also. There were various tunnels from key positions also connecting several of the parts.

One other point: the grounding was for NEMP (Nuclear Electro Magnetic Pulse) as well as other things, and every pipe that came to the building was so protected.

As far as I am concered, this was a great system and was proved a working system. Thank God we never had to use it, only for practice over Kwajalein, and the displays were superb. We always had a front row seat on the beach to watch the intecept.

As for the personnel they were from everywhere, and I had the honor of working with them later on other projects around the world.

Here are a few of the people at the MSR that I remember (of course a lot of them are now gone):

John Lillibridge Mil, COL Area engineer
John Blake Civ Area engineer
Paul Donaldson Civ Chief of security
H V Draa Civ Project engineer, MSR
Louie Deal Civ Project engineer, water line and housing
Andy Anderson Civ MSR
George Selby Civ MSR
Owen Selby Civ MSR, Housing
John Campbell Civ MSR
Dave Collins Civ Safeguard
John Thompson Civ Safeguard
Jack Ainsworth Civ Safeguard
Vernon Davis Mil, LTC Safeguard
Conrad Ballweg Mil, LT MSR
Amos Norby Civ MSR
Jim Sewell Civ MSR
Vernon Baufman Civ MSR
Terry Brown Civ MSR

The last visit to the site for me was 1981 when I was sent back to Grand Forks to build a special project. I even made the trip to Langdon to visit with the Baptist church we started there in 71--still going strong and several people remembered us.

Of course my family was with me. In fact 3 of my four children attended ND U at Grand Forks. The last one decided college was not for him, so he enlisted in USAF and just retired this year after 22 yrs, but now has 2 degrees. My oldest is a manager for AAFES (the people who run the PX) and is in Italy. My daughter is a school teacher here with a masters degree in education. The last one lives in Monroe and is a manager for a huge realty company and is trying to get a business of his own started (he has a degree in business). So I have lots to be proud of: 11 grand kids and 5 great grandkids, and love every one of them.