Photo: Alan Graham 1958


The VIP Tour Guides benignly referred to what we called Booster Alley as a "Booster Disposal Area" when explaining Nike Site requirements to visiting city officials. I doubt the VIPís were ever shown this sight, a booster slammed into the desert floor so violently that only about four feet of it are visible, the fins sheared off by the explosive impact. VIPs were simply told that an area of uninhabited land near their cities, about three miles in diameter, was needed for booster 'disposal' which would never be used during peacetime, of course. Many city officials were skeptical. There are over 3,000 boosters here in Booster Alley.

Herman Hartley was in charge of the Military Police at Red Canyon. He clearly remembers Booster Alley: "One day, after being far downrange, I decided to drive back to camp through booster alley. About half way through it, the jeep gave up and quit. I got out and started walking to the main road. By the time I got there the range had gone into a Firing Status. I seem to remember they raised a flag during firings. I hitched a ride on a truck to the Motor Pool, but because the jeep was where it was, I didnít tell them exactly where it had broken down. I did get a guy with a wrecker to carry me back downrange, but when I told him where the jeep was he wouldnít go near it. There was a hill between Range Control and Booster Alley, so the jeep couldn't be seen. I thought I would take my chances on not stopping the launch, so we waited. In my mind I was going through all the excuses for bringing back a jeep with a booster stuck through the hood. Well, as luck would have it, the range went out of Firing Status and I convinced the Motor Pool guy to tow the jeep back to camp. I guess luck was with me on that little trip." Herman Hartley