McGuire Air Defense Missile Site Plutonium Remediation, Site Historical Preservation Report, New Egypt, New Jersey

Author(s): Michael A. Carr

Year: 2005


The US developed a vast air defense network system from both Air Force and Army elements consisting of supersonic jets, anti-aircraft guns and missiles, radar detection capabilities, and ground observation to counter the Soviet threat of bombers equipped with nuclear weapons. As part of this air defense system, the Air Force along with private industry developed the BOMARC surface to air missile system, the BOMARC, named from "BO" for Boeing and "MARC" for Michigan Aeronautical Research Center, was an intermediate range missile intended to intercept incoming aircraft approximately 250 to 440 miles from the coast. The first BOMARC site constructed was located at McGuire Air Force Base in New Egypt, New Jersey.

On June 7, 1960 the BOMARC missile (IM-99A) in Shelter 204 was in ready storage condition when its high-pressure helium tank in the missiles fuel cell ruptured igniting the missiles liquid fuel tank. Due to newly designed safety interlocks, the resulting fire did not cause the high explosive initiators to detonate. The missile's tritium tank remained intact: however, the fire destroyed the warhead and shelter resulting in the release of plutonium to the surrounding area. It was by DOE and Air Force scientists that no more than 300 grams were left on site.{Earth Technology Corp May 1992. pg ES-5)

In preparation for remediation, the site was characterized in 1996. This included walkover surveys using 2x2 Sodium Iodide detectors and soil sampling at depth of the fenced off area, drain swale and runoff areas on the west side of Route 539. The majority of the residual contamination was confirmed to be immediately around shelter 204 and along the site runoff as a result of the fire suppression activities; however, additional characterization during remediation efforts identified a further extent of contamination than originally anticipated.

This resource is a supplement to Reconnaissance Survey of Cold War Properties. Color photos can be found in Collection of Color Photos of BOMARC at McGuire Air Force Base and black and white photos can be found at Collection of Black and White Photos of BOMARC at McGuire Air Force Base.

Cite this Record

McGuire Air Defense Missile Site Plutonium Remediation, Site Historical Preservation Report, New Egypt, New Jersey, B. Michael A. Carr. 2005 ( tDAR id: 438551) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8438551

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -74.772; min lat: 39.76 ; max long: -74.085; max lat: 40.154 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Air Force Base

Project Director(s): Robert Hornbeck

Prepared By(s): Duratek, Inc

Submitted To(s): Headquarters Air Mobility Command United States Air Force

Record Identifiers

Report of Investigations No (s): 8-B

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Contact(s): Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Air Force Base