Newark Air Force Base announces the region’s foray into the “space age” in 1962
Editor’s Note: This story originally published in The Advocate on December 14, 1962 and is reprinted to mark the 25th anniversary of the Port Authority.
Air Force Station is dedicated
Gen. Mark E. Bradley, commander of Air Force Logistics Command, cited the potential for growth as an important factor in choosing this area for Air Force laboratories.
General Bradley was the keynote speaker at the Newark Air Force dedication ceremonies on Thursday afternoon that marked Licking County’s official entry into the space age.
“It was no accident that this location was chosen,” he said.
General Bradley spoke of the need for a vibration-free location, underground facilities, a skilled labor market and adequate transportation facilities.
He added: “And he had to have great scope for expansion because of the growth potential of his mission.”
Congressman John M. Ashbrook presented Col. Thomas O. Lawton, station commander, with an American flag that had flown over the Capitol.
Ashbrook told the audience that the Air Force came here due to the stability of the terrain, but the facility would expand due to the stability of the population.
Col. Lawton said the Air Force station was highly sought after by other regions and credited Ashbrook with obtaining it for that region.
Before General Bradley’s keynote address, Edward T. Hitchcock, Mayor of Heath Village, welcomed the Air Force.
Newark Mayor David R. Evans also welcomed newcomers to the area and spoke about the economic impact the station would have on the community.
âNewark Air Force Base has already had a huge impact on our region, creating jobs for nearly 1,500 people as of that date.
âIts potential to nearly double that number over the next two years will make the US Air Force our number one employer,â Evans said.
As an example of the effect of the new facility, he said the number of building permits has tripled in Newark over the past year.
After the ceremonies, a crowd of around 2,000 people toured the huge factory and viewed exhibits explaining the work on missile guidance systems and the calibration of precision instruments.
âIn this facility are the most sensitive calibration laboratories in the Western world,â General Bradley said.
The âstable tableâ located deep underground has been called âthe most isolated place on earthâ.
Four floors underground, it is the most advanced standards laboratory in the world.
The stable table is designed to test the delicate internal guidance components that direct missiles such as Minuteman, Atlas and Titan at targets thousands of miles away with pinpoint accuracy.
It is isolated from the influences of temperature, magnetic fields, humidity, earth movements and vibrations, and is designed to be the quietest and quietest point on earth.
“The work to be done here is of the utmost importance to our defense effort,” said General Bradley. The Air Force’s inertial missile guidance systems – the Minuteman, Titan, Atlas, Hound Dog and Skybolt – will be tested, repaired and calibrated here. The facility will also be used by other services. “
In addition to the cost of $ 4.2 million to convert the plant from a heavy press program to a missile calibration, $ 33 million of tools and test equipment were installed.
Despite the blizzard and cold, approximately 5,000 people visited the plant for the dedication and the open house that followed.
Defense officials in attendance included John Taylor, Director of Maintenance Policy, Department of Defense, Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Gerrity, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Systems and Logistics, Major General LL Mundell, Commander Oklahoma City Air Material Zone; Major General Frederic H. Miller, Commander Middletown Air Material Zone.
Brig. General David M. Jones, deputy commander of the Skybolt missile project, Brig. General John H. Chick, Director of Personnel and Support Operations for Logistics Command, and Brig. General William W. Veal, commander of the Defense Electronics Supply Center, Dayton.
Dr Allen V. Astin, Director of the National Bureau of Standards, was also present.
Locals on the speaker’s platform included Wilber Wilson, president of the Chamber of Commerce; Winston C. Allen, State Representative; Arthur W. Fowle, mayor of Granville; Robert Zellar, state senator; John F. Montgomery, Former President of the Chamber of Commerce.
Thomas A. Rogers, President of WCLT Radio, Inc., Clarence Pennington, Assistant Editor of The Advocate, James R. Francis, President of the Newark City Council, C. Allen Milliken, Executive Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce , Frank W. Spencer Jr., editor of The Advocate, and Herbert A. Koontz, chairman of the county commissioners, and Wallace L. Horton, deputy station commander.
Other representatives of the air force, navy and defense contractors were present.