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Charlie Battery Annual Service Practice - Crete 1968 - 1969

by Ron Daum

The NATO Missile Firing installation (NAMFI) is located at the Akrotire Area, Chania, Crete, which is an island in Southern Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. This location for the facility was chosen by NATO because of its close proximity to the Air and Naval Bases in that Area (Chania Airport and Souda Harbor), together with good meteorological conditions allowing for year around operation.

The purpose of NAMFI was, and still is, for use as a training facility for Air Defense Systems of NATO Countries. In 1968 this was the Nike and Hawke Systems used by Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, and Norway, The Netherlands and the USA.

Construction of the facility was completed in early 1968 and after a short test and evaluation period, of which Charlie/3rd 71st was a participant, NAMFI went into operation.

From this time forward USAEUR batteries no longer traveled to McGregor Range in Texas for their annual qualification firings, they went to Crete. To visit the NAMFI website please “Click Here” visit our Web Links page.

What follows are photos and stories of Charlie Battery's trip to Crete in July 1968 as the second Nike Battery to fire at NAMFI in the trial and evaluation of the the site, and our later trip in December 1968 for our annual qualification firing.

Historical perspective: By 1968 when I arrived in Europe (West Germany), the 3rd Missile Battalion - 71st Artillery was no longer part of Seventh Army, but part of the 94th Group of the 32nd Army Air Defense Command (AADCOM).

A Reminder: Don't forget to click the thumbnail images on the next page to display an even larger image. Then click anywhere outside of the larger image and it will close itself.