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Forum Communications, Published October 12 2012

Cavalier, N.D., to celebrate Air Force Station’s 35th

CAVALIER, N.D., will celebrate this weekend the 35th anniversary of nearby Cavalier Air Force Station, which monitors the skies for incoming missiles and space debris.

At 10 a.m. today, it will dedicate a recently-built 55-foot-tall replica of the Spartan missile at a park at the north entrance to the city on North Dakota Highway 5.

The Spartan was part of an anti-ballistic missile system protecting North Dakota’s missile silos in the mid-1970s.

Speakers include Mayor Ken Briese and Lt. Col. Lorinda Frederick, CAFS commander. A reception follows at Cavalier Evangelical Free Church.

On Saturday, CAFS will host an open house from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the base about 15 miles west of Cavalier along Highway 5.

The event includes a B-52 flyover at 11 a.m.; a UH-1 helicopter display; bomb squad display; security force demonstrations; an Air Force fire department display; and tours of the 12-story-tall Perimeter Acquisition Radar Characterization System building dominating the base.

The powerful radar provides early warning of missile attacks coming over the North Pole, and helps track other objects in space. One of its missions, according to the Air Force, is to help the International Space Station avoid collision with space debris.

The radar started life as part of the Safeguard anti-ballistic missile system, working in conjunction with the Spartan missile battery in Nekoma, N.D. The system was phased out in 1976 as part of an arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union.

CAFS is now home to the 10th Space Warning Squadron and has more than 150 military and civilian personnel on site.