Letters to The Editor 04-29-20

Published 10:12 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Living Guide had key omission

 Editor, The Smithfield Times:


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Is your complaint department open?


There was a serious omission in your annual Living Guide published this month. You failed to mention one of our county’s three National Historic Districts, Nike-Ajax Missile Base N-75L in Carrollton.


Don’t get me wrong, you do a really good service to our community each year by printing these guides. They are readily available throughout the county and provide an excellent information resource, especially for newcomers. Of whom we have too many, by the way. But that’s an issue for another issue, as you say. I’m for keeping our county 85% rural. But at our current development rate, we risk lowering it to 84% or even 83%. But I digress.


Unfortunately, your guide left out any mention of Carrollton’s only National Historic District, our Cold War anti-aircraft missile base. As president of the Carrollton Civic League (which you did mention in the Living Guide, thank you) and also vice president of your local historical society (which you also covered, thanks again), I really must protest.


Now, you don’t have to re-publish the Living Guide just for this. But maybe next year you can include Carrollton Nike-Ajax Missile Site N-75L.


One of some 300 such bases worldwide, it housed some 30 ready-to-launch, anti-aircraft missiles in underground concrete magazines. It played a key role in western culture’s eventual victory over the rapacious forces of godless communist dictatorships, only three of which remain today: China, Cuba and North Korea. Of which, only China is a real existential threat to us. But I digress again.


Constructed in just a few months on 10 acres of a confiscated farm (still a source of contention among the farmer’s descendants) Nike-Ajax Missile site N-75L (“N” for Norfolk Defense Area was one of eight that protected Hampton Roads and “75” for the sequence in which theses bases were activated) was home to some 400 soldiers over an eight-year period. Its supersonic missiles with high-explosive warheads were designed to shoot down Soviet (Russian) bombers that would have been launched to destroy us with atomic bombs.


The deployment of these, the world’s first successful computer-controlled and radar-guided missiles, around the world is what deterred a Russian air attack for some 15 years beginning in 1954.


N-75L is, by far, the best-preserved in the United States of the Chatelain Design Plan concept and perhaps in the whole world; there were some 100 such bases overseas. This “historical integrity” is the reason the Virginia Department of Historic Resources recommended its National Historic Designation be approved in 2019.


Albert Burckard




Editor’s note: The following letter is being republished in its entirety because of a typesetting error in last week’s edition.


Inspired by art in Gatling Pointe


Editor, The Smithfield Times,


What an inspiration and joy in walking the sidewalk in Gatling Pointe North and seeing all the words of encouragement and also scripture printed beautifully and well done in colored chalk.


Who was inspired to encourage and inspire others? I don’t know, but I suspect that it came from some of our young people who are the hope of our future.


Patricia Allen




Smithfield, VA 23430