23 responses

  1. Greg
    January 19, 2018

    Captain Newman or Mr. Ricketts. A few of those pictures look familiar. Can you please tell me the photographer? I am wondering if it is my father-in-law who had the opportunity to take many pictures in there as his job with the Nugger

    Reply

  2. Carl E Wicks
    October 28, 2017

    I was on loan to the military for ~ 1 year ~1970 as the only communication supervisor at that time underground. My wife & children did not like the long cold winters she said 10 months of winter & 2 Months of bad skating.

    Reply

  3. Captain Doug Newman
    October 24, 2017

    Other than the lead-in paragraph, Bruce Ricketts DID NOT write the article. I did–Captain Raymond Douglas Newman. I am, and have been since May 1998, the Wing Heritage Officer at 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base North Bay–DND’s military history/heritage representative to the media and public for North Bay and the surrounding region. I do army and navy military history/heritage as well as the full spectrum of air force, but my forte is the base at North Bay, particularly its NORAD operations (where I worked during and after the Cold War). I wrote the article years ago for the media and public as a general description of the Underground Complex, using documents from my archives, which include such things as the 1950’s engineering calculations for the facility to survive a nuclear strike, and from my personal experiences in the UGC–such as watching a 12-year-old move the Main Adit blast door, during a tour I gave. I don’t mind my article being used–however credit where credit is due! Anyone wanting more information about our Underground Complex can contact me at raymond.newman@forces.gc.ca

    Reply

    • Ronald Jones
      May 18, 2018

      I worked there in the 60’s as an SDC programmer. My responsibility was programming high speed tracking algorithms. I remember a funny incident. I was at a weapons director position during a simulation. I thought that I would try something. I positioned the cursor on a simulated BOMARC and instructed it to RTB (return to base). The missile turned around. It eventually got fixed by the human interface team.

      Ronald Jones

      Reply

      • Bryan Wallis
        August 18, 2018

        Hi Ronald. Did you know my father S/L (Major) Thomas Wallis. He worked there in 1962-65, then again 1970-72.

        Reply

  4. Betty Blythe
    September 5, 2017

    What’s happening with it now? Is it open to the public?
    I worked there for six years with Western Electric and Systems Development Corp in early 1960’s.

    Reply

    • Captain Doug Newman
      October 24, 2017

      Sorry, Betty, it’s not open to the public. The Underground Complex was put into warm storage in 2006 when we moved our NORAD operations above ground into a new facility, the Sgt David L. Pitcher Building. It’s status has been in limbo since; attempts have been made to sell or lease the facility–it’s ideal for a secure archives storage for a corporation or other government department, for example–but the drawbacks are three-fold. First it is huge, the size of a medium size shopping centre, and old–so is costly to run and maintain. Second, as fire prevention many of the facility’s structures are impregnated with asbestos–all which would have to be torn out and replaced. Third, the North Tunnel leads directly to our air base, posing a security conundrum. Tours were run for the public for a couple years after NORAD moved out, but were halted due to safety concerns. For example, our base no longer operates an ambulance; if anyone were to get hurt, suffer a heart attack, etc., we would have to notify city emergency services, wait for their arrival, guide them down one of the tunnels and so on. And there’s more to the safety issue. Which is too bad, because there is nothing like the UGC in Canada. Even only certain members of our base are allowed down, such as Construction Engineering workers (and myself), and no one is allowed underground alone. Cheers. Capt Raymond Douglas Newman, 22 Wing Heritage Officer P.s., I’d like to hear about your work and experiences in the UGC.

      Reply

  5. Robert Bedard
    August 25, 2016

    I was one of those bus drivers in the mid 1960’s was quite an experience drove for one year into that complex

    Reply

    • Kendall Cobb
      March 22, 2017

      do you happen to know if it is still considered open? they say its closed but is it really?

      Reply

  6. Derek Habbeshaw
    August 23, 2016

    I worked as a private there in 75-76 as a cook..propane busses down and the shift comming up had the right of way as we pulled off to the right in a rock cut out to let them pass.

    Reply

  7. Michael Eedy
    August 22, 2016

    the image titled “NORAD SAGE computer” is actually of the follow-on system – the FYQ-93 operations room

    Reply

    • Captain Doug Newman
      October 24, 2017

      You are absolutely right. I actually wrote the article, other than the lead-in paragraph. It was ripped off verbatim from an article I wrote years ago about the UGC for the media and public. However I did not supply the images or their captions, the latter obviously penned by someone who doesn’t know anything about the complex or its ops. If the people at this web site had gotten a hold of me, I could have provided proper images and captions. I’ve opted to write this reply because (a) supposedly this site caters to schools and people searching for info about our UGC, so hopefully they’ll read this, and (b) I wanted to say how I’m glad that you pointed out the mistake. Cheers. Captain Raymond Douglas Newman, 22 Wing Heritage Officer.

      Reply

  8. GOrd Sutton
    August 21, 2016

    I was stationed there in 63-65 and worked in the Sage Hole as we called it.

    Reply

  9. TD
    January 12, 2016

    Thank you for posting this.

    I was fortunate to be able to visit the complex twice in 1979 and again in 1983 when they were replacing the computers. I saw the control room look like the picture above. It was very impressive, entertaining, and seeminly secure. A great piece of propaganda. But in reality it was virtually useless.

    The complex may have been able to survive a direct hit by a bomb but why would it matter? If the base was nuked, the complex would be useless. Obviously the Soviets knew it was there, at least they knew it was near CFB North Bay and its 10,000 foot runway. If they nuked the base, they would wipe out all communications with the complex rendering it useless. An intact site with the latest computers with nothing to monitor. Then the ultra secure complex would quickly run out of air. The counter attack would need to be launched before the missiles hit. They needed little more than a secure above ground building.

    51 million 1960 dollars worth of hype. Or perhaps another cleverly disguised excuse for corporate welfare.

    Reply

  10. Mike hughes
    September 20, 2015

    Complete and utter waste of resource, I grew up with it, dad was the
    BCEOat north bay sq ldr G S HUGHES , I felt every blast during the
    excavation.
    It was defenbakers piece de stupidity and the American buggering
    of dumb Canadians and a legacy that still pollutes Canada
    If you think it was a good investment you need to pull your head
    out of the sand
    The f35 is the same story , Waite and see cause Canadians are that
    stupid they will probably vote harper back in office and he
    always wanted to be buggered by some American
    The whole thing is lame and predictable
    Have a great day

    Reply

    • M. Hughes
      January 4, 2016

      So glad I was wrong , Canadians woke up, pulled that spent member of US disfunction out , and put a good guy in office , Trudeau, kinda
      Like back in the old days when his dad took over and cleaned up
      the mess defenbunker left . Canadians , native and all deserve
      so much better then the conservatives gave us, go back to US
      and be the fundamental mess ups that you are with all that Christian
      crap , Native Canadians are taking her back yah

      Reply

      • Jeff
        September 12, 2017

        Still have the same opinion of Trudeau? Most of the country is not in love with this guy anymore.

        Reply

  11. Captain Doug Newman
    October 24, 2017

    Hello. If you are looking for information about CFB North Bay, contact me. I’m the DND representative for our military history/heritage to the media and public in North Bay and the surrounding region. This includes army and navy. My specialty is the air base–I can tell you most, if not everything, you would like to know. My e-mail is raymond.newman@forces.gc.ca

    Yours,

    Captain Raymond Douglas Newman
    22 Wing Heritage Officer
    Canadian Forces Base North Bay

    Reply

  12. Captain Doug Newman
    October 24, 2017

    Hello. Unfortunately tours were stopped years ago. See my comments to Betty Blythe, above. Any questions, feel free to contact me at raymond.newman@forces.gc.ca

    Yours,

    Captain Raymond Douglas Newman
    22 Wing Heritage Officer
    Canadian Forces Base North Bay

    Reply

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

Back to top
mobile desktop