4th Missile Bn
517th Artillery
Canal Zone



Rich Thestrup, Battery C


Recollections from 1960-62

I was part of the original Hawk Missile Battery stationed on Flamenco Island. (Sept 1960 - Dec 1962) I have kept in touch with several of my buddies who were also assigned to the Fire Control Platoon. Great duty. Was assigned to the BCC as a Fire Control Operator (MOS 176.10) during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Was locked onto a Russian aircraft that tested our airspace, it made a 180 just before getting into our range ring. We had orders to shoot down any aircraft that violated the Canal Zone airspace during this period. A scary time. Found out later the it was carrying a dead diplomat from Columbia to Cuba. Spent my whole life on an island. Born on Manhattan Island, Service on Flamenco Island, worked on Rikers Island, where I retired as a Captain with the Dept. of Corrections. Now live on Long Island N.Y. You can reach me at Irishnorge@aol.com.

Rich Thestrup


Rich Thestrup's then and now pictures.  45 years brings a lot of change to Fort Grant and Battery C.

Right, 1960 view of Rich Thestrup in front of the door to his room.  Left, the same spot in 2005.

Top, in front of the shower and bathroom.  The same area in 2005 is now a Hotel Restaurant area!