The Dew Line: We Were the Coldest of the Cold Warriors

The DEW (Defense Early Warning) Line was a series of 63 top secret sites above the Artic Circle providing early warning of a possible Soviet attack during the Cold War.

The Air Force photo above of the Point Lay Alaska DEW Line station taken by Tech. Sgt. Donald L. Wetterman shows living and equipment facilities, radar dome, and the tropospheric communications system used to relay messages between sites in the days before satellite communications.

DEW Line Map

When the DEW Line contract was awarded in the late 1950s, Vectrus was called ITT Federal Electric Corporation, and the large and highly challenging technical, logistical and infrastructure asset management demands proved an ideal environment for setting the trajectory of our company.

B. Simon working on DEW line air/ground receivers at CAM-4

Employees responsible for maintaining the advanced radar and communication systems had to have advanced knowledge of electronics and specialized training provided by the company. The MIT-developed technology was a marvel of its time and was capable of relaying a warning message across the Arctic and then down to NORAD at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs.

Klygstron Tube repair on the DEW Line

Replacing a klystron tube at a DEW Line site. Klystron's are used in radar systems, high power communications and high-energy physics.

Christmas Holiday celebration at the Pelly Bay site. Larger sites had libraries and showed movies that were flown in from the U.S. The workforce included mechanics, cooks, logisticians, technicians and medical staff.

Inuit welder

An Inuit welder makes repairs. Each site had to be highly self-sufficient to keep equipment and life-support systems operational.

Release date

Wednesday, September 24, 2014