Searching The Skies: Remote Alaska During the Cold War

JBER archaeologist Karlene Leeper speaks about the history of Air Force radar infrastructure in Alaska – how they were distributed across the landscape and how they have changed. Radar and communications systems in Alaska required updating after World War II. Dozens of small installations were constructed across remote Alaska. As technology changed, many of the sites became obsolete and their footprints, though extensive across the landscape, were greatly reduced.

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A map of North America near the Arctic Circle showing 30 radar sites spread out along the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line. Running from Alaska, across Northern Canada to Greenland, the line is approximately 3,600 miles long. Photo by U.S. Air Force, accessed via Wikimedia Commons public domain.


  • Karlene Leeper, archaeologist and cultural program resources manager, 611th Air Support Group, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

BROADCAST ON KSKA: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

RECORDED: Thursday, November 20, at the Anchorage Museum

HOST: Cook Inlet Historical Society


Addressing Alaskans features local lectures and forums recorded at public events taking place in Southcentral Alaska. A variety of local organizations host speakers addressing topics that matter to Alaskans. To let us know about an upcoming community event that you would like to hear on Addressing Alaskans, please contact us with details.

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Audio to be posted following broadcast.

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