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Site Summit star set to shine
The Site Summit star will be lit at 5 p.m. Friday (U.S. Air Force photo/John Pennell)
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Site Summit star set to shine

Posted 11/28/2011   Updated 11/28/2011 Email story   Print story


by JBER Public Affairs
News release

11/28/2011 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The summit star is lit every year in conjunction with Anchorage's City of Lights celebration - Friday at 5 p.m. It remains lit until the last musher from the Iditarod crosses the finish line, usually sometime in mid- to late-March.

For nearly 50 years, a holiday star has graced the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson skyline, but its size, location and purpose has changed a little over the years.

In 1958, Capt. Douglas Evert, then the commander for the B Battery, 4th Missile Battalion, 43rd Artillery, had a 15-foot wide star built on top of the gatehouse at Site Summit.
Site Summit was the location of a Nike Hercules missile battery from about 1959 until 1979.

Originally, when the star was turned on, it only appeared as one bright light, with no real shape, to those who viewed it from Anchorage.

In 1960, the star was redesigned and relocated to the side of the mountain; still about 4,000 feet up.

It was expanded from the original 15 feet to 117 feet in diameter.

Since then, avalanches have occasionally wiped out portions of the star, or the entire star.

Each summer, work crews from JBER journey up to the top of Mount Gordon Lyon, where the star is now located, to repair the portions destroyed by the rushing snow and to replace each light bulb.

Since the star's reconstruction in 1989, that means replacing all of the 60-watt light bulbs.

This is no easy task, considering much of the now 300-foot diameter star is on the face of the mountain and positioned at precarious angles.

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