Raven Rock Mountain – Underground Pentagon

The Raven Rock Mountain Complex (RRMC), also known as Site R, is a U.S. military installation with an underground nuclear bunker near Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania, at Raven Rock Mountain that has been called an “underground Pentagon”. The bunker has emergency operations centers for the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and United States Marine Corps. Along with Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center in Virginia and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado, it formed the core bunker complexes for the US Continuity of Government plan during the Cold War to survive a nuclear attack.


Raven Rock Mountain is adjacent to Jacks Mountain on the north while Miney Branch flows west-to-east between them in the Potomac River Watershed. The 1820 Waynesboro-Emmitsburg Turnpike with toll station for the 1787 crossroad was constructed between the mountains, where the Fight at Monterey Gap was conducted after the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg (Stuart’s artillery at Raven Rock Gap shelled Federal troops.) In 1870, copper ore was discovered to the north, and the nearby Fountain Dale Springs House was established in 1874. The scenic area’s mountain recreation facilities to the west included the 1877 Pen Mar Park, the 1878 High Rock Tower, the 1885 Monterey Country Club, and several resorts (e.g., Blue Mountain House, Buena Vista Springs Hotels, & Washington Cliff House). The 1889 Jacks Mountain Tunnel on the Western Extension (Baltimore and Harrisburg Railway) was completed near Raven Rock Mountain, and nearby stations were at Blue Ridge Summit and Charmian. The Army’s 1942 Camp Ritchie was built southwest of the resorts, and a local road was built eastward from Blue Ridge Summit and intersected the north-south Fountaindale-Sabillasville Road (the intersection now provides access to the RRMC main gate.)

Planning for a protected Cold War facility near Washington, D.C. began in 1948 for relocation of military National Command Authorities and the Joint Communications Service. Army UnitIn 1953 the Army’s Raven Rock unit was part of Joint Support Command, then in 1971 was redesignated as the Directorate of Telecommunications and placed under the garrison commander of Fort Ritchie, where Strategic Communications Command moved. The Directorate was redesignated USACC Site R Telecommunications Center in 1976, then simply USACC Site R in October 1981 (both under 7th Signal Command). Col. Humphrey L. Peterson was the 1983 commander of USACC Site R, which was redesignated in May 1984 as USAISC-Site R. Operation of the center was removed from the mission when the unit was redesignated the 1111th U.S. Army Signal Battalion under the 1101st U.S. Army Signal Brigade in October 1988 (under the 1108th U.S. Army Signal Brigade in October 1993), and the battalion remained responsible for maintenance, upkeep and communications. The unit became the 114th Signal Battalion under the 21st Signal Brigade after the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

Underground communications center

The planned deep underground communications center was identified in the original 1950 federal petition to seize the Beard Lot, a 1,500-foot-high, mile-long hill located at Fountaindale and extending east and south along the Waynesboro-Emmitsburg road, The “Declaration of Taking” for “United States of America Versus 1,100 Acres of Land” was filed at the Adams County courthouse on 23 January 1951, and made the government the official owner of the 280-acre tract seized from four properties (17 total properties had been requested by 15 February—some only for temporary use). South of and above the Carson service station on the Sunshine trail, bulldozers began work on 19 January 1951; by 3 February a roadway to the site had been leveled behind a farmhouse; and by 24 February underground work had commenced (40 men working “normally” on that date were only performing above-ground construction). By 26 May the Army had named the landform Raven Rock Mountain (“Raven Rock” is a pillar landform to the north along the mountain range) and listed its elevation as 1,527 feet.

After the 2001 September 11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney used Raven Rock as a protected site away from President George W. Bush.

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