Guided Tour Station 102.3 is an informational radio frequency that can be tuned into near any informational plaque indicated by a sign with a green symbol on it (including a hidden sign near the Wishing Well at Relay Point). This station provides information about the supposed history of Edwards Island as well as its landmarks and historical figures.
USS Kanaloa Propeller
Named after the Hawaiian god of the sea, the USS Kanaloa was launched on January 15th, 1941, and commissioned into service at the end of that year under the command of Lieutenant James Earle Platman. On October 28th, 1943, it was sunk by the Japanese sub-chaser Tokisada some 25 miles off the coast of Washington and remains, to this day, the only submarine casualty in American waters. Eighty-five officers, as well as twelve army passengers, were lost. The propeller was recovered in 1962, and in 1965, erected as a monument to the heroism of the brave men and women who tragically perished.
Location: Main Street
On the Sunken Steam trading card, the item description notes that the eagle-like figure on the memorial is actually a broad-winged hawk:
DID YOU KNOW? The bird featured on the USS Kanaloa Memorial is not actually an eagle, as many people think, but a broad-winged hawk. You will die alone, and unloved. - Edwards Island Visitors Bureau
Data Command Annex
This 'Data Command Annex' - as it had been dubbed - was used during the base's early years as the communication nerve center for outside military installations. It was also the primary office of Marianne Bozek, a civilian who developed communications protection through the invention of the famed WAL-system. A type of radio frequency identification - 'WAL', standing for 'Wave-Assisted Lock' - assigned each person who was stationed at Fort Milner a call-sign, through which they could use their portable two-wave radios to unlock prescribed doors and gates. Though the mechanics are considered 'outmoded' today, the island still uses this security method to honor its rich history.
Location: Discovery Cliffs
This is the Sentry, sculpted by Lieutenant Peter Hasboro. It was installed here in 1979 to remind all who view it of Fort Milner's original intent: to serve as a beacon of harbor defense. Though the base would eventually become acclaimed as the birthplace of many radio innovations during World War II, and until its deactivation would be known more for its schooling and the tragic sinking of the USS Kanaloa, the fort's spirit will always be that of the watchful Sentry - steady, protective, and ever vigilant of enemies both foreign and domestic.
Location: Epiphany Fields
DID YOU KNOW? The model for "The Sentry" was Jake Carlisle, a personal friend of the sculptor. Shortly after the statue's reveal ceremony, he suffered a pulmonary embolism and died. - Edwards Island Visitors Bureau
This early version of what would today be considered a 'blast and fallout shelter' was commissioned and built in 1946. The above-ground hub leads to a bunker 60 feet beneath the earth's surface, molded with layers of poured concrete and packed dirt. The lead blast door will only unlock through use of the 'call-and-response'-system, a setup devised by Lieutenant-Commander Matthew Fineburg to prevent tampering. If the Catbird Station - a small watchpoint in Edwards Forest - radios in a decoded attack, the shelter door will automatically open, triggering an alarm and compulsory evacuation.
Location: Epiphany Fields
US Army RCS
Fort Milner was the home of the US Army Radio Communications School, which saw more than 100,000 students take its curriculum. During the years it was open, the school trained troops from the various armed services in applied oral-communication, radio and TV broadcasting, telecommunications, and what was then state-of-the-art techniques in code-breaking using an early form of computer technology. The school was moved to Fort Baxter in Southern California when the post closed in 1974, and it still resides there to this day.
Location: Milner Outpost
Edwards Island's Owners
This island has had many owners - Portuguese explorers, Spanish settlers - but few stayed long, preferring the ranch-work offered by the mainland. After 1890, the island was gifted to Colonel Caleb Edwards for his part in the American-Indian Wars, and he would lease it to several mining companies throughout the early 1900's. This Relay Station served as the center of a makeshift railroad that carted coal to northern and southern piers. When Edwards died, the government saw a hole in national security at the outset of World War II and decided to take control of the island once again, founding Fort Milner in 1941.
Location: Relay Point
Dredged by Franciscan friars, this freshwater well was never actually used, as the missionaries decided the island wouldn't suit their ministering needs, and abandoned the project in 1852. It was utilized by Spanish pioneers for a while until it became a secondary resource for mining companies to get clean water. The US Navy ended up digging their own, more modern water pipeline, but servicemen and women would come here frequently for off-site meetings and day events.
Location: Relay Point
When he was stationed at Fort Milner, Colonel Tim Russell would frequently wander the woods west of his barracks and sketch the wildlife he'd encounter on his walks. After the fort closed in 1974, he led a petition to make the land federally protected, and in 1988, he succeeded. Now, Edwards Forest is an internationally-recognized wildlife refuge and bird sanctuary, home to 120 bird species - most notably, the white-tailed towhee, a large sparrow indigenous to only this island. The roosting tree that stands before you is a 400-year-old Red Alder, famous since its discovery in 1655 when Franciscan friars noted that its unusually-twisted trunk is bent True North.
Location: Towhee Woods
The Catbird Station was built to detect any enemy attempting a strike from the air. When operational, it was fully-outfitted with an SCR-271 antenna and an early version of OTH, which stands for 'Over-The-Horizon', a radar system used to detect targets at extreme distances. It was also the first check of the 'call-and-response' method. If a missile strike or airborne invasion was identified, a call would be sent from this station and, if the signal was found to be accurate, would trigger automatic safety measures and the evacuation of non-personnel.
Location: Bridge Stand
From 1941 to 1972, this communications tower served many different telecommunication functions, including point-to-point from its receivers, microwave from its dish, Ka-band for satellite-reception, and military air band for nearby aircraft. Unique in its construction, the tower houses its office in a segmented platform directly underneath its antenna and dish. Once unceremoniously called 'Site 82', in 1988 it was re-designated 'Harden Tower' for its longest-tenured radioman, Major Richard 'Dick' Harden, who served as the tower's communications officer for 8 years.
Location: Harden Tower