The article mentioned a top secret missile development program taking place during World War II. Actually, it took place after the war was over. It went a long way toward jet propulsion and missiles. You can find out a lot more about it at the Missiles and More Museum. Several concrete towers were built to observe and record the flights of the missiles and still remain standing.
Topsail Island and Topsail Beach (and North Topsail Beach) got their names from the age of piracy. Pirate ships would hide behind the barrier island and wait for their prey to come by. Merchants ships, however, were always on the lookout for the top sails of the pirate ships which could be seen rising above the low vegetation of the island.
Ahoy There!! Pirate Ship A-Hiding Behind the Island. --RoadDog