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South Dakota National Historic Sites


Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

9/14/2006 Stopped at a trailer near a gas station in the middle of nowhere to check in for my 10:00 tour at the Minuteman Missile NHS. Got in a conga line with 11 other people and drove about 5 miles to a launch complex. Most of the MM facilities were dismantled due to agreements with the Soviets; these were allowed to remain as historical sites. First a tour of the ground level facility – comms equipment, generators and a building for people who did 3 day shifts in support of the launch team. From there down the elevator (6 people at a time) into the bunker where the launch team did a 24 hour tour. Through an 8 ton door into a room the size of a large trailer. Just like in the movies – lots of equipment (comms, computers), chairs on rails with seat belts (whole room suspended on shocks) and the famous launch keys which take two to arm and launch the missiles. Looked very 60’s, although this facility stopped operation in 1993. Back on the conga line 10 miles away to one of the “silos” (connected to launch facility by underground cables). Here they pulled back the silo door partway to expose the silo complete with a test missile. Very cool and a little eerie.

The park sign
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The ground level facility outside
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One of the common areas
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A little dark humor
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The famous two-man launch facility
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One of the silos ...
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... and its deadly contents
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10/3/2019 Passing Wall by a bit we pulled into the Delta-9 Missile Site in the Minuteman Missile NHS. Here we could view one of the many missile launch sites scattered over the west, poised to strike or retaliate during the Cold War. The silo has the protective cover pulled partially back, exposing the missile (in this case a training missile) on the pad below. We listened to a cell phone talk about various aspects of the missile defense system while checking out the various components of the complex.

The park sign
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The launch site in the distance
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Closer up
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Me and Ken
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Looking at the missile ...
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... in the silo
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Interpretive signage ...
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... with phone audio narration
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Us again ...
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... and me
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