Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

While visiting the Badlands, we also had an opportunity to visit the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.  At the visitor station, they had a kids' video on the Cold War and the minuteman missile, which was great for explaining what it was all about to the kids, and the Junior Ranger program did a great job reinforcing what they learned in the video.

We were also able to secure tickets for one of the ranger-guided "top secret" tours of the launch control center!  We highly recommend doing so; this was truly history come to life!  However, if you are interested, know that the tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis, and the tours are quite popular.  We arrived around 9:30 and were able to secure tickets for a 2:00 tour with Ranger Butch, truly an outstanding tour guide!  Originally, he told us that Jake couldn't come on the underground part of the tour since if the elevator were to malfunction, we would have to climb out on a ladder in a tight space.  However, once we were on the tour, it wasn't a problem.  And no, the elevator did not malfunction. ;)

The "peacekeeper", used to protect the perimeter.
The outside of the facility, all the locals knew that this was missile control center.
The lounge.  The magazines are all from December 1992.
The kitchen.  The prices are still listed on the board to the left.
Thankfully we never had to use this facility!  We are now 30ft below ground level.
The blast door, which is almost 3 ft thick.
The first key required to initiate launch
Bunker is exactly like it was left when this unit was decommisioned.
They had to constantly study the procedure book, which is laid out out here.
Memos on the wall from January 1993 when this was shut down.
The second key required to launch, 12 feet away from the first one, insuring that both people had to agree in order to launch.
Lots of large computers that pale in comparison to cheapest of computers today.
They didn't have to hold  it during their 12 hour shifts.  Notice the privacy curtain which wasn't added until women started working down here.
The men working here were not allowed to be here alone, hence the "No-Lone" zone.

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