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Three sites in western South Dakota along I-90 will help the world remember the Cold War's MAD policy: Mutual Assured Destruction.
Minuteman Missiles were the major land-based deterrent during the Cold War from 1961-1991. There were 150 silos in western South Dakota, and 149 have been filled in, their missiles extracted and destroyed.
One silo remains as a memory to those times: Delta 9. A training site, the missile in this silo never had a nuclear warhead. But it could have been fitted with one, if necessary.
One LCF (Launch Control Facility) is also preserved: Delta 1. This contains an above ground building where security personnel protected the missile sites. Thirty feet underground, two USAF officers waited for the fateful command to turn their keys and respond to a nuclear holocaust. Fortunately, word never came.
There were 15 LCFs in the Ellsworth complex, each with responsibility for 10 Minuteman II missiles. The other 14 LCFs have been dismantled.
The National Park Service is now giving tours; reservations are required. The tours are conducted every day; consult the web page for details. To obtain a reservation, call the Minuteman Missile NHS Project Office at 605-433-5552 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. MDT, Monday - Friday.
You can also go inside Ellsworth AFB Museum and see the command module where officers trained to prepare for Armageddon. During the summer, you can take the bus tour of the base and descend into the training missile silo.
By the parking lot is a Minuteman II missile standing near the museum’s entrance.
To log this cache, email me 3 items of information.
Delta 1 (I-90 exit 127) N 43° 52.671 W 101° 57.658
What direction from the main gate is the little white conical UHF antenna?
Delta 9 (I-90 exit 116) N 43° 55.870 W 102° 09.596
What direction would the 80-ton concrete lid go when it blasts off the top of the silo? (Observe the black rail behind the glass enclosure that now covers the silo.)
Ellsworth AFB (I-90 exit 67) N 44° 07.989 W 103° 04.389
What prop plane is next to the missile?
An earlier version of this cache asked: How many total tires on the Transporter-Erector truck, used to transport, insert & extract missiles? However, in 2005 this truck was moved inside the tour area to make room for the B-1. If you are able to take the tour, it's still a fun exercise. (Bring a flashlight to peer inside the cargo pod from the rear.)
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 12/31/2017 12:03:14 AM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (8:03 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum