Another interesting web site is missilebases.com which is best described as a real estate service for old missile sites. This is owned/run by Edward Peden who owns an Atlas E site (#6) near Dover, Kansas, where he lives (and formerly manufactured ultralight aircraft). There have been many articles written about Ed and his home. Some include:
- katurner “Home Improvement for Missile Bases” by Ken Turner, who lives in a Nike missile site. This link is broken but is on archive.org at http://web.archive.org/web/20020610135201/http://members.tripod.com/kturnerga/silo.htm .
- Christian Science Monitor “Way Down Home in a Missile Silo: The Cold War Goes Condo”
- Airman magazine “The Atom’s Family” except the link is broken, try http://web.archive.org/web/20080822043816/http://www.af.mil/news/airman/0797/silo.htm.
- homelog.com “Home is where the missile was” (link inactive, but it is archived at http://web.archive.org/web/20021220025402/http://www.homelog.com/libraryDisplay.asp?searchindex=xx&idnumber=2553)
- Wired “A Room With an Apocalyptic View”
- HGTV episode of “Dream Builders” (DRB-210, though this is no longer on the HGTV web site, try http://web.archive.org/web/20080224010735/http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/remodeling/article/0,1797,HGTV_3659_1368754,00.html), “reZONED” (HREZD-413H), and “Subterraneans” (SUB-S, no longer on the HGTV web site, try http://web.archive.org/web/20080329143246/http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/remodeling/article/0,1797,HGTV_3659_1641541,00.html). I’ve seen the latter but not the other two so I don’t know if they use the same footage. In 2008, HGTV’s web site and programming were redesigned by an epileptic rodent and you can’t find the first or last episode.
- http://www.westword.com/issues/2004-09-23/news/news.html, an article entitled “Home Security, Better living through science on the prairie southeast of Denver,” on Ed Peden and a Titan I site in Colorado. The article is now gone from their web site so try this instead: http://web.archive.org/web/20051225092614/http://www.westword.com/issues/2004-09-23/news/news.html.
- http://www.nateferguson.com/silo.html. “Bless Our Happy Missile Silo.”
- Weird U.S. on the History Channel, an episode entitled “This Odd House” which is no longer listed on History’s web site. The series was based on a book by the same name. This particular segment can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_liNYkZn_M&NR=1.
- Stephen Fry in America ( http://www.stephenfry.com/features/fry-in-america and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Fry_in_America) is a 6-part BBC series. Episode 4, “Mountains and Plains”, includes a visit with Ed Peden. The series is sometimes aired in the US on HDNet.
- How the States Got Their Shape (http://www.history.com/shows/how-the-states-got-their-shapes/episodes#slide-6) on History.com, the episode entitled “Living on the Edge” includes a quick tour and interview with Ed Peden.
- Condo at the End of the World by Joseph L. Flatley is a discussion of private bunkers for survival, and includes a video piece that features Ed Peden and his home.
- Selling underground bunker homes is a piece by CNN (May 3, 2012) that includes a short video piece on the Pedens and 20th Century Castles.
Another real estate site is silohome.com which seems to be dedicated to selling Plattsburgh site 8 by any means possible. They claimed to have been successful via eBay at 2.1 million dollars with the sale to be completed in April or May 2003, but as of April 2010 it’s still for sale, for 2.3 million dollars.
Another real estate site is http://www.siloforsale.com. Checking on February 18, 2009, they have two properties for sale: an Atlas F (577-2 in Oklahoma) and a Titan II (373-9 in Arkansas). As of April 2010, they only list the Atlas F site. After about July 2011 the site appears to have died, one last copy is at http://web.archive.org/web/20110721192613/http://www.siloforsale.com/availableproperties.htm.
Yet another real estate site is http://undergroundfortresses.com but around February 2011 the web site disappeared; one last copy is at http://web.archive.org/web/20110131043602/http://undergroundfortresses.com.
Microsoft’s MSR Maps (formerly Terraserver-USA) used to be helpful in finding photographs of just about any location. I included URLs for sites I had located on MSR Maps. At one time they did not have photos of everything in the US but promised to by the end of 2001. As of 2/2003 they blew their promise by a wide margin. There were a few sites for which they never did obtain imagery. UPDATE: In April 2012 I found out that Microsoft will shut down MSR Maps at the end of April. Links will be rewritten to use Google Maps imagery but I’ll keep the older USGS images from MSR Maps as historical reference. This is particularly interesting for retired missile fields because the older USGS photos that MSR Maps provided can be compared with newer Google imagery and in some cases you can see how facilities have been recycled or obliterated. Note that Google Maps can be a real resource hog when loading images.
Google Maps is a web site that competes with MSR Maps regarding aerial photos.
Google Earth is also quite popular though it requires downloading extra software to work. I have to say that some of the photography is miserable in places, but excellent in others, probably just a matter of availability and cost. There was a placemark file that purported to list all ICBM sites via Google Earth, see http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/187519/an/page/page/0/vc/1 except that it has been removed.
Other mapping/photo web sites include:
There are other web sites, for commercial companies that sell images rather than making them public. They are not of interest here.
The Topeka Capital-Journal had an interactive map of Kansas sites, namely Atlas E sites around Topeka, Atlas F around Salina, and Titan II around Witicha. But that web page disappeared, try http://web.archive.org/web/20080319103803/http://www.cjonline.com/webindepth/missilesilos/multimedia/map.shtml. There are a few factual errors, for example claiming 17 Titan II silos (there were 18) while the map shows the location of 16, and showing only 9 of 12 Atlas F silos.
A good list of Air Force bases is here, compiled by Joe McCusker. It’s been especially useful for determining the closing date of former bases.
Another list of Air Force facilities is at http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/facility/usaf.htm.
Former military bases are remembered at http://www.formerbases.com though the web site is very much under construction.
Another good site is Scott D. Murdock’s www.airforcebase.net. His trip reports are particularly interesting to me because they locate some sites that are not easily found, include images, and sometimes tell interesting tales.
A 607-page government publication, “To Defend and Deter: Legacy of the United States Cold War Missile Program” was available at: http://www.cevp.com/docs/COLDWAR/1996-11-01952.pdf but has since disappeared. I found another copy at https://www.denix.osd.mil/denix/Public/Library/NCR/coldwar.html but that went away too, and a Google search only reveals sources that will sell you a copy; printed copies occasionally show up on eBay. Another copy was found at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/content/environment/CR/HistoricBuildingsandStructures/DocumentationGuidance/94-1264-LEGACY-US-COLD-WAR-MISSLE-PROGRAM_0.PDF which also disappeared, but lately you can try http://www.denix.osd.mil/cr/upload/94-1264-LEGACY-US-COLD-WAR-MISSLE-PROGRAM_0.PDF so, hopefully this will stick around for a while, just be aware it is around 36 megabytes in size. I also kept a 70-megabyte copy and as far as I know there are no copyright issues, having been published/funded by the US government: 1996-11-01952.pdf.
Scott O’Steen had a web site Silo-Net with drawings and other information on Atlas and Titan systems/sites and many more links to other web sites. The web site disappeared many years ago, however, pieces may be viewable at http://web.archive.org/web/20011205013801/http://www.ruralnet.net/~scotto/index.html.
spaceflightnow.com carries news on space-related events, including a fairly good list of upcoming launches.
A nice table of ICBM deployments from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is here.
Another nice discussion of ICBM history is http://www.losangeles.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-060912-023.pdf.
Yet another ICBM history is at http://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/icbm/.
The Washington Post ran an article partly about South Dakota Minuteman sites D-1 and D-9 but it was really a retrospective of the Cold War, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59355-2002Jul24.html. HOWEVER the article has disappeared into the archives and now costs money to access. The title is “Rethinking the Unthinkable” by Bob Thompson, published July 28, 2002. In 2010 a copy was discovered at http://www.cdi.org/nuclear/rethinking-pr.cfm.
Terry Naughton was a Convair safety inspector and wrote about his experiences here. However, the link died, but was archived at http://web.archive.org/web/20031219073902/http://www.jump.net/~crossley/AtlasE/Naughton/iwt1.html. His other writings are currently at http://people.redhat.com/zaitcev/avia/scav.html, scroll down or search for Atlas to find the relevant parts which I believe are the same as the previous link.
Strategic Air Command web site: http://strategic-air-command.com.
Patches: sacpatches.com (which died in August, 2007, see http://web.archive.org/web/20070704193348/http://www.sacpatches.com for a farewell message, though the old contents are in archive.org, see http://web.archive.org/web/20070519035902/http://www.sacpatches.com), http://strategic-air-command.com, http://usafpatches.com.
http://www.afhra.af.mil is an official Air Force historical resource, in this case I’m more interested in Organizational Records (Wings/Groups and Squadrons/Flights) but other folks might find other areas helpful.
An extensive list of U.S. Nuclear accidents is at http://www.lutins.org/nukes.html. A discussion of nuclear accidents is at http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa081600a.htm and DOD policy on handling a nuclear accident is at http://usgovinfo.about.com/bldod523016.htm. Another discussion is at http://nsarchive.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/document-friday-narrative-summaries-of-accidents-involving-nuclear-weapons which in turn references http://nsarchive.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/635.pdf.
An extensive web site discussing nuclear weapons is http://nuclearweaponarchive.org. Lists of tests, photos, etcetera.
http://www.aracnet.com/~pdxavets/a_tests.htm. Veterans of atmospheric atomic tests tell their stories, with impressive images. The web site died, so try: http://web.archive.org/web/20080213120541/http://www.aracnet.com/~pdxavets/a_tests.htm and http://web.archive.org/web/20080213120541/http://www.aracnet.com/~pdxavets (except the fine folks at aracnet.com have disallowed access even to archived web pages).
http://www.astronautix.com A comprehensive history of space flight, also billed as the “Encyclopedia Astronautica.”
A “Field Guide” to American spacecraft is interesting and sort of related to ICBMs because the Mercury and Gemini programs used recycled ICBMs. See http://www.americanspacecraft.com.
Jonathan’s Space Home Page, http://www.planet4589.org/space, deals with space flight and may yield information related in some way to ICBMs. For example his page http://www.planet4589.org/space/lvdb/launch/Atlas is a list of all Atlas launches. And he, too, has a comprehensive list of launch sites though I have not yet tried to reconcile his list with mine; see http://planet4589.org/space/log/sites.txt.
http://www.radomes.org/museum is a site dedicated to air defense radars.
http://www.scramble.nl/usafbase.htm allows searching for info on aircraft and missiles by serial number. Fairly limited search capabilities last I checked.
http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/usafserials.html is another serial number database though current location isn’t included. Also, the web site has gone away, try http://web.archive.org/web/20080512044756/http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/usafserials.html.
http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/faculty/boneill/trivia.html An interesting quiz/trivia about missiles.
http://www.geocities.com/bobandrepont/spacepdf.htm Manuals and documents on manned space flight. Also, on unmanned space flight: http://www.geocities.com/bobandrepont/unmannedpdf.htm. However, in October of 2009, Geocities closed. Try instead: http://web.archive.org/web/20071014061358/http://www.geocities.com/bobandrepont/spacepdf.htm and http://web.archive.org/web/20080113175814/http://www.geocities.com/bobandrepont/unmannedpdf.htm.
http://www.mercenary-missileer.com Initially supplied patches, then branched out to an interesting line of missile-related products, and now a discussion forum as well.
http://www.nukephoto.com Impressive collection of photos, largely based on work by Paul Shambroom for his book, Face to Face with the Bomb: Nuclear Reality After the Cold War. The web site has died, so try: http://web.archive.org/web/20071230063941/http://www.nukephoto.com.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icbm Wikipedia’s entry for ICBMs.
http://cryptome.org/eyeball/index.org is a large collection of imagery of mostly-military stuff.
Kansas had a variety of missiles, a short article (from 1998) about them and one man’s start at preserving their history is at http://www.cjonline.com/stories/020998/com_missile.html. Unfortunately, the National Aerospace Trust apparently no longer exists. A collection of their Atlas photos is at http://siloboy.com/site/Pages/oppPix.html. A Titan II document of theirs is at http://www.308smw.com/files/Titan_II_Phase_II_Construction_Prints_LRAFB.pdf which is a collection of blueprints.
http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-most-incredible-abandoned-missile-bases-earth “10 Creepiest Abandoned Cold War Missile Silos” is an interesting collection of photographs.
http://www.alternatewars.com/WW3/WW3_Documents/USAF/SAC_MSL_CHRON_1939-88.htm is an extensive SAC missile chronology from 1939-1988.
Museums and other visitable facilities include:
- Atlas D: none known.
- Atlas E:
- Warren AFB site 12 near Greeley Colorado. See http://w3.uwyo.edu/~jimkirk/atlas.html#warren12.
- Atlas F:
- Dyess AFB site 578-5 near Abilene Texas (close to Oplin). Atlas Missile Tours (Bruce Townsley) owns (owned?) this site and is renovating it. He also offers tours of other Dyess sites. At least, he used to, but the web site has died (see http://web.archive.org/web/20060116042600/www.geocities.com/atlasmissiletours).
- Dyess AFB site 3 near Clyde Texas. An article at http://www.texnews.com/1998/1999/local/atlas0618.html claims this will be turned into a museum.
- Dyess AFB site 6 near Lawn Texas. An article at http://web.reporter-news.com/1998/1999/brazos/bill0728.html states this is being turned into a banquet hall. See also http://www.texnews.com/1998/2000/brazos/bill0622.html.
- Dyess AFB site 9 near Shep Texas. Though the site may be for sale (or sold), there used to be scuba diving in the silo. See http://w3.uwyo.edu/~jimkirk/atlas.html#dyess9.
- Schilling AFB site 11 near Concordia Kansas. Tours were apparently available, see http://www.kansasphototour.com/atlas.htm, however the missile site has changed hands and the phone number no longer works. And the web site died, try http://web.archive.org/web/20110205003623/http://kansasphototour.com/atlas.htm.
- Titan I:
- Another scuba site is Titan I site 568-C near Royal City, Washington. See http://www.northwestdiver.com/features/2003/0120-1.php except that link is broken, so try http://web.archive.org/web/20041018235810/http://www.northwestdiver.com/features/2003/0120-1.php instead.
- Around 2001 a fellow named Bari Hotchkiss was attempting to renovate Larson site 568-1 (near Moses Lake, Washington) and operate it as “Camp Titan”. See http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/1999/0907.html#anchor596414 (the link has died). However, in March 2003 I noticed his web site, camptitan.com, no longer existed. Still, it may be the closest to a visitable site. In late 2003 I learned it was for sale, and as of late 2007 is still for sale.
- Titan II:
- Titan Missile Museum near Tucson Arizona. See http://www.titanmissilemuseum.org.
- Whiteman AFB, Missouri: http://www.whiteman.af.mil/guide/oscar/oscar.html (link now inactive but see http://web.archive.org/web/20020807225337/http://www.whiteman.af.mil/guide/oscar/oscar.html) A former Minuteman II Missile Alert Facility (or Launch Control Center or Launch Control Facility) on Whiteman AFB. I understand tours can be arranged on one Friday each month during the March through October tour season, by contacting the 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (660) 687-6126. Tours are briefly mentioned on Whiteman’s web site, here. See also http://www.af.mil/news/airman/0897/oscar.htm which unfortunately has died, so try http://web.archive.org/web/20080628174237/http://www.af.mil/news/airman/0897/oscar.htm.
- Grand Forks, North Dakota: http://www.af.mil/news/Sep2001/n20010905_1231.asp (link inactive, try http://web.archive.org/web/20050330172732/http://www.af.mil/news/Sep2001/n20010905_1231.asp) and http://www.peterson.af.mil/hqafspc/News/News_Asp/nws_tmp.asp?storyid=01-211 (link now dead, HQAFSPC doesn’t feel that stories this old are worth keeping but try instead http://web.archive.org/web/20060523230800/http://www.peterson.af.mil/hqafspc/News/News_Asp/nws_tmp.asp?storyid=01-211), and http://web.trnonline.com/archives/2000archives/08212000/regional_news/23359.shtml (link inactive, trnonline has removed their archives for the time being) suggest that in the future, Grand Forks will open Missile Alert Facility Oscar-0 and Launch Facility N-33 to the public. An article on the state historical society’s web site: https://www.state.nd.us/HIST/hp/sites/oscarZero.html which is yet another dead link. In early 2003, an article appeared “Cold War missile site now belongs to North Dakota”: http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/02/03/news/topnews/147964.txt (another dead link) and was quickly followed by a sarcastic and unsigned editorial http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/02/11/news/opinion/editorials/148522.txt. A news article dated November 30, 2008, suggests a possible opening in 2009, see: http://www.minotdailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/521595.html?nav=5010. They are now called the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site with a web page at http://history.nd.gov/historicsites/minutemanmissile/index.html.
- Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. After Ellsworth AFB retired all of their Minuteman missiles, Alert Facility D-1 and Launch Facility D-9 became the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site under the National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/mimi/.
- Warren AFB museum, Cheyenne Wyoming. Small, mostly consists of launch control consoles from Minuteman. See http://www.warrenmuseum.com.
- Chanute Air Force Base was located near Rantoul, Illinois. It closed in 1993 but is now a museum which includes Minuteman training facilities which included partial silos. See http://www.aeromuseum.org/exhibitsCurrent_minuteman.html which unfortunately announces the permanent closure of the silo.
- Peacekeeper: none.
- Other facilities:
- Nike site SF-88L, San Francisco: http://www.nikemissile.net but that link is dead so try http://web.archive.org/web/20050924204713/http://nikemissile.net/ instead, and see also http://www.nps.gov/goga/nike-missile-site.htm along with other articles on the nps.gov web site (search for “Nike”).
- Strategic Air and Space Museum (formerly the SAC museum) between Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. http://www.strategicairandspace.com
- Space and Missile Museum, Patrick AFB, Florida: http://www.patrick.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4496
- South Dakota Air and Space Museum: http://www.sdairandspacemuseum.com/index.php See also http://www.aero-web.org/museums/sd/eafbsd.htm for a review.
- Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc California, tours are available, see http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4658.
- See also the Association of Air Force Missileers at http://www.afmissileers.org for a more complete list of museums and other information including stories by missileers.
There’s a Yahoo group called missile_talk, see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/missile_talk/.
Another group is http://www.missileforums.com which includes news, a store, and discussion forums. It actually seems to be an offshoot of http://www.mercenary-missileer.com mentioned earlier.
NASA has an archive site for some of their best images, GReat Images in NASA, or “GRIN”, at http://grin.hq.nasa.gov.
An enjoyable history of liquid-fuel rocket development is the book “Ignition! An informal history of liquid rocket propellants” by John D. Clark (1972), but it is hard to find and terribly expensive to purchase.
“Ballistic Missiles in the United States Air Force 1945-1960” by Jacob Neufeld is an official Air Force history book (400 pages) that is somewhat interesting but contains a lot of the history of the bureaucracy of the various programs. It does contain some good photos, and tables of development/deployment dates.
“A History of the U.S. Air Force Ballistic Missile” by Ernest G. Schwiebert is similar to Neufeld’s book but covers 1954 to 1964.
“The Effects of Nuclear Weapons” by Samuel Glasstone. This is a classic of sorts, originally published around 1957.
“From Snark to Peacekeeper: a pictorial history of Strategic Air Command” is a good book because it not only contains many good photos (as the title implies) but it also contains maps for all US ICBM sites, some of which have been reproduced in various web sites. Be warned the maps are not always exactly right.
So what do people do with old missile sites? As indicated above, some are turned into homes or schools. At least two are used for scuba diving. I heard one is used as a “shot tower” to manufacture lead shot for ammunition. Several were used as hazardous storage facilities. At least one is a museum with (hopefully) more to follow. One was used as a dark sky site by the Prairie Astronomy Club. As of 2003 a few are becoming internet data storage services. One was a “time capsule” repository but the project is no longer available.
Here is a fascinating sound clip from an Air Force training film that describes how missile guidance systems work (it’s a 1.1 Meg .wav file). We think this is for the cruise missile. A transcription is here if you have difficulty understanding the sound clip. Also other related items such as the Retroencabulator from Rockwell.
Bureau of Atomic Tourism. Visit the Trinity site and more.
Roswell-online was an interesting site but has died and been taken over by one of those “domain squatter” companies.
http://www.casde.unl.edu Virtual Nebraska might be an alternate source for imagery of Nebraska launch complexes.
On June 6, 2008, it was announced that the three ICBM Space Wings will be renamed as Missile Wings. This may cause various Web links to fail as URLs change, and a few patches will need to be redesigned and deployed.
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