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Minuteman Missile National Park

Got outside pics and then inside, Cindy and Linda got their books stamped plus stickers. Watched the movie, which was very informative and about 28 minutes long. No charge for this park.

We went to the minuteman missiles due to the long launch time of the Titan series. Built out on the plains away from people for safety of people off the field was targeted. Cuban missile crisis, first time minuteman went on alert. In 1967, we had 1k missiles ready for defense of the nation.

The local ranchers fought to keep the silos out of their neighborhood from fear of what they were. MAD: mutual assured destruction. Made sure that no one would ever launch, basically a suicide pact by us and Russia. Required a 2 man crew always for security and had to be in sight of one another at all times and could only fire by order of the President. Have been a total of 12 different escalations up to today from us and Russia.

In the 90's we deactivated the missile field in South Dakota and thus why we can not visit these sites. We still have nuclear weapons, just not in the numbers we had at one time. Reagan played a big part in getting these numbers reduced. We still have a rush just as during the Cold War of MAD happening.

A nuclear-missile silo is one of the quintessential Great Plains objects: to the eye, it is almost nothing, just one or two acres of ground with a concrete slab in the middle and some posts and poles sticking up behind an eight-foot-high Cyclone fence; but to the imagination, it is the end of the world. -Ian Frazier, Great Plains, 1989

The Cold War and Nuclear Deterrence

The history of the Cold War is still being (USSR). A key part of the U written. For the millions of people who lived during the Cold War or lived through that era, memories and wherein US nuclear forces images remain: duck-and-cover drills, they are maintained at a cons Cuban Missile Crisis readiness. President Richard Nixon's 1972 trip to China, the 1980 US Olympic hockey team's upset victory, and the fall of the Berlin Wall-an event widely viewed as the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

Unlike a conventional war, there are no starting or ending dates, direct military encounters, or casualty counts. Instead, the Cold War is commonly understood as an ideological, economic, and political struggle between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). A key part of the US defense strategy during the Cold War was deterrence, wherein US nuclear forces were (and still are) maintained at a constant state of readiness.

Developed in the 1950s, the Minuteman I missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), part of the triad of air-, land-, and sea-based nuclear weapons. Innovative solid-fuel technology enabled Minuteman I and later Minuteman II to be deployed remotely from underground launch facilities (missile silos). If necessary, these missiles would be launched by crews stationed miles away. The missiles could travel over the North Pole and arrive at a target in less than 30 minutes.

Minuteman lI's 1.2 megaton warhead was the explosive equivalent of over a million tons of dynamite. There are no active Minuteman silos in South Dakota today, but 450 Minuteman missiles are still deployed in the upper Great Plains. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was established by Congress in 1999 to preserve two 1960s missile sites: Delta-09, a missile silo, and Delta-01, a launch control facility. The park invites you to explore the history and significance of the arms race and ICBM development, visit sites once off limits to civilians, and learn about the role the Minuteman lI system had as a nuclear deterrent that maintained peace and prevented war.

A National Park for the Cold War

In 1991 as the Cold War was coming to an end, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was signed by US President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Both sides agreed to dramatically reduce their nuclear arms. Three Minuteman missile fields, including the one in western South Dakota, were chosen for deactivation. As the sites were being shut down, the US Air Force and National Park Service worked together to find a site that would represent the nuclear arms race, the Minuteman's role during the Cold War, and the dedication of Air Force personnel who staffed the sites.

In 1999 Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was established. It was the first national park dedicated exclusively to the Cold War. Launch Control Facility Delta-01 included an underground Launch Control Center (LCC) where two Air Force officers (missileers) worked on 24-hour alert duty shifts, ready to launch missiles if there was a nuclear attack.

There were 100 LCCs and each one, like the LCC at Delta-01, remotely monitored ten missiles. If the correct codes and commands were received, Minuteman missiles could be quickly launched.

Today the facilities are preserved in their historic state. The underground Launch Control Center and above ground Launch Facility exclusively have virtually the same equipment and furnishings they did while operational.

Control Facility at Delta-01

The silo at Delta-09 held a missile for three decades. Today, it holds a Minuteman II training missile, the same size and specifications as the one housed here during the Cold War. The two monitored sites provide an unprecedented opportunity to explore the history and significance of the nuclear arms race.

Planning Your Visit

The park consists of three sites along Interstate 90 between Badlands National Park and Wall, South Dakota. Begin at the Visitor Center, located ΒΌ mile north of 1-90 Exit 131. A film and exhibits explore the broader context of the Cold War. Tours of the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility are offered year-round and take visitors underground to experience the front lines of the Cold War. Please call, email, or visit our website for operating hours and tour information.

Accessibility: We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information, go to a visitor center, call, or check our website.

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