Bev & Jerry 2018 Summer Travel travel blog

Missile Control Room - Nothing can go wrong

Launch Directive - Note Failure Instructions

Titan II Missile in Silo

Titan II Missile Museum

Tucson, Arizona

May 27th

Today, we toured a Titan II Missile Silo which is the only one still in existence. It's only purpose is to remain as a historical footnote to the madness of the cold war. The last Titan II missile silo was officially taken out of service on July, 1, 1987. There were fifty four (54) of these silos at the height of the cold war. They were placed in three groups of 18 each. Those silo sites were Tucson, Arizona, Wichita, Kansas, and Little Rock, Arkansas. Each missle, stood 103 feet tall and carried one nuclear warhead capable of destroying an area of 900 square miles. Compare that to the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. They could destroy an area of four (4) square miles. The worst part is that these bad boys could be launched in 58 seconds. That was because they carried a full load of a special fuel at all times. The fuel had to be kept at a constant 60 degrees. Other missiles have to be fueled before launch which takes 35 – 40 minutes. These Titan II missiles were intended only as a deterrent. That is, they would only be launched as a retaliatory measure. If they were ever launched, it would mean the end of the world as we know it. Once launched, there was no kill switch, they were gone. This stuff is really frightening!!!! In addition to these fifty four (54) bad boys, we each ( ie: us and the Soviets) had thirty thousand (30,000) missiles pointed at each other. The Air Force called it Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D).

To scare you even more, we learned that the first missile guidance control systems were developed by the company that manufactured AC Spark plugs. That system was in use for ten years. It was replaced by a system designed by AC Delco.

The docent who conducted our tour of the missile silo was actually a crew member assigned to that particular silo during the early 1970's. The silos were manned by four (4) person crews doing twenty four (24) hour shifts. They were housed at the nearby Davis Monthan Air Force base. When they reported to their shift, they were given a food box to take with them to the silo. Interestingly, women were also assigned to these crews starting in 1976. The Air Force was the first of the services to accept women into it's ranks.

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