Minuteman Missile NHS - Wall, SD
Posted by: Martin 5
N 43° 55.867 W 102° 09.633
13T E 727917 N 4868142
Quick Description: Minuteman Missile NHS is one of the newest units in the United States National Park System. It was established in 1999 to illustrate the history and significance of the Cold War, the arms race, and intercontinental ballistic missile development.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 2/12/2009 8:09:51 PM
Waymark Code: WM5TTM
The sprawling missile complex, one of several located in the central United States, remained on alert for nearly 30 years, until the site was de-activated following the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) by President George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1992. Under the terms of the treaty, the missiles were removed from their silos, and in 1994 the 44th Missile Wing was officially deactivated. The last site was destroyed in 1996, leaving a single launch facility and silo to be preserved as Cold War historic sites.
D-01 and D-09 were candidates for becoming a national historic site for a few reasons:
-Close to a major road (Interstate 90)
-Close to existing recreational facilities (Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore)
-The sites saw limited modification since they were built in the 1960's (true of all sites in the 44 MW).
This national historic site consists of three facilities: a main office and two significant Cold War-era sites, a Launch Control Facility and a missile silo/launch facility, formerly operated by the 66th Strategic Missile Squadron of the 44th Strategic Missile Wing, headquartered at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, SD. The facilities represent the only remaining intact components of a nuclear missile field that once consisted of 150 Minuteman II missiles, 15 launch control centers, and covered over 13,500 square miles of southwestern South Dakota. (Note: 450 of the newer Minuteman III missiles are still on active duty, at Malmstrom AFB, MT, Minot AFB, ND and F. E. Warren AFB, WY.)
Guided tours start at the main office, which is located just south of Interstate 90 at exit 131. The office is not historically significant; it was created solely as an office for the two missile sites. The sites can only be toured completely by making advance reservations with the National Park Service at the main office. Tours are approximately two hours long and are limited to six people due to the lack of space at D-01.
The launch facility, known as Delta Nine (D-09) was constructed in 1963. It occupies 1.6 acres one-half mile southwest of Interstate 90 at Exit 116 and six miles from the town of Wall, South Dakota, in eastern Pennington County. It consists of a silo 12 feet in diameter and 80 feet deep made of reinforced concrete with a steel-plate liner. The door to the silo has been welded and fitted with a glass roof, and an unarmed missile placed inside. Not only does this permit visitors to look down on the missile, but satellites are able to verify that the site is not operational, and hence in compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. For safety reasons, tours are not conducted underground. You can conduct a self-guided tour of the site during the day by calling a number with your cell phone and walking around the site, listening to the description of various points over the phone.
The launch control facility, known as Delta One (D-01), is about 11 miles away, to the east in northwestern Jackson County. It occupies approximately six acres 1.7 miles north of I-90 at Exit 127. It consists of an aboveground building containing a kitchen, sleeping quarters, and life support equipment, and a launch control center buried 31 feet deep and connected to the main building by an elevator. Guided tours are conducted underground here, but are limited to six people at a time due to the very small underground launch control center ("capsule"). Self-guided tours are not possible here; the gate for the fence around D-01 is always locked.
Beginning in summer 2007, numerous open houses were held at Delta-01 which greatly increased the numbers of visitors. Additionally, summer-season limited public tour hours were established for drive-up visitors at the Delta-09 launch facility.
State/States the Park is located...: South Dakota
Park Designation: Historic Park/Site
Website From the National Parks Service Page of this Waymark...: [Web Link]
Are pictures included?: yes
Times the Visitors Center (or Park) is Open....: Not listed
Months the Visitors Center/Park is open...: Not listed
SECONDARY website.: Not listed
Please post a picture or pictures with this log.