| Abandoned missile silo sites|
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West Central Wisconsin
|Shooting prairie dogs north of Wall SD last weekend and noticed a couple of chain-link fenced areas and was told they were abandoned missile silo sites. Rancher told us after missles were removed and viewed by Russian satelites the holes were filled. He also told us the landowner had rights to the electrical and communications cable buried across their property. I'm thinking this could be some major coin if salvaged. Anyone on here have that opportunity or live near one that could shed some information about this or anything interesting about living near a missile silo back in the 60's-90's? Thanks, Joe.|
Edited by JoBob 6/6/2010 20:58
|So how was the p dog hunting? I see some the the fenced in sites have hay or equipment parked in them.|
|There was one about 5 miles from my house. It is before my time but some guys said they sneaked in there one night after it had been abandoned and one of the guys took a leak in the hole. Said he heard it hit bottom after he was done zipping. |
The only other sign is the contamination of the aquifer below ground from some solvent they used. It is now contaminated about an 7 mile area from the well and all new wells have to be sealed with bentonite when drilling at certain levels.
|Had one on back side of farm. Very interesting when they changed out missiles. The warhead was hauled separatly in a van truck but was escorted by several Air Force vehicles including armored with gun terrants. One helicopter gunship was constantly circling and in front was a US marshal which I was told also carried a full arsenal. When they pulled the missile. a long trailer with hydrolic rams would set up vertically over the silo and then the missile was winched right up into the trailer, which was then lowered and off they would go. The buried cables consisted of hundreds of small strands of copper wire in a copper sheath with rubber then steel then plastic outer coating. A cable going to a single site was about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Trunk lines were considerably larger. |
Years ago they were updated to take a near strike. The door was opened with a explosive blast which I was told by AF personnel would blow open even with over 20 tons of sandbags piled on them. Personally glad they have been closed down. Didn't like the big bullseye on us.
West Texas (Gods Country)
|here is one near abilene texas. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/7244|
Roseglen, North Dakota
|I live in an area of ND where the missles HAVE NOT been removed. In fact, there is one 1/4 mile from our farm. In the early 60's, my father worked for an electrical company (Lord Commonwealth) that did some/all of the wiring; I can remember as a youngster being in the bottom of one of the siloes with Dad. |
JoBob--you have your info right, when they are abandoned the wire belongs to the landowner; I can remember seeing ads from salvage companies advertising to remove the cable from your land if you lived in an area where they were removed. Copper brought a good price then. I have in my possession a 50' piece of that type of cable that came from our land when we had to have some cable moved when it was in the path of some new grain bins--it is an impressive cable. Over 100 small conductors sheathed in a layer of material that is resistant to a nuclear attack.
And, yes, it is quite a show of force when work on the missles, there will be between 2 and 4 Humvees parked within 1/2 mile of the base in all 4 directions, another one at the base, and sometimes, not always a helicopter around. They take their job seriously, that is what they are trained to do. But, we always wave at them, a lot of times our friendly German Shepherd dog pays them a visit when they are working on a missle, he hasn't got shot yet. Just a few of my observations, there would be others that know a lot more than me.
Essex Country Ontario
|Having the bullseye on you isn't necessarily a bad thing, at least you know you wont suffer !|
|There is / was a missile site between Tucson & Nogales, AZ that we toured several years. The missles had been removed but the control panels, sleeping quarters, and all were still there. They had guided tours thru the whole complex. Seems the tours were run by the Park Service, or maybe the state of AZ. Not only interesting but was a nice place to cool off after being in the AZ sun|
Edited by boog 6/7/2010 07:23
West Central Wisconsin
|Thanks for the replies. Can anyone remember when and how they were dug? Did they remove all soil from around them and backfill after concrete or dig a verticle hole? The link Wes sent said that site was 180 feet deep. I wonder if they are all the same or it depends on the type of missle. Are these silos located mostly in less populated areas of the midwest or across the country? Dog shooting was great Memorial Weekend by the way, perfect weather and good friends. Thanks again, Joe.|
|A few years ago I salvaged a half mile of cable that went across one of my hayfields. One of the area launch control facilities has been turned into a bed and breakfast. I understand there is one near Wall that has been preserved as it was after deactivation for historical purposes and they do give tours.|
Edited by John SD 6/7/2010 08:32
|The National Park Service does have one in South Dakota maybe an hour east of Rapid City, right off the interstate. A friend of mind works at it and he gave us a tour a couple years ago. the silo has a dummy missle in it with a glass cover, so you can view from the surface. The launch facility is a little ways away, on the other side(north) of the interstate. It is exactly as it was left. You get to see all the above ground facility, as well as the underground bunker with the launch equipment. If you have ever see the movie War Games, it is exactly as it looks. Doesn't take long to see, but it is well worth the stop. Very interesting. He said the Russians still watch the facility just to make sure.|
|I've been thru one on AZ that was a training site with a empty missle in it. The control room blast door is a piece of precision machinery. |
|There are about 8 or 10 in this area. Some have been converted to live in ,|
We had a site on our land right across from our farmyard.
My two sons receiving instructions on how to operate the detonator...they got the honors to blow the site.
Edited by rws 6/8/2010 07:39
The sites that are converted to living quarters are usually Atlas missile sites. I toured one of those last spring near Kimball, NE.
That Atlas missile was stored in the horizontal position. The heavy concrete doors were on rails and rolled back out of the way so that the missile could be stood up for launching.
The Minuteman/MX missile silos do not lend themselves well for converting to living quarters, the Minuteman Launch Control facility (one facility for every 10 silos in the surrounding area) has living quarters but they are considerably smaller than the total area of an Atlas complex. There is an Minuteman/MX mockup site on Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, WY, where tours can be scheduled if you have the proper size of group and proper connections. That mockup may be a launch control facility, or maybe there is a launch control facility and a silo; I do not recall if there is a missile at each launch control facility.
We have an active silo on the corner of some family owned property. We watched from a distance as that site was being constructed. On at least one occasion Dad took us to the site and we were able to peer into the hole as they dug. I recall the diameter of the hole being something like 10-12 feet (12 feet if I'm reading the 3rd link blow correctly) and 90 feet deep. I remember "90" feet specifically because they hit a lot of water at 80 feet on that silo and had to drill a number of wells to draw the water down to where they could complete construction.
The hole was "drilled" using a large machine with a 12 foot diameter bit driven by something like a Kelly drive. It was rotated and the dirt would build up on the "bit". The bit was then raised to above the surface and was rotated fast enough that centrifugal force threw the dirt around the hole at the surface. It was a very slow, tedious process as the bit made the trip down the hole and then back to the surface.
One of the links below says the missile is 6 foot in diameter. One site mentions a 12 foot diameter hole with 1/4 inch of steel and 14 inches of concrete.
This link is about the construction of a launch control facility:
This link has some information about the destruction of some sites:
This site has some interesting reading if you want to read up on the planning for the Minuteman missiles:
West Central Wisconsin
|Thanks for the info and stories guys. Gary, these links will keep me busy for awhile. Thanks, Joe.|
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