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--- Postcard From The Wordy Explorers ---

Explore the Only Cold War National Historic Site

avatar   Stacy

Posted On 04/10/2021 09:20:27

South Dakota | Wall | Badlands National Park | Minuteman Missile National Historic Site | Delta-01 | Delta-09 | Cold War

Explore the Only Cold War National Historic Site


Weapons known as Minuteman missiles were hidden underground in football field sized silos across the Great Plains. The missile field in western South Dakota was in operation for about 30 years beginning in 1963. Three locations between the city of Wall and Badlands National Park make up the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Located within 15 miles of each other on I-90, the visitor center, launch control facility and underground missile silo site make up the world's one and only national site devoted to the Cold War. Today, visitors can learn more about the war and see two preserved ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles).

     The Wordy Explorers

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Do you know much about the Cold War?

Prior to our visit to the three places making up the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, I didn't know as much as I should have. Displays, exhibits and a film at the Visitor Center told the story of the nuclear arms race and Cold War. Seeing a chair that a missileer may have been seated in when called upon to launch an ICBM definitely makes you realize their responsibility. We also read about serious malfunctions that, if handled differently, would have resulted in a more severe outcome.

A ranger-led tour at Delta-01 started outside. Once inside, we saw the living quarters for the missileers - bunks, kitchen, "family" room, etc. Pre-pandemic, the tour also included an elevator ride to the underground mission control center. (Of the 150 missiles hidden in South Dakota, the Delta-01 team maintained and controlled 10 of the ICBMs.)

The fenced area at Delta-09, the missile silo, was high security during the Cold War. Motion sensors tracked activity 24/7 and deadly force was authorized for anyone entering the area. The concrete and steel reinforced silo was was about 12 feet wide and 80 feet deep. Peering inside through a viewing enclosure, we saw a deactivated training missile resembling the actual nuclear weapons of the Cold War years.

Interesting fact: During their day, these nuclear weapons could reach the Soviet Union in only 30 minutes!

Which of these three sites would you have an interest in touring?

#WordyExplorers #SouthDakota #Wall #BadlandsNationalPark #Badlands #MinutemanMissileNHS #NationalParkService #nps #ColdWar #history #Delta01 #Delta09

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