I got a lot of feedback about my missile silo story, most of which came in the form of emails to me, and I'd like to share some of them with posterity. Here's a sampling:
I spent four years working on the Titan II from 66-70. The world was a different place then. The Russians had vowed to take over the US and it was our belief that
the only way to keep them from using their weapons on us was to be so stong as to make them know that they would be destroyed if they attacked and vice
versa... I like to think what we did kept my family safe while I gave my country four years of my life. I
am still quite proud even thou those years the military people were spat on. Thanks again for a very interesting piece God Bless our troops.
It is always kewl to see someone else interested in these missile sites. I run www.nebraskasilos.com and would be interested in talking with you sometime via phone just to chat a bit about your adventure.
Re: the Riverview site, #7
I drive by that site quite often. As of last week the cable which normally blocks the road was down. I've flown over that site in a helicopter, and you're right, it's a real mess.
What is it with people who ignore "no trespassing" signs? Have you no respect for private property rights? I own a Titan II site in AZ and I'm always chasing people out and/or finding evidence of their "visits." Sometimes the signs are placed to prevent people from entering
hazardous areas. Then you want to sue because you got hurt after you ignored the signs. I'm not surprised, you're a "journalist."
I remember visiting a site in the Plattsburgh area in 1973. This was eight years after the Atlas F's were deactivated. I can't remember which site it was but, I do remember we found an air conditioning cooling tower that was riddled with holes. Then as we were walking topside we noticed pieces of wooden boxes that appeared to be burned. All around there appeared to be what we thought were M-1 rounds. Some intact but, most had holes in the side of the brass with melted lead attached. If this was a disposal site they didn't do a thorough job.
And then there's this guy:
They [the missileers] were out of the loop on the real story behind the politics involved and the technical facts. It's absolutely true that most of [the missiles] (if any) would not have gotten off the ground. I worked at Vandenberg during their test phases and only 1 out of ten ever lifted off and those that did were mostly destroyed when they flew off course. Once actually hit the base when I was there and destroyed a housing area. We were told to keep our lips sealed. I did. The problem was the volatile fuel system and the lack of training of the people. The AF knew they would very unreliable and kept them only as a gap-filler until the solid-fuel minuteman was ready.
These old timers that served on crews just never knew the whole story (the pentagon kept it top-secret) and now they live in their memories as if they had saved the world.
A lot of the silos had no missiles in them ever.....the crew members were told to pretend that all was normal including changing shifts and actually telling them to talk in public like everything was OK.
I had an uncle who was a quality control inspector on the nuclear weapon and he told me that only about 20% of the missiles ever had an actual bomb on the top. The reason was that there were only a few bombs that passed electrical and mechanical tests. (some didn't even have all the parts). The Russians never knew the difference, I guess and the crew members knew nothing. It was a total pretend game called ATLAS. Their accuracy was never determined since they had so few that ever flew a full test course and most of these were tens to hundreds of mile off target.
There's more, but you get the idea.