Thursday, August 25, 2011

Notes from the Plains: Mutual Destruction

On many occasions while traveling on the plains of the northern United States I have observed small areas enclosed within barbed wire topped chain link fences accessed by a gravel road. Within the fenced area there are a few poles and posts and some ground hugging structures. These small fenced enclosures contained a nuclear warhead with the explosive force of roughly 25 to 50 times the Hiroshima atom bomb. The warhead or warheads (some have three) sit on top of a missile capable of hitting a target in Russia in a matter of minutes. There were and still are hundreds of these sites on the plains.

Deactivated missile site, North Dakota

Active missile site (?) Montana
So when I saw the missile site above in the green fields in North Dakota I recognized it as such. But then realized that an historic sign marker was posted on the road near the entrance. That was a first. I turned back and was able to walk into the site without setting off alarms. The missiles in this part of North Dakota have been removed, but this site was preserved for historic purposes. The brown/golden fields in the second picture is a still active missile site.

The site had lots of informative signs and I learned that lonely soldiers were not sitting underground with the missiles waiting for a call and codes to fire the missile. It was all done from a distance with an elaborate and very clever security system. One could crank the missile silo manhole entrance part way open although a steal cable prevented full opening.

Josh Ritter: The Temptation of Adam

1 comment:

Kat said...

WW Aye yi-yiiiii......