February 14, 2011

2/12/11 – Titan Missile Museum (Natl Landmark)

Going to the Titan Missile Museum was my trade-off with George for going to Biosphere 2.  It ended up being more interesting than I’d expected.
If you’re not old enough to remember the Cold War, fallout shelters and the Berlin Wall, it probably wouldn’t make as big an impression as it did on those of us who grew up with the possibility of nuclear war. 
 This museum is an actual Titan II missile site—completely disarmed, of course.  The docent who guided us around had been a commander at a similar missile site in Wichita.  Dwight was able to explain everything from the perspective of someone who had actual knowledge, rather than someone who’d just learned from a book—plus he had over 2,000 hours as a volunteer at the museum!
He first took us around outside the top-secret Complex 571-7; we stood on top of the launch duct looking down at the ICBM itself.  Then we went down into the underground silo (down the steps with the sign cautioning us to “Watch for rattlesnakes”) where we actually went into the launch control center.  He explained the equipment, and simulated an actual launch of the missile.  There were some servicemen from a Tucson AFB, and one of them volunteered to “push the button”.   All the equipment is really dated now, but it was state-of-the-art when it was in use.

George had to wear a hard hat so he wouldn’t conk his head—the ceilings underground were really low and he had to walked stooped over. 
It was really weird to see things we had heard about for years—and know how it had affected the world we grew up in.  It was interesting and yet sort of spooky scary too. 
The door going back inside the museum is labeled “Re-Entry”. 

Titan Missile Museum NHS

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