First image: An Atlas launch, probably at Cape Canaveral. Second image: An Atlas F apparently undergoing either a Propellant Loading Exercise (PLX) or perhaps a Technical Acceptance Demonstration (TAD). This is the Willow, Oklahoma site (577-11). More photos are at http://www.siloworld.net/GD-A%20%20San%20Diego%20Aerospace/ATLAS%20F/577th%20SMS/577th__sms.htm.
Atlas: (classical mythology) A giant condemned to support the sky on his shoulders (Random House dictionary).
Atlas was initially designated Project MX-1593; the contract with Convair was signed January 23 1951. Convair had done work on the MX-774 missile which proved many of the major design features. In August of the same year the popular name Atlas was approved, apparently referring to the parent company (the Atlas Corporation) rather than classical mythology. Atlas was also known as WS-107A-1 (Weapon System 107A-1), B-65, SM-65 (Strategic Missile 65, also SM-65F for Atlas F etc.), CGM-16 (followed by D, E, or F), and HGM-16. It was a liquid-fueled rocket using RP-1 (Rocket Propellant-1, similar to kerosene) for fuel and liquid oxygen as the oxidizer. It pioneered several innovations such as thin-walled pressure-stabilized tanks to save weight, detachable payload so only the warhead had to survive re-entry, gimballed engines, and a "stage-and-a-half" motor assembly that allowed all three engines to be ignited prior to launch, yet two of them could be discarded later when only the center engine was needed to sustain flight. Guidance was intially a combination of inertial and ground-based radio, later (Atlas E and F) it was entirely inertial. Range was 5,500 nautical miles with a demonstration flight of 7,860 nautical miles.
Atlas D sites required 12-man crews; Atlas E and F required 5-man crews.
Atlas also gained fame as the launch vehicle for the Mercury manned space program, though a Redstone rocket was used for Alan Shephard's flight, the first American in space, as well as Gus Grissom's first flight (both were suborbital; Atlas was used to launch John Glenn on the first American orbital flight and subsequent project Mercury flights). Atlas also launched Ranger IV, the first American probe to land on the moon. There have been several generations of Atlas launch vehicles, some of which are still used and/or in development. Atlas 3A proved the mating of the Atlas airframe to Russian rocket motors, and 3B proved the use of larger tanks. The Atlas 5 had its first launch in August 2002.
Around 1965, when the Atlas ICBMs were retired, they were shipped to Norton AFB in San Bernardino, California. They remained there until they were re-used as launch vehicles.
A good history of the development of Atlas is "Atlas: The Story of a Missile" by John L. Chapman (1960). The only drawback is that it stops short of actual deployment and of course does not include operational years as an ICBM, or the deactivation of the system and later use as launch vehicles.
A more recent history is "Atlas - The Ultimate Weapon" by Chuck Walker with Joel Powell (2005).
A very readable short history is at the beginning of "Titan II: A History of a Cold War Missile Program" by David K. Stumpf (2000).
A picture of an Atlas sitting in a Woolworth parking lot is here.
There was an old television series called "Route 66" (1960-1964), and an episode entitled "Don't Count Stars" which includes scenes of Atlas missiles being constructed.
Other resources on Atlas include:
After retirement as ICBMs, Atlas missiles were shipped to Norton AFB in California for storage until used as launch vehicles.
Atlas rockets for sale: Between April 26 and May 6, 2004, two NASA Atlas rockets were for sale on eBay, item number 3909962681. These included transport trailers but were missing most of the engines. Asking price was $35,000 but at the end of the auction there were no bids.
Atlas missiles on display:
At Cape Canaveral, launch complexes 11 through 14 supported Atlas both as an ICBM and as a launch vehicle for Mercury, and for unmanned Gemini tests. http://www.fas.org/spp/military/facility/ccas-lc-11.htm.
A difference between the two oldest Atlas D sites (Vandenberg 576B and Warren 564-A/B) and later ones is that in in the old ones, the roof was one piece and slid lengthwise across the entrance (away from the flame trench) to allow the missile to be raised. This created a "roofed patio" across the entrance which may have hindered some operations (just my guess), the rest of the launch facilities used a two-piece root that opened sideways as shown below.
An Atlas D is being deactivated, probably late 1964 or early 1965 (549th SMS, Offutt AFB), somewhere in Nebraska.
Above is Atlas 102D which was launched from Vandenberg on March 10, 1963. Unfortunately, it performed a 340-degree loop and exploded.
Above is Atlas 39D (serial number 58-2210), photo taken on May 13 1960 at the 564th SMS Launch and Services Building A-1 (near Cheyenne, Wyoming) per Jim Widlar who was a Missile Mechanic. 39D was later launched from Vandenberg January 25, 1963.
Above is an Atlas E site in Washington state, part of the 567th SMS. The missile is being pulled through the gate and the spray pond is operating.
Above is a nice photo of an Atlas E with roof open and missile raised. Note there is no visible vapor which suggests the Atlas is not fueled, and that the flame duct door is closed. There does not appear to be a payload. In the lower-right of the image you can see the spray pond in action. Water is sprayed into the air to cool it, the water is collected (left side of pond as viewed in this image), and recycled to cool the site and its equipment. Thanks to Mike Hiebert for identifying this as 548-2, near Lawrence, Kansas.
Above is a photo of an Atlas F hoisted out of its silo, perched on the elevator/flame deflector. It is not fueled, there is no ice on the tank and no oxygen fog.
One owner of an Atlas F site points out that the LCC interior is not in fact round. There are about fifty-two 24-inch segments and about five 48-inch-wide segments. It is thus an irregular quintaseptagon which contributes to the challenges of remodeling for living space.
As you look at the D sites, notice the direction of the flame/blast trenches. In many cases they are directed west, straight away from the launch building. But in many other cases they run to the northwest or even southwest (in a few cases, directly towards another launch building). I assume this depended on the topography and that the main consideration was to ensure the trench drained away from the building. Warren D #1 looks different, with short trenches that may even be concrete lined. Warren sites look different than Offutt sites, the latter having no discernable trenches at all.
Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Station seem almost synonymous. Many Atlas test flights were made from the Cape, as well as non-ICBM flights such as most of the Mercury manned missions and others.
The People: It gets a bit confusing because wings and other units have been reorganized and renamed several times. Currently the 45th Space Wing oversees most (all?) launches. At one time or another subordinate units included the 4800th Guided Missile Wing, and the 6555th which has been a Guided Missile Wing, Guided Missile Group, and Aerospace Group. See for example http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9692.
|LC-11 supported 33 Atlas launches.|
|LC-12 supported Ranger and Mariner missions as well as Atlas ICBM tests.|
|LC-13 supported Atlas as well as Atlas/Agena. Note the long shadow from the tower in the older B&W USGS photo and that it's gone in the newer imagery from Google Maps.|
|LC-14 supported Atlas ICBM, some of the Mercury missions, and Gemini tests.|
Vandenberg Air Force base is on the west coast of southern California, near Santa Maria. It is most commonly associated with tests and development of military missiles but is also used to launch polar-orbiting satellites, both commercial and military. It had almost completed constructing a space shuttle launch facility when the Challenger accident occurred, causing the air force to rethink launch methods and abandon shuttle launches (there were other factors as well). For Atlas, Vandenberg had three Atlas D missiles on open gantries, and a "normal" Atlas D site with three launch buildings. (I understand one difference in the launch buildings is that the roofs opened lengthwise in one piece, and Warren AFB's site 1 did as well; all other Atlas D launch buildings had roofs that opened sideways as two sections). Based on the map in Stumpf's book, page 129, I believe the following are correct. See also http://www.siloworld.net/ICBM/ATLAS/ATD/VANDENBE.HTM and http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Vandenberg_AFB.htm. I also have a web page dedicated to Vandenberg at http://w3.uwyo.edu/~jimkirk/vandenberg.html.
17 miles SW Santa Maria California
|This is where three open-gantry missiles were located. Stumpf (map, page 129) identifies this as 576 A which would be the first site. Chapman (page 146) refers to a Launch Complex 65-1 with the pads labeled A, B, and C. Somewhere I read that only one of the pads' gantries is still standing, and if you look closely at the B&W USGS photo it's casting a long shadow in the eastern-most pad (#3) as well as the Google Earth image (though this might change as Google Earth incorporates newer imagery taken at different times of the day). At one time I wrote "These missiles went on alert October 31 1959 and started going off alert May 1 1964 (finishing October 1 1964) which is the longest full-strength alert interval among Atlas bases, 4.5 years. I believe this also includes the D site 576-B." I don't recall where I got that information, perhaps from the book "From Snark to Peacekeeper." However, I received a message from Michael Binder at the National Archives at College Park, who clarified this as follows: "At the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, Vandenberg had NO ICBMs on alert. The order to reinstate alert went out on 20 October; the first sortie to go on alert was 576B01, on 22 October, followed next by 576G01 on 24 October. Eventually 7 Atlas were put on alert (14 ICBMs total), but none at Complex 576A, which had been given over to the ABRES (Advanced Ballistic Re-Entry Systems) and Nike-X ABM programs. Removal of Atlas from alert began 1 November, and the last three Atlas (576 B01/02/03) were downgraded on 28 November, when Vandenberg again had no ICBMs on alert." Note in the upper-left corner of the full-size B&W USGS image you can see Titan II site 395-B. The color photo, which also includes 395-B, was sent to me by Jeff Godman.|
17 miles SW Santa Maria California
|The B&W USGS photo shows the 576 B complex. Additionally, Stumpf (map, page 129) identifies a nearby area as 65-OSTF-1 which would be the Operational Suitability Test Facility for Atlas (SM-65). The thumbnail picture above does not show the OSTF but it's in the full-size image, upper-right corner. The first color photo appears to be 65-OSTF-1 based on terrain, shadow, and that it's an above-ground Atlas E (operational sites were semi-underground). The black-and-white photo is of an unknown Atlas D site. The second and third color photos were sent to me by Jeff Goodman. I'm told 65-OSTF-1 was also known as 576 F.|
17 miles SW Santa Maria California
|576-C was an Atlas E site, which would normally be semi-buried. Here it was constructed above ground but resembled normal sites in most respects. Thanks to Fred Epler for setting me straight on the location.|
17 miles SW Santa Maria California
|The B&W USGS image shows 65-OSTF-2 (upper left) as well as Atlas site 576 D (lower right), based on Stumpf's map (page 129). OSTF would have been the Operational Suitability Test facility, the second for the Atlas ICBM perhaps because of significant differences with the earlier Atlas missiles. Whatever it is now, 576 D has a large and tall tower (see shadow) which might be a radar installation. However this is not apparent in later imagery such as Google Maps, so it was temporary. The second photo is of an unknown Atlas F site, showing the missile being raised. Note the workers standing around, both for scale and as an indication the missile is not fueled. I'm told OSTF-2 was also known as 576-G.|
17 miles SW Santa Maria California
|Stumpf (map, page 129) tentatively identifies this as "576 E Under Construction." Physically it looks somewhat like an Atlas F site which would also make sense since this is the last Vandenberg Atlas site in sequence. This is now used for launching the Taurus rocket by Orbital Sciences.|
Warren Air Force Base (actually Francis E. Warren Air Force Base,
or F. E. Warren Air Force Base) is just west of Cheyenne Wyoming.
They had Atlas D
and E sites, and currently have 150 Minuteman III sites.
They had the only 50
Peacekeeper (MX) missiles anywhere but those have been retired.
Other references for Warren AFB:
A friend of mine, Paul Turley, was an electrician who worked on the Atlas
sites around Cheyenne. On one occasion he was called in to do some minor
work in a room and after they explained what was needed, he was left alone.
He looked around the room and left, complaining that he would not work alone.
The Air Force guys laughed and said it was a training dummy; Paul said he
didn't think so. They all went into the room and became very serious when
it was discovered there was a real nuclear device, not an inert dummy, and
Paul finished the job with two armed guards in the room.
Warren sites you can see from Interstate 80 and Interstate 25 -- OK, you're
in a hurry and you don't want to detour but you want to say "I've
seen a missile site!" There are a small number that can be seen
but not necessarily clearly. K-11 is probably the best.
The state of Colorado, department of public health and environment,
published a 2-page summary of Colorado Atlas sites and their health risks, at
If you visit Cheyenne, drive by the Eagle's Nest Bar (1101 W Lincolnway). In front they have a tower which was actually an Atlas erector arm though I don't know if it was from one of the area's D or E sites (or if there is a difference). On the south side of Wheatland (Wyoming) there was another tower that looks like an Atlas erector, though the top has been trimmed, and the cross-bracing is different; or, this could be the remains of a transport trailer; the last time I went through Wheatland this tower was gone, perhaps the victim of high prices for scrap metal. The larger picture appears to be of some Atlas D site (looks like the roof opens in two sections to the side) but I don't know where; you can see how the arm was used.
Atlas D crew R-20 circa 1963. 565th SMS, 389th SMW, Warren AFB.
Other references for Warren AFB:
A friend of mine, Paul Turley, was an electrician who worked on the Atlas sites around Cheyenne. On one occasion he was called in to do some minor work in a room and after they explained what was needed, he was left alone. He looked around the room and left, complaining that he would not work alone. The Air Force guys laughed and said it was a training dummy; Paul said he didn't think so. They all went into the room and became very serious when it was discovered there was a real nuclear device, not an inert dummy, and Paul finished the job with two armed guards in the room.
See also http://www.siloworld.net/ICBM/ATLAS/ATD/WARREN.HTM.
Warren sites you can see from Interstate 80 and Interstate 25 -- OK, you're in a hurry and you don't want to detour but you want to say "I've seen a missile site!" There are a small number that can be seen but not necessarily clearly. K-11 is probably the best.
The state of Colorado, department of public health and environment, published a 2-page summary of Colorado Atlas sites and their health risks, at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/atlasmissiles.htm.
18 miles NNW Cheyenne, WY
6/9/01 stopped about half way down the road
("Atlas Road" according to the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer)
due to a No Trespassing sign. This is a unique site,
a "double" D site with six launch buildings.
Given that it's #1,
it may have been a prototype. This is also mentioned very briefly
in Stumpf's book with the detail that there was one launch control
center but the
Warren AFB Museum states there were two launch operations
buildings and one guidance control facility.
Apparently three missiles were designated 564-A and the other
Although you can't get in viewing range on
Atlas Road, if you instead drive west on Whitaker Road to the
north (county road 228, I-25 exit 29, on the way to Peacekeeper site
Q-6) you are in a good position to view it from about 1 mile away.
On 8/25/01 there was a gas pipeline being placed just west of the
power lines though I declined the temptation of driving along it
to get closer. I could see an orange windsock implying an
airstrip or at least a helicopter landing site but could not see
the ground; there are other pipelines in the area, so perhaps
a pumping station was constructed some time after 1994 when the
USGS photo was taken.
On May 22 2003 I received the following description from
The Warren Atlas-D site northwest of Cheyenne was a double site
known as 564-A and 564-B, B site was on the east end of the 900 acre
complex. There were 6 launchers, 2 control centers, a well pump station,
2 RV storage magazines and 2 sewage lagoons on the north side of the
complex. On the south side there were 2 remote rate stations, one east and one
west for missile guidance. An east and west boresite tower, 2 more sewage
lagoons, a vehicle storage building, a tank farm, a microwave building,
another well pump station, a gate house, power house and a guidance
building. The guidance building was a double, one for each 3 launchers.
Launcher 4 was somewhat off-set in relation to the others because it was
also used for training and testing the missiles engines.
According to "ou_fan_in_wyoming" on the missile_talk
group (March 29, 2008), the roofs seem to be missing
and the land owner may be ready to do some demolition work.
The crew photo is of crew 564 R-01 in the 564-A blockhouse circa 1960, and was posted to the missile_talk group on January 1, 2006 (by Dale Howe, "silverbaak", who was stationed at Warren AFB). In the chairs are Captain Millian (Crew Commander) and 1lt Tom Olson (assistant commander). In the back row are (left to right) A1C Naylor, Ssgt Pivioronias, Ssgt Hafenstien, A1c Mesic, Ssgt Billy Gibbs, and Ssgt Dale Howe.
20 miles NE Cheyenne, WY
(9 miles west of Midway Wyoming)
|Take highway 85 from I-25 towards Torrington. About .5 miles past mile marker 30 is a road that runs north, with a major power line along it on the left (west) side of that road. I don't know if this is a private road but it probably is. About 2.5 miles up the road is the site, again possibly on private land (the 2001 DeLorme atlas indicates it's halfway on state land, the previous atlas did not; this doesn't mean it's not trespassing to drive in). This site and the power line are not on the 7.5-minute topo map (J H D Ranch, WY, 1991) but *are* on the 1:100000 "Cheyenne" topo map (1981). The color photo is of an unknown Atlas D but the snow sure makes me think of Wyoming.|
16 miles ESE Cheyenne, WY
(8 miles NW Carpenter Wyoming)
May 2001 drove up to the gate.
Interestingly, the radio tower was intact. This site was for sale
on eBay around April 2001 (item 579069359) with 350 acres of land,
for around $100,000. The owner
had died and the estate wanted to sell it, but it had about
40,000 used tires (resulting in a big DEQ lien),
many junk vehicles (see northeast corner of B&W USGS photo as
well as Google Maps),
and an original USAF diesel spill. One visitor placed
its value at less than nothing. The eBay sale was a bust
and the site was then offered more conventionally but I don't
know how it turned out.
Here is email the sellers
here is a .pdf file of the
legal description, and
here is a .pdf file of the
Some Urban Explorers posted numerous photos of this missile site:
On March 13, 2005, Scott D. Murdock visited, see his trip report at
Scott reports the site is still for sale.
According to "ou_fan_in_wyoming" on the missile_talk
group (March 29, 2008) it is still for sale, reportedly for
over 3 million dollars.
|| 41-05-10 105-08-43|
18 miles west of Cheyenne, WY
(2 miles SE Granite Wyoming)
6/9/01 The access road is definitely private
but the site is clearly visible from Interstate 80 near mile
There is a frontage road on the north side of the highway
in case you want to stop and take a look with binoculars.
If you are going eastbound
take the Harriman exit (#342), turn left and go under I-80
and follow the frontage road for about a mile, then gaze.
on the frontage road and it will rejoin I-80 at the
Warren Road intersection (#345). If you are going westbound
take the Warren Road exit, and rejoin I-80 at Harriman
Note the corral built next to easternmost launcher.
Click on the color photo for a few more details.
The original water wells were less than one mile to the northeast,
and are still in use for ranching and the city of Cheyenne.
A newspaper article (Laramie Daily Boomerang for August 5 2003)
states that the city of Cheyenne purchased the 17,000-acre
Belvoir Ranch which includes this missile site, partly for the
water rights, even though the water around the site is
contaminated with TCE (trichloroethylene).
TCE contamination is common at old missile sites,
TCE was used as a cleaning solvent and dumped onto the ground.
In this case I expect there is still clean water from other wells
around the sprawling ranch and I understand TCE is
relatively easy to remove via aeration.
In a newspaper article (Laramie Boomerang, March 19, 2008)
it was explained that Cheyenne spent $600,000 in 1998 to clean
this water, and $20,000 annually since then. They hope that the
Army Corps of Engineers will take over cleanup costs for the next
100 to 300 years.
A 2013 article at http://trib.com/business/wyoming-officials-call-for-timeout-on-missile-silo-cleanup/article_5cf278a0-6e7d-56bf-861f-c3a9ad3decff.html
discusses disagreements between the state and the Army Corps of
Engineers on how to proceed.
There is a web site detailing the Belvoir Ranch and Cheyenne's
plans to develop and utilize the property, including recreation,
A video about the TCE contamination is at
Old and recent images of D-4 are at
which is part of a web site about D-4 and cleanup issues at
Numbering for the E sites picks up where the D sites left off.
|Warren|| 41-40-07 104-46-37|
36 miles north of Cheyenne, WY
(6.5 miles SSE Chugwater, WY)
There was a short DERP/FUDS report at
but it has disappeared and I can't find a copy
(though I do have a partial HTML file that is not directly usable).
The 7.5-minute topo map
(Bristol Ridge NE Quadrangle Wyoming, 1990), and USGS photo, show a
"pipeline" from the middle of the east-facing fence that runs
toward the southeast (it is invisible in newer imagery such as
The pipeline is not on the 1:100,000 Chugwater Quadrangle
Wyoming-Nebraska map (1979) which suggests it was built between
1979 and 1990.
On maps I've traced this as part of a minor maze of pipelines
and pumping stations that end up in Cheyenne near Dell Range
Boulevard and Ridge Road. There, on Thomas Road, are signs
warning of a high pressure petroleum pipeline owned by
Conoco Pipeline Company. So it appears this missile site has
(or had) an oil or gas well.
3/26/02 Same sort of Conoco sign 3 miles SE of the site.
7/28/01 Sign outside site "Daellenbach Manufacturing Company"
but I can't find the company in phone books or online. Large trees
suggest they were planted a long time ago, perhaps around the
time the site was sold after deactivation. In the large color
picture (not a good one, sorry) you can see some of the site's trees
on the left, and some of the light fixtures over the top of the sign.
8/15/02 A friend found a short article at
but that link died so try
The article pointed out Francis Dallenbach (note the incorrect
spelling) owned the site and also wound the tower clock at the old
Union Pacific depot in Cheyenne as well as the courthouse clock.
10/30/2002 Francis Daellenbach died of smoke inhalation from
an accidental fire at the site (his home for over 30 years).
3/1/2003 There is now a No Trespassing sign on the road.
9/7/2005 I noticed this site was for sale on
In early July 2006 I was told the site is now marked
"Frontier Astronautics" with many more No Trespassing
signs, notifications of security cameras, and so on.
On December 24, 2006, an Associated Press article was published in the Laramie Boomerang about this site. The article was written by Tom Mast of the Casper Star Tribune. Tim Bendel, president of Frontier Astronautics, lives here. Tim is a former Lockheed Martin propulsion engineer. The company makes propulsion systems and attitude control systems. Their web site has many more details and images.
April 14, 2007, a quick visit only shows the old sign repainted with "Frontier Astronautics" and if you look closely, traces of the old sign's text are visible.
|Warren|| 41-33-38 104-17-57|
38 miles NE of Cheyenne, WY
(2 miles NE Meriden, WY)
|The entrance is .9 miles east of mile marker 55 on highway 85, a little past Meriden, at the top of a small hill that would seem to have a nice view. I took the "gate shot" from just off the higway on an overcast afternoon in April 2002. Though not posted, I chose not to drive in. The other view is from the highway a little west of the entrance. I'm told the site had water wells on the north side.|
|Warren|| 41-13-03 104-03-55|
38 miles east of Cheyenne, WY
(2.5 miles north of Pine Bluffs, WY)
|7/7/01 The road to the site goes east from county road 215, a tiny bit north of where 215 goes west, but is immediately gated. At the north end of the site is apparent farm equipment so it's being used probably by a farmer of an adjacent field.|
57 miles east of Cheyenne, WY
(2 miles SW Kimball, NE)
|A DERP/FUDS report was at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil//html/pm-h/erpmp/pmpfewarrenafbfatlassite8_ne.pdf but it's gone now. 7/7/01 definitely inhabited, there's a nice pair of white steel gates with a red "Z" on each gate, a skylight (covering the flame pit), a house, etc. The 1972 7.5-minute topo map does not show the site. I heard a story that somebody bought the site very cheaply, remodeled it, after which the county assessor decided it was worth $400,000 and taxed it accordingly. In early 2003, HGTV aired an episode of "Building Character" (BDC-104) on this site, owned by Charlene and Don Zwonitzer. There was a newspaper article in the Rocky Mountain News on Saturday, January 17, 2004, entitled "Site Unseen", see http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/gardening/article/0,1299,DRMN_60_2580175,00.html, however, that article has been archived and they charge for retrieval (and they ceased publication February 27, 2009). In January 2004 I noticed this site was for sale, for $3,000,000 (see http://www.topfsbo.com/homes/propview.php?view=999517 though in May 2004 it is no longer listed there). See also http://www.earth-house.com/Homes_4_Sale/Atlas_E_Silo/atlas_e_silo.html (web site no longer exists) and http://allthelistings.com/home/details/7857 both of which list the property at $25 million (the second link had several photos, though it is no longer listed, so try http://web.archive.org/web/20041019194758/http://allthelistings.com/home/details/7857). I also found a listing at http://www.parkwest.com/jagpalproperties/Pro_details.cfm?Details=304 but that link is now dead too, so try http://web.archive.org/web/20041024181958/http://www.parkwest.com/jagpalproperties/Pro_details.cfm?Details=304). 3/2/2005 Saw an article in the February 21 2005 issue of Network World, the Zwonitzers want to rent space for data disaster recovery. The article was also printed in the February 25 2005 issue of Computer World, see http://www.earth-house.com/Homes_4_Sale/Atlas_E_Silo/CW-Silo_2_23_05/cw-silo_2_23_05.html (web site now gone) and/or http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;1385990972;fp;16;fpid;0. These articles point out the Zwonitzers bought the site for $40,000 in 1996. On December 1, 2007, Tony Castillo pointed me to a web site full of photos taken by a Cooper Mini club that visited here: http://coloradorick.smugmug.com/gallery/1416218#P-1-15. The owners have their own web site at http://www.missilesitehome.com.|
33 miles SE Cheyenne, WY
(5 miles N Grover, CO)
|There was a DERP/FUDS report at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil//html/pm-h/erpmp/pmpfewarrenafbfatlassite9_co.pdf but it's gone now. The road (Colorado 390) is paved to the north but dirt to the south. The site apparently does have power (single-phase transformer and meter in place) but I couldn't tell much more. No Trespassing. In the photo, note the double fence. There are two cattle guards, the No Trespassing sign that stopped me is on the second one. The 1975 7.5-minute topo map (Grover North, Colo) does not show the site.|
39 miles SE Cheyenne, WY
(3.5 miles NW Briggsdale Colorado)
|There was a DERP/FUDS report at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil//html/pm-h/erpmp/pmpfewarrenafbfatlassite10_co.pdf but it's gone now. Scott D. Murdock dropped by, July 25 1998, see http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/crazy/crazy.html. He reports the site is buried, possibly by the forest service (the DERP/FUDS report says the land reverted back to the Department of Agriculture, Forest Service). When I drove by 5/19/2002 the outer gate off highway 14 was closed so I couldn't even get close.|
25 miles S Cheyenne, WY
(6 miles NNE Nunn Colorado)
|There was a DERP/FUDS report at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil//html/pm-h/erpmp/pmpfewarrenafbfatlassite11_co.pdf but it's gone now. I drove by 5/19/2002. It's now the Colorado Engineering Experiment Station, Inc., Flow Measurement Facility, Corporate Office. It's quite developed, see photos. Also note the road from the south is nicely paved but dirt from the north. See www.ceesi.com where it's clarified that they provide flow measurement and valve testing, consulting, and training. Their web site also has some nice photos, http://www.ceesi.com/Photo_Gallery.aspx.|
49 miles S Cheyenne, WY
(3.5 miles SE Windsor Colorado)
There was a DERP/FUDS report at
but it's gone now.
Scott D. Murdock visited July 25 1998, see
where he reports this site is a county park and
looks in very good shape.
Tours are available but call to arrange one,
On 5/19/2002 (Armed Forces Day) I too visited but was not able
to arrange a tour.
On 6/8/2002 I did get a tour, click on the color photo.
Scott Murdock re-visited on March 16, 2005, see his
trip report which also includes several images.
On May 22, 2008, a tornado hit the area. The home of the caretaker, Pete Ambrose, was destroyed; he essentially lost everything including his pets. A man camping at the surrounding park was killed. And the 660-ton lid was moved two inches by the tornado.
A newspaper article about this site was published in the Denver Post on June 13, 2010, entitled "Weld's Missile Site Park stirs echoes of Cold War" (see http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_15286316).
39 miles SW Cheyenne, WY
(11 miles NW of Fort Collins, CO)
(1.5 miles NW Ted's Place Colorado)
|There was a DERP/FUDS report at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil//html/pm-h/erpmp/pmpfewarrenafbfatlassite13.pdf but it's gone now. In perhaps the late 1970s this site was used by Colorado State University for studying rattlesnake hibernation. Later, perhaps the early 1980s, it was used by a document archival company for storage of archival materials. On 6/30/01, the road in simply said No Trespassing, and from US 287 it's clear somebody has a home right next to it. The DeLorme map set states the road to the site is "McMurray Ranch Road." A draft environmental impact statement at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/html/od-tl/eis/nisp.deis.apr08.pdf lists an address of 6707 McMurray Ranch Road, Bellvue, CO, 80512; it also shows an ID of COR000204297.|
Offutt Air Force Base is about 15 miles south of Omaha Nebraska. They had Atlas D sites, but may be better known as the former home of the Strategic Air Command.
(Patch image courtesy of USAFPatches.com)
Offutt's missiles were manned by the 549th SMS which was activated August 15 1959, went on alert March 30 1962, started going off alert October 1 1964, and was inactivated December 14 1964. Confusingly, the squadron was originally the 566th but on July 1 1961 SAC swapped designators with the 549th at F.E. Warren AFB. The 549th SMS was under the 385th SAW, see: http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0385sw.htm.
I believe Offutt is where President Bush was taken on September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was destroyed (and the Pentagon damaged, and let's not forget the heroes of United flight 93).
Fred Epler explains many of the smaller buildings and structures as follows -- "The 3 large poles are part of the soft HF antenna. The 2 small buildings just southeast of launcher 3 are storage magazines and there was also a boresite tower to the west of the magazines. The small building on the southwest side of the complex and about 200 feet outside the fence is the water well. Small buildings that are on the south and east side of the complex and about 1500 feet from the control center are rate remote stations for the guidance system. There was also a microwave tower and building within its own fence just to the souteast of the complex gate. Sewage ponds were located about 250 feet northeast of launcher 3."
23 miles West of Omaha Nebraska
(3.5 miles SE Mead Nebraska)
Missile Annex A
|Owned by Nebraska University, it's being leased to a company for ranching and storage (see Scott D. Murdock's "Thanksgiving in the Heartland" trip report). The 1981 topo map says "Nebraska National Guard Training Area." Stan Hague reports this site has been used by the Nebraska National Guard as a training site for many years, mostly for military police K-9 training.|
21 miles NW Omaha Nebraska
(5 miles W Kennard Nebraska)
Missile Annex B
|Travis Krause reports the site is remarkably intact and in use by a farmer for storage. According to Stan Hague, this site is owned by the Erickson brothers. The second aerial view and the site layout diagram were, I think, posted on the missile_talk group.|
20 miles NNE Omaha Nebraska
(4.5 miles SE Missouri Valley, Iowa)
Missile Annex C
|Just another D site, but the full USGS photo sure is pretty. Scott D. Murdock reports the concrete launch structures have been demolished. Stan Hague reports "this site became a public nuisance from its accumulation of stolen cars, vandalism and quite a few "cornfield" parties. The city of Missouri Valley decided that razing the site and turning it into a park would be a better use for that property." On the old USGS image you can see the access roads, however none of the original structures (either below ground or above) remain, as seen in the newer Google Maps image. Rob Branting reports it is still fenced off, with cattle grazing (2004).|
Fairchild Air Force Base is about 14 miles west of Spokane Washington. They only had Atlas E sites.
(Patch image courtesy of USAFPatches.com)
Fairchild sites were manned by the 567th SMS which was activated April 1 1960, went on alert September 28 1961, started going off alert February 17 1965, and was inactivated June 25 1965. The 567th has a web site at http://567sms.com/567SMS.html. The 567th SMS was under the 92nd Strategic Air Wing (see http://strategic-air-command.com/wings/0092bw.htm).
There is a list of FUDS cleanup sites for Washington, at http://www.gao.gov/gao-01-1012sp/WA.html which lists all the Fairchild Atlas sites, cleanup problems, and costs.
21 miles north Spokane Washington
(2.5 miles NE Deer Park Washington)
|From the photo, #1 looks pretty busy. This is a short distance (less than 1/2 mile) east of the Deer Park municipal airport. Fred Epler reports the site is used for explosives testing, and has a microwave relay. I'm not sure what the little extra building to the north is, it might have been the missile site's water annex, or it might be the explosives magazine for the testing folks. See also http://www.cdphs.org/deer-park-atlas-ibm.html for some detailed history and http://www.cdphs.org/atlas-missile-3.html for several drawings. According to Google Earth, it's on North Missile Site Road. See also http://www.oricaminingservices.com/ContentPage.aspx?SectionID=279&PageID=459&CultureID=53.|
17 miles ENE Spokane Washington
(3 miles NNE Otis Orchards Washington)
(2 miles SE Newman Lake)
|Well developed and maintained judging by the photo. Fred Epler reports a house on the site, and that a trucking company owns it.|
24 miles SW Spokane Washington
(5 miles ESE Rockford Washington)
(Actually in Idaho)
|There is a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of WA09799F326600. According to Google Earth, it's on W Missile Base Road.|
32 miles SW Spokane Washington
(4 miles NE Sprague Washington)
|Barren yet tidy. Overgrazed? There is a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of WA09799F326700. Another report, at http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/oehas/publications_pdf/HealthConsults/fairchildairforcebaseatlasemissilesite_sprague_lincoln_5-14-99.pdf states that the site is a private residence and people are living in the Launch Operations Building. However, that link is dead (does the Washington Department of Health feel that anything as old as 1999 does not deserve to be kept?) so try http://web.archive.org/web/20060925070944...fairchildairforcebaseatlasemissilesite_sprague_lincoln_5-14-99.pdf. Google Maps has a placemark that links to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com.|
54 miles SW Spokane Washington
(10 miles ENE of Odessa Washington)
(1/2 mile NW Lamona Washington)
|Lamona seems to be a railroad siding and a few buildings. Google Maps has a placemark that links to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com.|
35 miles WSW Spokane Washington
(6 miles south of Davenport Washington)
(2.5 miles NW Bluestem Washington)
A man named Ralph Benson lived here, and was accused of
murdering Roger Erdman in June 2002.
The trial started October 20 2003 and should take three weeks. See
(web page no longer available, The Olympian now charges for archive access),
though that link is dead so try
He was convicted, and is also suspected in at least
one other murder if not more, see
(now archived, you must pay to see it, but see
In September 2004 Benson passed away in prison, see
(link expired, try
In a newspaper article here (October 29th, 2007) (now expired) it was stated that the National UFO Reporting Center is based at this site. At least, the article claims it's at site number 6 and also states the owner (Peter Davenport) is living in nearby Harrington; the Center's address is a PO box in Davenport. Another article in the Seattle Times published March 30, 2008 (here) essentially repeats the same information.
According to Google Earth, this is on Lindstrom Road which is an extension of Old Missile Site Road North. Google Maps has a placemark that links to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com.
56 miles W Spokane Washington
(4.5 miles E Wilbur Washington)
|The property immediately west appears nicely developed. Google Maps has a placemark that links to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com.|
39 miles WNW Spokane Washington
(6 miles SSE Miles Washington)
|About a mile south of an area called Egypt but that's not on my road map, nor in my Garmin e-map GPS receiver, though it is on the topo map. I understand the site is, or was, being used to store farm equipment. There's an EPA web page at http://cfpub.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=1002358 that lists the site as EPA ID WAN001002358. Google Maps has a placemark that links to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com.|
21 miles WNW Spokane Washington
(9 miles NNE Reardan Washington)
|There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of WA09799F327200. There's an EPA web page at http://cfpub.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=1002027 that lists the site as EPA ID WA0002340230. According to Google Earth, the site is on Missile Site Road, off Crescent Road. Google Maps has a placemark that links to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com.|
Forbes Air Force Base (near Topeka Kansas) no longer exists, having been closed in 1973. It's now Forbes Field, a civilian airport and industrial park as well as a base for the Kansas Air and Army National Guard. Forbes Field itself is at latitude 38-57-03, longitude 095-39-49, 6 miles south of Topeka. They only had Atlas E sites.
Forbes sites were manned by the 548th SMS which was activated July 1 1960, went on alert October 10 1961, started going off alert January 4 1965, and was inactivated March 25 1965. The 548th has a web site, http://www.548sms.com. The 548th SMS was under the 40th SAW (see http://strategic-air-command.com/wings/0040bw.htm).
Sites here also had a single-letter designation, in the order in which they were built, so I've included those as well. This is courtesy of Jeff Goodman along with some of the later photos. Jeff also has done some research on early planning --
Water was usually supplied from wells several miles from each site.
Scott Murdock drove by many of these sites on March 25, 2007, and took photos; see http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/vacation/vacation.html.
18.5 miles NNE Topeka Kansas
(2.5 miles N Rock Creek Kansas)
|I'm told the missile bay roof was removed for salvage in 1994. The second picture was taken in 1967. The third picture was sent to me by Jeff Goodman. As of 4/9/2010 it is for sale on missilebases.com for $275,000. It looks undeveloped. Google Maps has a placemark that links to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com.|
25 miles SE Topeka Kansas
(between Globe and Worden, Kansas)
|Large trees, looks well-groomed. The second photo is from 1970. The third (color) photo was sent to me by Jeff Goodman. The fourth (color) photo was taken by Don Peoples in September of 2002. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of KS79799F026500. In January 2005 there was a discussion on the missile_talk group that there was an interesting accident on March 13, 1962. After a standboard evaulation, the site was being reconfigured for standard alert duty but a stray static charge, while reconnecting the firing cable, caused the sustainer engine's SPGG to fire (Solid Propellant Gas Generator, SPGG). The turbo pump spun up dry and disintegrated, sending shrapnel into the fuel tank (of missile 44-E). The tank depressurized causing the missile to collapse. It was apparently sent back to Convair for repair. It may have been returned to service and later scrapped. Google Maps has a placemark that links to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com.|
41 miles south of Topeka, Kansas
(6 miles SSW Melvern Kansas)
|Large pond adjacent, perhaps for watering livestock, built in the 1970s I'm told. The second picture was taken around 1963. The third photo was taken by Don Peoples in September 2002. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of KS79799F026600.|
25 miles SSW Topeka Kansas
(5 miles NW Osage Kansas)
|Looks developed (buildings, trees). The second photo is from 1964. The third photo was taken by Don Peoples in September 2002. This site got its water from Osage City's municipal supply.|
41 miles SW Topeka Kansas
(7 miles W Allen Kansas)
(4 miles NW Bushong Kansas)
|Nice trees, tidy, but looks undeveloped otherwise. Between 1993 and 1995 it was cleaned up and made livable but the missile bay roof was torn out to salvage the steel (silly, given the low cost of steel at the time). It was then sold to Tim Schwartz, Ed Peden's partner; they then sold it to Bob Cordray who had repeated trespassing problems and on February 16, 2000, shot and killed a trespasser. See newspaper article and later articles by the Topeka Capital-Journal (unfortunately, the Topeka Capital-Journal has become yet another newspaper that charges for access to archived articles). The owner was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to nine years in prison.|
20 miles WSW Topeka Kansas
(6 miles west Dover Kansas)
|This is the home of Ed Peden and his wife. Ed owns 20th Century Castles (missilebases.com), a real estate company dealing in old missile sites. Ed lives here and at one time made ultralight aircraft (Higher Planes, Inc.) in the former missile bay. See http://www.wired.com/news/culture/1,47577-0.html (there are many more references on Ed near the top of http://w3/uwyo.edu/~jimkirk/sites.html). The original water wells were about 6.5 miles north of the site. The second (color) photo was taken by Don Peoples in September 2002. This is located off Missile Base Road, a popular name for such roads.|
37 miles WNW Topeka Kansas
(1.5 miles NW Wamego Kansas)
|This site was being used as an illegal LSD drug lab up until about November 2000 when authorities shut it down. See newspaper article for example. See also http://www.cjonline.com/webindepth/missilesilos/ which no longer works, so try http://web.archive.org/web/20080227023326/http://cjonline.com/webindepth/missilesilos. At that time the site was owned by the Wamego Land Trust. Around October 2001 missilebases.com listed this as the most highly-developed Atlas E site in existence, selling for over one million dollars. Ed Peden (missilebases.com) apparently stopped trying to sell the site around mid-2002 due to environmental concerns. In August of 2002, Chris Malone paid $140,000 for the site in a sheriff's auction. (The last two items from the Manhattan (Kansas) Mercury, note they expect people to actually pay to read archived articles on line). It was for sale on eBay (3/19/2003) as item number 2313303570 with a starting price of $550,000 but received zero bids. Somebody told me, or wrote, that this site got its water from Wamego's municipal supply which would make sense since it's so close the Air Force might have seen this as an easier alternative to drilling for wells like most other sites. Chris Malone tells me this is not the case, but will be by early summer 2004 (along with neighboring properties whose water is tainted by chemicals from the missile site). There is a brief discussion of water treatment issues at http://www.cpeo.org/lists/military/2002/msg00828.html Chris also tells me that site cleanup began in early April 2004. The second photo was taken by Don Peoples in September 2002. On April 7 2004 I discovered it was on eBay again, item number 2393414093, $595,000. On May 11 2004 I noticed the item number on eBay is now 4301229032. On June 7 2004 I noticed the item number on eBay is now 4306472315. On July 19 2004 I noticed missilebases.com reduced the price to $545,000. In October 2004 Marshall Reece pointed me to a Wamego webcam which could actually see this site, except the pan/tilt/zoom feature was later removed; even later the webcam was removed entirely (it was mounted on a tall radio tower), the third image above is a frame grab from that camera.|
19 miles NW Topeka Kansas
(2.5 miles east of Delia Kansas)
|First color photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman. Second color photo taken by Don Peoples, September 2002. Third color photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman, from 1986, showing dirt entering the tunnel junction; the owners actually removed the 120-foot-long tunnel between the LOB and LSB so as time goes by, dirt is slowly filling up the area.|
33 miles N Topeka Kansas
(4 miles N of Holton Kansas)
The 1977 topo map shows "Military Reservation".
The Jackson Heights school district bought this site for $1 (one US dollar) and converted it into a high school. See http://cjonline.com/stories/120400/com_missilebases.shtml which describes it as 5 miles north of Holton which would be this site, #9. See also Scott D. Murdock's trip report at http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/heart/heart.html.
Altus Air Force Base is near Altus Oklahoma (SW Oklahoma) and only had Atlas F sites. I ran across a reference that one Altus silo was lost to an explosion during a dual-propellant loading exercise (in addition to the three at Walker AFB), see http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL1999/Mar99.pdf, page 8. This was May 14 1964, site 577-6. The date is confirmed by astronautix.com though they do not list the location. See also http://globalsecurity.org/military/facility/altus.htm and http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL2006/Sep06.pdf page 6.
(Patch image courtesy of USAFPatches.com)
Altus sites were manned by the 577th SMS which was activated June 1 1961, went on alert October 9 1962, started going off alert December 30 1964, and was inactivated March 25 1965. The 577th was under the 11th Strategic Air Wing (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0011bw.htm).
The 577th SMS has a web site, http://www.577sms.com.
I stumbled across a curious article at http://www.poncacitynews.com/NewsArchives/0400folder/lo041800.html that included a note about Evans & Associates Construction that stated "In addition to the fly ash storage facility, the company recently completed the reclamation of several Atlas Missile Silo's [sic] in southwest Oklahoma, which included filling the silos and living quarters with flowable fill concrete." The date was April 18, 2000.
20 miles NNE Altus Oklahoma
(2.5 miles NNE Lugert Oklahoma)
|FUDS property number K06OK0401.|
27 miles NNE Altus Oklahoma
(4.5 miles W Hobart Oklahoma)
|FUDS property number K06OK0402. This is the home of www.atlasmissilesilo.com, according to the web site, and is owned by David Johnson. As of February 18, 2009, it was for sale on http://www.siloforsale.com, see http://www.siloforsale.com/Property1.htm. No price was listed. On 9/4/2009 I noticed it was advertised on eBay for $650,000 (item 180394669591).|
21 miles E Altus Oklahoma
(2 miles N Synder Oklahoma)
(SE corner of Mountain Park Oklahoma)
|Scott D. Murdock visited here September 6 1998, see http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/swok/swok.html. Labeled "Synder Show Barn" and well sealed. FUDS property number K06OK0403. According to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com, this site is owned by the Snyder School District and used by the Snyder FFA for livestock shows (http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com/577thSMS_Site3.htm).|
37 miles E Altus Oklahoma
(2.5 miles WSW Cache Oklahoma)
|Looks well developed in the images. Scott D. Murdock visited 1/4/2003 and reports it's Cache FFA Livestock Barn & Fairgrounds. FUDS property number K06OK0404.|
21 miles E Altus Oklahoma
(6.5 miles S Snyder Oklahoma)
(3 miles NNE Manitou Oklahoma)
|December 22 2001, for sale by missilebases.com for $99,500. A basic starter project. No longer listed when I checked on February 19, 2009. FUDS property number K06OK0405. Newer Google Maps imagery shows the site is very cluttered compared to the older USGS image.|
22 miles SE Altus Oklahoma
(3 miles N Frederick Oklahoma)
(5 miles SSW Manitou Oklahoma)
|One quonset is labeled "J & S Automotive Salvage". This site suffered an explosion during a Propellant Loading Exercise (PLX) on May 14 1964, and was never put back in service. See http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL2006/Sep06.pdf page 6. There are photos, and even 45 minutes of audio recording of the accident at http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com/Accidents_577thSMS_Site6.htm. FUDS property number K06OK0406.|
20 miles S Altus Oklahoma
(5 miles into Texas 1/2 mile W of US 283)
|Curious in that the surrounding area is laid out at an angle relative to north-south, though of course the site itself is lined up at the usual angle. FUDS property number K06OK0407. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of TX69799F648800.|
(15 miles SW Altus Oklahoma)
(midway between Olustee and Eldorado)
(.7 miles NE Creta Oklahoma)
|December 22 2001, for sale by missilebases.com for $133,000. No longer listed as of February 19, 2009. There was a DERP/FUDS report at http://pirs.mvr.usace.army.mil/fuds/a-d/atlas_f/project.htm but that link is now inactive, try http://web.archive.org/web/20020820060347/http://pirs.mvr.usace.army.mil/fuds/a-d/atlas_f/project.htm. FUDS property number K06OK0408.|
30 miles W Altus Oklahoma
(4.5 miles E Hollis Oklahoma)
|The 1990 topo map is marked "Fairground." FUDS property number K06OK0409.|
20 miles NW Altus Oklahoma
(6.5 miles SW Magnum Oklahoma)
|I've heard one of the sites has the launch doors open, the photo suggests this is that site. FUDS property number K06OK0410.|
30 miles NNW Altus Oklahoma
(1 mile NE Willow Oklahoma)
|There was a DERP/FUDS report at http://pirs.mvr.usace.army.mil/fuds/a-d/atlas_11/preasses/pa.htm but it is no longer available, see http://web.archive.org/web/20020820060034/http://pirs.mvr.usace.army.mil/fuds/a-d/atlas_11/preasses/pa.htm. FUDS property number K06OK0411.|
22 miles NNW Altus Oklahoma
(3 miles W Granite Oklahoma)
|FUDS property number K06OK0412.|
Schilling Air Force Base was near Salina Kansas (about 4 miles SSW), and supported 12 Atlas F sites.
(Patch image courtesy of USAFPatches.com)
Schilling sites were manned by the 550th SMS which was activated April 1 1961, went on alert September 9 1962, started going off alert February 1 1965, and was inactivated June 25 1965. The 550th SMS was under the 310th SAW (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0310bw.htm).
Schilling was closed in 1965-1967 (depending on whose article you read). It was partly turned over to the Salina Airport Authority (SAA). Coordinates are 38-47-30, 097-39. In this Google Maps image and this 1990 topo map, the former base is in the lower left and marked "Municipal Airport" and there's an abandoned airport in the upper-right with a few baseball fields. My guess is the abandoned field was the municipal airport until Schilling became the new airport.
Around July 2002 I noticed missilebases.com listed one of these sites but did not specify which one ("30 miles from Salina") for $450,000. The description said "Central, KS" but I can't find a town by that name so I suspect it simply means central Kansas. July 19 2004 I noticed the price was reduced to $245,000. March 2 2005 I think this is the Kanopolis (550-7) site. It disappeared from their list some time between April and December, 2005.
In March of 2012 I noticed a Kansas Atlas F site for sale on eBay (item number 220981221563) for $575,000. The seller did not disclose the location (but will of course disclose to qualified bidders). At the end of the auction there were three offers but all were declined.
Jeff Goodman supplies some observations and research --
One of these sites has apparently been extensively re-developed by a British company called Blue Sky Construction, and is now for sale as a property called World's End. See for example http://www.missilebases.com/properties/VisionAF.htm and http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2007/10/03/story44181.asp. But it isn't clear which Kansas Atlas-F site this is, and the stories all have drawings rather than photos which makes me wonder if it's actually done or if they are selling a concept.
Scott Murdock drove past many of Schilling's missile sites in August of 2007 and took photos, see: http://airforcebase.net/trips/dirt/dirt.html.
20 miles north of Salina Kansas
(8 miles east of Minneapolis Kansas)
|Remarkably plain and undeveloped. #1 and #12 are unusually close to each other (ca. 8 miles).|
22 miles ENE of Salina Kansas
(2.5 miles NW Abilene Kansas)
|Looks moderately developed. The 1979 topo map says "U S Military Reservation". Two companies use the site, General Machining Inc and Class Rat Cycle Works.|
32 miles ENE of Salina Kansas
(2.5 miles west Chapman Kansas)
18 miles SE Salina Kansas
(1.7 miles SW Carlton Kansas)
|On September 7, 2005, I noticed this site was for sale on missilebases.com for $168,000. As of February 6, 2006, it was no longer listed.|
23 miles S Salina Kansas
(7.5 miles N of McPherson)
|An article here (link broken, try http://web.archive.org/web/20070823221512/http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/pubs/may04/story16.htm) discusses groundwater contamination and how it is being handled. When trichloroethylene (TCE) was discovered in well water being used by the family living in a home on the site, a filtration system was installed. Later the house was connected to treated water from a water district. The land and home are owned by Jay Bremyer and family.|
38 miles SW of Salina Kansas
(3 miles W Little River Kansas)
|Color photo of silo lid area courtesy of Jeff Goodman. As of September 7, 2005, this site was for sale on missilebases.com for $165,000. As of December 14, 2006, it was no longer listed. As of October 15, 2010, it is listed again at $150,000.|
24 miles W of Salina Kansas
(1.5 miles NW Carneiro Kansas)
|3/2/2005 according to http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com/550thSMS_Site7.htm, this site was for sale on missilebases.com. The only Kansas site on missilebases.com was listed simply as "Central, KS" so I'm assuming this was the same site and was listed for $245,000; several nice photos. It disappeared from their list some time between April and December, 2005.|
44 miles W Salina Kansas
(2.3 miles ENE Wilson Kansas)
|Color photo of entryway courtesy of Jeff Goodman.|
28 miles NW of Salina Kansas
(7 miles E Lincoln Kansas)
19 miles NW of Salina Kansas
(1.5 miles ENE Tescott Kansas)
|This site was for sale on eBay as of 3/26/2009 as a classified ad (item id 320350562770), the asking price was $299,000. The address is 427 West Highway 18. It had been used as a fish farm, and the owner had hoped to turn the silo into a huge swimming pool (but apparently that did not happen). In December 2013 it appears this site will be developed as a second set of "Survival Condos" by the same developer who converted the Concordia site, below; see survivalcondo.com.|
39 miles N of Salina Kansas
(10.5 miles S Concordia Kansas)
|Somewhat developed. Tours were available, and there was an associated web site: http://www.kansasphototour.com/atlas.htm but the missile site has been sold since then and the web site died (try http://web.archive.org/web/20110205003623/http://kansasphototour.com/atlas.htm. The second photo, above, is from 1975. In July of 2003, Jeff Goodman advised me the kansasphototour information is kind of old (and sent me several more photos) -- "The site has been been sold to a couple who are fixing it up. Its nice. They are painting the entry way and LCC walls and plan to 'move in' to the LCC ... They have installed a couple of flood lights in the silo itself- that contains about 20-30' of water. They told me that the previous owner bought the site from a guy who had it for many years but did nothing to it. Back in the flood of 1993, the silo took about 50' of water but that had been subsequently pumped out." On November 30, 2007, I noticed it is for sale on missilebases.com for $269,000. It apparently sold in mid-2008. CNN did a video piece in 2012 on how it's being converted by Larry Hall into a secure condominium complex: $2M survival bunkers a tough sell. See survivalcondo.com. There was also a short article in the June 2012 issue of Discover magazine (page 14). In a press release, it was stated that a second silo was acquired for conversion into survival condos; although it was not stated, the second silo is probably Tescott, above. A 2013 episode of the Travel Channel program "America Declassified" (http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/america-declassified) included a segment "Million Dollar Missile Silos" about this site, which the program calls Raven Ridge.|
24 miles N of Salina Kansas
(3.5 miles NE Minneapolis Kansas)
|Very busy, somebody has been at work! #1 and #12 seem unusually close to each other (ca. 8 miles). I'm told this site is owned by the Kansas state highway department (which would explain the busy appearance) and that it's still sealed. Color photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.|
3.5 miles SW of Salina Kansas
|Former Weapons Storage Area (WSA) for Schilling AFB. I understand the bunkers are now rental storage areas, and the dog kennels are being used as ... dog kennels!|
Dyess Air Force Base is in eastern Texas, just southwest of Abilene.
(Patch image courtesy of strategic-air-command.com)
Dyess sites were manned by the 578th SMS which was activated July 1 1961, went on alert November 15 1962, started going off alert December 1 1964, and was inactivated March 25 1965. By this measure, Dyess was on alert the shortest interval off all the Atlas bases, at two years and 15 days. The 578th SMS was under the 96th SAW (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0096bw.htm).
There's an organization called Atlas Missile Tours that apparently owns a Dyess Atlas F site and is restoring it, and provides tours of this and other area sites. This appears to be Bruce Townsley's site, Oplin, below. But the web site has disappeared. See http://web.archive.org/web/20060116042600/www.geocities.com/atlasmissiletours for an archived copy.
Dyess sites were connected by a buried cable system but I don't know if this was unique or typical for Atlas sites in general, or Atlas F sites in particular.
On September 5 2001, Farm to Market Road 604 was designated the Atlas ICBM Highway. See http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/dymsl/dymsl.html and http://www.texnews.com/1998/2001/local/road0906.html.
Several newspaper articles have been written about Abilene Atlas sites, by "Brazos Bill" Whitaker. Click for article #1, #2, #3, #4.
12 miles NE of Abilene Texas
30 miles NE of Abilene Texas
(1.5 miles S Albany Texas)
|There is a report of a near explosion at one time (see http://www.texnews.com/1998/1999/local/atlas0618.html, third paragraph from the end) but so far I don't have any details.|
17 miles E Abilene Texas
(4 miles WSW Baird Texas)
(2.5 miles SE Clyde Texas)
|Looks well developed. Apparently owned by the Clyde Independent School District. Those might even be school buses in the photo. An article at http://www.texnews.com/1998/1999/local/atlas0618.html, from June 18 1999, claims this will be the first Atlas museum. Scott D. Murdock visited here October 28 2000, see http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/dymsl/dymsl.html. The water system is about a mile east.|
17 miles SE Abilene Texas
(1 mile N Denton Texas)
|Looks slightly developed.
23 miles SE of Abilene Texas
(1 mile N Oplin Texas)
Scott D. Murdock visited this site March 18 2000, see his trip report at
The owner, Bruce Townsley, lives in the control center.
which is Bruce's web site. See also
http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL1998/Mar98.pdf page 3, and
This home was briefly featured on Home and Garden TV's program
"Building Character" (episode
BDC-210) though they claimed
it was near Clyde, not Oplin (maybe Clyde is on maps and Oplin is not!).
On Friday, November 11, 2005, Bruce Townsley and Wayne Newman finally
managed to get one of the silo doors to open and close.
Because they used a small 2-horsepower hydraulic pump
it took 26 minutes to raise (and 12 minutes to lower) which
is much slower than it took as an active missile site.
But it's still a remarkable accomplishment.
November 20, 2005, a newspaper article about Bruce's unique home
A very nice collection of historic and contemporary images of this site:
A Roadside America article:
But as of February, 2009, Bruce's web site is gone.
For an archived copy, see
21 miles S of Abilene Texas
(2.5 miles E Lawn Texas)
|A newspaper article at
states this site will become a banquet and meeting facility.
Scott D. Murdock also discusses the site at
has several photos
(he revisited the site March 5 2006, see
An official web site for 578-6 --
Fresh water came from a well 1.5 miles west.
The site is controlled by Misile Base Enterprises.
23 miles S of Abilene Texas
(3 miles NE Bradshaw Texas)
In September 2005 Tony Castillo sent me the URL
which describes some of the history of this site. In 1978 it was
licensed as Materials Recovery Enterprises (MRE) to process
industrial solid waste. By 1982 MRE stopped receiving wastes,
and by 1988 the site was abandoned.
Since then the site has been subjected to cleanup efforts.
The site is now completely filled with debris and soil, and capped
with grout. All surface features were razed.
The water annex was at 32-10-38 99-46-04.
34 miles S of Abilene Texas
(3 miles E Winters Texas)
There was a DERP-FUDS report at
but that's gone, try
FUDS site number K06TX0113.
Apparently an attempt was made to turn the LCC into an aviary
but that failed.
The site looks moderately developed.
25 miles SW of Abilene Texas
(5 miles NE Shep Texas)
|#9 was for sale on
missilebases.com in mid 2001
(April 2003, still was, $230,000).
By early 2006 it was no longer listed.
It was described as a scuba diving site so this may be
what familyscuba.com calls
Valhalla. They don't mention the location but articles describe it
as being near Steamboat Mountain (about 7 miles east of this site)
and at 2420 feet altitude so #9 is about right. See also
There is a YouTube video tour of the site at
26 miles SW of Abilene Texas
(6 miles ENE Nolan Texas)
|Lots of trees all around; well groomed.
According to Scott D. Murdock,
the current owner purchased it directly from the government.
Scott visited this site October 14 2000, see
I believe this is the site owned by Buddy King and described
in the newspaper article
which references Mulberry Canyon, nearby.
Another article points out the site has a very large sundial, see
which Scott Murdock also mentions.
The water system consists of three wells about 3/4 mile west.
20 miles NW of Abilene Texas
(3 miles S Anson Texas)
|Scott D. Murdock visited here March 25 2000, see
At that time water had filled the facility to within 23 feet
below the top of the silo cap.
It is owned by the Anson Independent School District.
29 miles NNW of Abilene Texas
(18 miles SW Stamford Texas)
(1.5 miles WNW Corinth Texas)
Scott D. Murdock visited this site March 18 2000, see
He has visited the area on two other occasions, the third
time looking for the water annex.
The owner lives topside.
Fresh water came from a pumping station southwest, on Anson North
lake. According to
(page 2) this site was purchased around early 1998 or early 1997 by
Rikki Kirschner and his wife.
Lincoln Air Force base (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Lincoln_AFB.htm and http://www.formerbases.com/neb_lincoln.htm) was near Lincoln Nebraska, in the southeast corner of the state. The base was closed in 1966 and reportedly was the last active Atlas base (though Plattsburgh started going off alert two days later according to Stumpf, table 2.2, page 14). The base is now the local municipal airport in the northwest corner of Lincoln. A brief history of LAFB was at http://www.geocities.com/bigrob685/lincoln1.html until Yahoo! pulled the plug on Geocities, so try http://web.archive.org/web/20050330090427/http://www.geocities.com/bigrob685/lincoln1.html instead. Another history is at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/lincoln.htm.
There is a Yahoo! group for Lincoln AFB, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lincoln_afb
(Patch images courtesy of the 551st association and sacpatches.com (now gone) respectively)
Lincoln sites were manned by the 551st SMS, under the 98th Bombardment Wing (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0098bw.htm). Here is a list of important dates.
The 551st SMS has a web site at http://members.tripod.com/sms551association. Another 551st web site was http://www.geocities.com/lincoln551sms (but in October of 2009, Geocities closed down, try http://web.archive.org/web/20040612070830/www.geocities.com/lincoln551sms).
Many sites had runways, specifically 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 12. Aircraft (U-6As) were used as a kind of taxi service. In November of 1964, a U-6A crashed while returning a crew from site 4, killing them. The plane hit a power line. In 2009, the state of Nebraska placed a historical marker nearby as a tribute to the crew (Major Lee Craft, 1st Lieutenant Chester Higgenbotham, Staff Sergeant Harold Hrenchir, Airman first class Donald Moore, and Airman second class David Theriot) and the pilot, Major Robert Wilson.
The Prairie Astronomy Club (Lincoln Nebraska) purchased an Atlas site in 1987 as a dark sky site, which turns out to have been the Cortland site (now in private hands).
There is some confusion over site designations and locations. There is a map in the book "From Snark to Peacekeeper" which is also reproduced on web sites such as Siloman's but the map is incorrect in naming sites 2 and 3 (it's backwards). And #6 is sometimes reported in its planned location, not it's actual location. #12 is sometimes called David City, sometimes Brainard. I understand Brainard was the name used when the sites were active but David City keeps popping up as well. They had different numbers during construction which I also include. My list, below, is believed to be correct.
There was also a "Presentation Map" that was given to VIPs and crew members, Ken Fisher was kind enough to send me a scanned version. Click on the small image to view the large (1275x1080) version. The second image is from the book From Snark to Peacekeeper and if you compare the maps you will see they are not consistent.
In May 2002 I was contacted by Algor Langeaux who is doing some research on the Lincoln sites and the 551st SMS. I am grateful for the information he's provided, and quote him extensively below.
I also received a lot of good information from Ken Fisher who served in the 551st.
Rob Branting informs me the construction of the sites had one of the highest rates of fatailities and strikes in the country.
One of these sites was for sale on missilebases.com in early 2002 for $550,000. Which one wasn't listed ("south central Nebraska"). Algor Langeaux initially thought it was #10 (York) but upon inspection he now thinks it was the Tecumseh site (#6).
Scott Murdock drove by a few of these sites on March 11, 2007, and took some photos, see http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/vacation/vacation.html.
25 miles E of Lincoln Nebraska
(4.8 miles ESE Elmwood Nebraska)
|Looks like it's owned by a junk car dealer! Algor: The Elmwood site ... IS a junk yard now... or auto salvage... or whatever. Entry way is still standing and emergency hatch still has original steel topper. A couple pump houses still stand there. They have pried the east silo door open and filled it 3/4 full of old tires and water. The guy that lives there says the LCC has been filled with old tires too. The guy that owns this site says he also owns the Avoca site (#3) but is having a problem because he doesn't own the access road, so he can't get to it. Mid-2003, I hear access by the owner has been restored. According to Stan Hague, the EPA is trying to decide whether the tires need to all be removed and disposed of in some other way. See http://www.geocities.com/lincoln551sms/Elmwood1.html for modern photos (but in October of 2009, Geocities shut down).|
17 miles E of Lincoln Nebraska
(3.7 miles E Eagle Nebraska)
|Algor: The Eagle site ... is owned by a local farmer. He was too busy to talk, but I noted that a quanset hut is still standing at the site, and apparently being used (I saw a tractor and pickup come and go from the site while I was taking long distance photos.)|
34 miles E of Lincoln Nebraska
(4.6 miles ENE Avoca Nebraska)
|Lots of trees. Groomed or overgrown? Algor reported the owner has no access (see #1, above), which I heard was resolved in mid-2003. I understand this was the VIP tour site for SAC headquarters, which was nearby. In July 2005 I noticed Tony Castillo's web site http://www.nesilos.com claimed this site would be for sale soon, for $75,000. Checking on February 20, 2009, this is still the case: http://www.nesilos.com/Avoca/avocapg1.html. On April 29, 2009, Tony reports that the site has been sold to a couple from Missouri. On June 30, 2009, Tony posted a few links about the site and what is being done to it: http://hstrial-bgribben.homestead.com which is the web site the owners have set up; http://www.youtube.com/camarodood which is Tony's videos on youtube including some of this missile site; and http://www.nesilos.com/Avoca/avocarehabpg1.htm which has Tony's recent photos of the rehab.|
40 miles ESE of Lincoln Nebraska
(4.5 miles W Nebraska City Nebraska)
|Frankly this doesn't look much like an Atlas F but we'll presume it is for now. It's also amazingly close to a highway intersection but the highway might have been built much later. Algor has clarified this: Coordinates are right on... the confusion comes from the fact that the highway that used to run east to west (highway 2) 1/2 mile further south, was diverted about five years ago when they were doing the new road, because there wasn't room in one of the small towns on the old highway 2 to accomodate four lanes of traffic. That puts the site just 50 yards from a major four lane highway... the odd "intersection" is actually a weigh station. In the image at your site, you can see at the bottom left hand corner of the site, the round silo pad, plain as day. See http://www.geocities.com/lincolnairbase/Nebr for modern photos (but in October of 2009, Geocities shut down). According to Stan Hague there is a cellular antenna tower on the site next to the silo doors (visible in the modern-photo link above) and a tool and equipment rental business is adjacent and inside of the perimeter fencing. October 2004, Tony Castillo writes that the rental company is Tri-State Rentals & Storage, and provided the color photo of the entry portal.|
18 miles SE of Lincoln Nebraska
(1 mile SE Palmyra Nebraska)
|Algor: The Palmyra site (#5) has had a relatively recent clean up effort, reportedly by the EPA. The entry way has been destroyed, and is covered by a concrete pad. The front gate had been open for quite a while, and a mulberry tree grew up between the gate and fence. In order to close the gate, they had to cut the tree out of the fencing, leaving a number of tree branches still embedded in the gate. See http://www.geocities.com/lincoln551sms/Palmyra.html for modern photos (but in October 2009, Geocities shut down).|
37 miles SE of Lincoln Nebraska
(4.3 miles N Tecumseh Nebraska)
Siloworld, and others (including me) listed the
coordinates as 40-25-13 096-12-43 but that was incorrect.
Algor talked to a local resident who suggested that was the original
location until he put up a big fuss during siting, and rather than
enter a legal battle, the Air Force picked a different location
which I now list above.
FUDS property number B07NE0095.
This site had a small runway for airplanes.
Algor: The fence is completely intact, though patched extensively.
And a NEW quanset hut is on the site as well.
Based on what I saw there, I am going to have to suggest a revision
to my previous assertion that the 20th Century Castles property is
York... Despite what siloman says,
The Tecumseh site is the only one that I have seen that has the
number of trees planted on the site, that he claims (you can actually
see the dotted lines of trees showing up on
the MSR Maps link above). York, quite frankly, is a dog
of a site... and is way too delapidated to justify what they
are asking for it. Regardless, the foam insulation picture at the
above link looks very much like the wall treatment that is
visible in the micro-images here:
The Tecumseh site also has rather extensive underground photos on
the Siloworld site...
Note however that his second page of photos for Tecumseh is actually
According to Stan Hague, the farmer who owns the land uses the missile
site to park farm equipment, and the interior is a mess because it has
been used as an indoor shooting range by his family.
21 miles S of Lincoln Nebraska
(3.5 miles ENE Cortland Nebraska)
Algor: The Cortland site (#7) has had some recent development.
Two very new houses have appeared on the property, and there is a
sign at the main road selling six acres on the site... about what is
left of the main silo complex. The silo pad proper has been
surrounded by a low barbed wire fence with a steel gate and 20 keep
out signs, so I didn't push it, but I couldn't see the main entry
portal, so I am assuming that it has been plowed under.
There may be one structure there still standing...
a lone pump house.
According to Stan Hague, this used
to be the University of Nebraska dark sky site but has since been
purchased by an individual who removed the entry portal,and this
is the only Lincoln Atlas F site with the missile cribbing intact.
Tony Castillo reports the site was sold to someone in California
and nothing has been done to it in years.
I was sent photos that includes a pretty good one of a typical
hardened UHF antenna, if I've ID'd it correctly.
I understand in 1975 three people died scuba diving in the silo.
41 miles S of Lincoln Nebraska
(4.5 miles SW Beatrice Nebraska)
This was the first 551st site to be taken off alert for retirement,
March 14th 1964.
Site 9 was originally scheduled to be retired first but a Titan with
the same target went off alert so #8 was selected.
Algor: The Beatrice site (#8) has been razed. The entry portal has
been broken down and filled in, but you can see the rebar sticking
up still. The western silo door has had both hinge caps broken out,
exposing the hinge ends. It looks like the
farm to the East of the site has the quanset hut now.
The fence is largely down, and though the main gate still stands,
it doesn't actually have any fencing in it anymore.
According to Stan Hague, the access road has been replaced by a corn
field, and everything else has been removed or buried.
31 miles SW of Lincoln Nebraska
(6.5 miles W Wilber Nebraska)
The 1978 topo map says "U S Military Reservation."
There was a brief FUDS report at
but now it's gone.
A longer report was at
but that's gone too.
Algor: The Wilber site (#9)has a relatively new farm
(15-20 years old)
right at the mouth of the site... nobody home so I didn't get to see
Modern photos were at
(but in October of 2009, Geocities shut down).
In October 2004, Tony Castillo wrote me, and explained that the site
was purchased by one of the original land owners and handed down to
It has been cleaned out, and has recently been sold to a fellow from
Florida who intends to build a retirement home.
Tony sent me the color photo.
The new owner of the house on the access road closed and removed
the original access road; the owner of the missile site had to
construct a new access road.
November 30, 2007, this has been for sale on
for a while, $229,000.
As of February 19, 2009, the price is $175,000.
52 miles W of Lincoln Nebraska
(5 miles WNW York Nebraska)
|An unusually distant site (50 miles from Lincoln).
FUDS Property# B07NE0098.
I'm told the owner constructed the road towards the west because to the south
the original road is owned by a junk yard; the photos seem to support this.
According to Stan Hague, this has been turned into a home.
Rob Branting tells me this was the Alternate Command Post for the 551st,
and that the site was purchased by a couple to turn into a retirement
home (I'm guessing a topside home).
On October 25, 2006, the York News Times reported that the TCE
groundwater-contamination plume from this site had reached the
city of York, about 4 miles away.
27 miles WNW of Lincoln Nebraska
(5 miles W Seward Nebraska)
|Looks well developed. Another one that's hard to tell
was ever a missile site.
http://www.geocities.com/lincoln551sms/Seward.html for modern photos
(but in October of 2009, Geocities shut down).
According to Stan Hague, Seward's Maintenance Department utilizes the
entire site for its facilities. Rumor has it that they sold the launch
and other consoles from the LCC to an Atlas F owner in Texas so that he
could use them in a restoration project.
Rob Branting tells me the silo lid is used as a parking lot,
and the site was visited by the first 551st reunion.
30 miles NW of Lincoln Nebraska
(9 miles ESE David City Nebraska)
The 1981 topo map says "U S Mil Res."
Scott D. Murdock visited this site, see his trip report at
Algor: The large building in the center of the base is actually
parked right on top of the silo doors. They poured a foundation
right on top of the doors... (well not precisely, it is off center
and in the back you can see one of the hinge boxes).
Apparently this is now a pig farm, owned by Danbred North America.
http://www.geocities.com/lincolnairbase/David for modern photos
(but in October of 2009, Geocities shut down).
Tony Castillo took some pictures in September 2004, the color photo
above (entry portal on the right) is one of them.
Plattsburgh Air Force Base was in upstate New York on the shore of Lake Champlain, Clinton County. It was closed in 1995. During the Atlas era it had 12 Atlas F sites. There is a Superfund report at http://cfpub.epa.gov/superrods/rodslist.cfm?msiteid=0202439.
(Patch image courtesy of sacpatches.com, now gone)
Plattsburgh sites were manned by the 556th SMS which was activated October 1 1961, went on alert December 20 1962, started going off alert March 12 1965, and was inactivated June 25 1965. The 556th SMS was under the 380th SAW, see: http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0380bw.htm. The 556th had earlier been assigned to the Snark missile, was inactivated, then re-activated for Atlas.
The 556th SMS has a web site, http://www.556sms.com.
An article describing the sites and one missileman's experiences is at http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL2010/Jun10.pdf beginning on page 4.
Prior to March 15 1962 many of the silos had different numbers and/or names. The list that follows uses numbers and names after March 15 1962. There are before and after maps of Plattsburgh site locations buried in the DERP/FUDS report at http://pirs.mvr.usace.army.mil/fuds/m-p/plattms7/oe/asr/asr.htm which is primarily about site #7, but the previous link no longer works, try http://web.archive.org/web/20020611052929/http://pirs.mvr.usace.army.mil/fuds/m-p/plattms7/oe/asr/asr.htm. According to research done by Jeff Stephens, the discrepancy was caused by the Corps of Engineers using their own designations, separate from what the Air Force chose to use after construction.
SAC Corps SAC Corps 1 1 Champlain Champlain 2 2 Alburg, VT Alburgh 3 3 Swanton, VT Swanton 4 4 Willsboro Willsboro 5 10 Lewis Bouquet 6 5 Au Sable Forks AuSable Forks 7 11 Riverview Sugarbush 8 6 Redford Clayburg 9 7 Dannemora Chazy Lake 10 12 Brainardsville Harrigan Corners 11 8 Ellenburg Ellenburg 12 9 Mooers Mooers Forks(sites 1-4 are the same).
According to the EPA, property in Colchester Vermont (now Champlain Cable Corporation at 175 Hercules Drive, see http://www.champcable.com) was being developed as an Atlas missile site during the late 1950s but this does not show up anywhere else so it may be incorrect. Or the site was started and later deemed unsuitable, or it might have been a communication site. The 1981 30-minute topo map shows the adjacent area as "Camp Johnson (Nat Guard)", and the 1987 7.5-minute topo map says "Military Reservation." See http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/camp-johnson-vt.htm. Here is a USGS photo, plus an aerial photo of the factory:
Sites are sometimes simply referred to by number, sometimes with squadron (e.g. 556-1), and I've found designations such as S-1 on EPA documents.
21 miles N of Plattsburgh New York
(1.7 miles NW Champlain New York)
|The 1966 topo map says "Plattsburgh AFB Auxiliary Site". There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F109200. On August 4, 2005, this site went up for sale on eBay, item number 4397881302; On September 3 bidding ended with a high bid of $180,000. The address of the property is 67 Missile Base Road and is only one quarter mile south of the Canadian border. The buyer is Gerald Fitzpatrick who is fixing up the place, and has a nice web site at http://www.killerjeanne.com with lots of current and historical photos.|
21 miles NNE of Plattsburgh New York
(1 mile NE Alburg Vermont)
|The 1972 topo map says "Plattsburgh AFB Auxiliary Site". But there's a modern-looking parking lot. I also found an EPA document that describes it as "Off Route 2" which this is. I was told that Alburg uses the site to store vehicles and equipment.|
21 miles NE of Plattsburgh New York
(1.5 miles SW Swanton Vermont)
|Like Altus #7, the area is laid out at an angle to north-south but in this case, so is the site itself. There is an EPA report on this site at their Superfund site which states the site is owned by Chevalier Drilling Company (as of January 17, 2001, and mid-2006 per Cathy Resmer's article). This, and another EPA report describes it as "Off Middle Road" which this is. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of VT19799F216200. The silo doors are open, and it may be the only site with door hydraulics intact.|
24 miles S of Plattsburgh New York
(only 1 mile SE Willsboro New York)
|Another "angular" site. See http://www.clui.org/sites/default/files/20_fall_2000.pdf (page 5) for an article on artists using the site. On 4/18/2002 I noticed it was for sale on missilebases.com for $375,000. As of June 2006 it was owned by Tony L'Esperance, since 1993, and he was negotiating a sale of the site for $425,000 to a neighbor. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F109500 (that link is dead, but if you go to http://www.denix.osd.mil and search for "NY29799F109500" you should get many relevant documents listed).|
25 miles S of Plattsburgh New York
(3.5 miles N Lewis New York)
|The 1978 topo map includes a mark labeled "Site 10" which matches the Corps of Engineers numbering. According to siloman, at http://www.siloworld.net/556thSMS/LEWIS/lewis__drawings.htm, this site has been remodeled, the above link takes you to artist conceptional drawings. The site owner is Alexander Michael. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F109600. There's another web site at http://www.siloboy.com which is Alexander's web site. June 7 2006 I learned he is selling a 50-percent stake in the site to raise money to do more work, eBay item 4466586118. I captured images from the auction and archived them here. The eBay advertisement expired August 28, 2006 with no indication of whether anybody bought into it. On November 30, 2007, I noticed he's apparently still seeking a partner, per a note on missilebases.com (still true as of February 19, 2009). The September, 2008 issue of the AAFM Newsletter (here, page 12) describes a visit by Dick Somerset who worked at the site when it was active. As of 4/9/2010 the owner is still seeking a business parter, $1,000,000 for 50% ownership rights (per missilebases.com). In 2013 I noticed an HGTV program "You Live in What?" which included a short tour of the site and narrative by Alexander.|
19 miles SW of Plattsburgh New York
(2 miles NE Au Sable Forks New York)
Au Sable Forks
|The 1978 topo map includes a mark labeled "Site 5" which matches the Corps of Engineers numbering. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F109700. The site was purchased around 1991 by Michael "Mickey" Danielle who is looking for a buyer with at least $300,000.|
27 miles SW of Plattsburgh New York
(4 miles E of Loon Lake New York)
|Google Earth shows the road to the site as being named "Adirondack Park Preserve," which is the same as #10, below. There was a DERP-FUDS report on this site at http://pirs.mvr.usace.army.mil/fuds/m-p/plattms7/oe/asr/asr.htm but that link is broken, try http://web.archive.org/web/20020611052929/http://pirs.mvr.usace.army.mil/fuds/m-p/plattms7/oe/asr/asr.htm. Another was at http://www.hnd.usace.army.mil/oew/factshts/factshts/platts7.pdf but that link is broken too and archive.org doesn't have it. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F109800. The site had been used by an ammunition disposal company named Yates County Industries, also known as Luann Inc., which left behind related hazards. On March 30, 1979, Francis McKenna was killed when his cutting torch set off a 20mm round. The government debated liability, on the one hand stating that the live ammo was the responsibility of the disposal company but later considered that the ammo's proper disposal was still ultimately their own problem. This is mentioned in a DERP report which I saved here: http://w3.uwyo.edu/~jimkirk/missile/platt-s7-derp.pdf. See also http://w3.uwyo.edu/~jimkirk/missile/platt-s7-fuds.pdf and http://w3.uwyo.edu/~jimkirk/missile/platt-s7-fuds2.pdf. I recall a related case where Plattsburgh AFB waste solvents were sold to a man who owned a TV repair shop where the canisters were simply piled up and began leaking; the government was forced to assume liability even though they had sold the solvents.|
20 miles SW of Plattsburgh New York
(1/2 mile NW Clayburg New York)
|I believe this site is the expensive one advertised on missilebases.com and silohome.com. The latter has a link to Adirondack Airpark Estates which lists virtually the same coordinates. Note that missilebases.com confusingly states it's near Lake Placid (30 miles) and the page has a "dateline" of Saranac (25 miles away). The USGS photo appears to have been taken before the area was developed but Yahoo! Maps has a more recent image, here. Asking price in late 2001 was 2.5 million dollars (1.7 million as of December 22 2001, and $995,000 May 30 2002). But then I noticed it being auctioned on eBay (item 1761906773) starting at 2.1 million dollars, or Buy It Now for 25 million (includes an airplane, ten lots, and some remodeling)! The auction ran from August 26 to September 25 2002; it received zero bids. On September 25 2002 they relisted it with a starting bid of $550,000 and no Buy-It-Now (item 1771107126). The bidding ended October 25 with three bids, the winner was $2,100,100. They claimed the sale would actually close in April or May 2003, and to have more silo homes in preparation for future sale, but as of 4/9/2010 it looks like it's still for sale, with a listed price on missilebases.com of $2,300,000. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F109900. HGTV explored the house in a program called Extreme Homes of the Frozen North. On 10/21/2011 there was a video piece on CNN's web site at http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2011/10/19/cnnmoney-missle-silo-home-new-york.cnnmoney which claimed the home was listed by the owner, Bruce Francisco of silohome.com, at $141,000,000. The same video can also be seen at http://money.cnn.com/video/pf/2011/09/29/pf_bh_missile_silo.cnnmoney. On 5/14/2012 I discovered a few more stories/listings that claimed the site is still for sale, at a mere $750,000: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/05/12/house-week-missile-silo-home-with-runway/?intcmp=features, http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/127-Standish-Rd-Saranac-NY-12981/2122878673_zpid.|
18 miles WNW of Plattsburgh New York
(6 miles NW Dannemora New York)
|There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F110000. The town of Dannemora uses it for their highway department; the road is Town Garage Road.|
28 miles NW of Plattsburgh New York
(2 miles E Brainardsville New York)
|Google Earth shows the road to the site as being named "Adirondack Park Preserve," which is the same as #7, above. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F110100. The site is actually in Ellenburg but has a Brainardsville telephone number. It is owned by Leonard Casey (along with #11 below), he and his family live in one of the quonset huts. Leonard uses the site for his firewood and rock business, Casey's Sticks and Stones. On November 30, 2007, I noticed it is for sale on missilebases.com, price available on request. Ditto as of February 19, 2009.|
23 miles NW of Plattsburgh New York
(only 1 mile NE Ellenburg Depot New York)
|For sale by missilebases.com in late 2001, 11.9 acres, water well, 2 quonset buildings. Ready for occupancy but no price was listed. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F110200. Owned by Leonard Casey (see also #10, above) but it is largely abandoned and is being sold (as of June 2006) to a Vermonter who plans to pump out the LCC and make it a home.|
20 miles NNW of Plattsburgh New York
(2 miles W Mooers New York)
|Quite developed, as is the land immediately south. There's a report at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/ARC/FY2004DEP/APPX-INDEX.PDF which suggests this site has a FUDS ID of NY29799F110300. This site is used by the town of Mooers as a garage.|
1 mile S of Plattsburgh New York
|This is the former Weapons Storage Area of Plattsburgh AFB.|
Walker Air Force Base was just south of Roswell New Mexico, and closed in 1967. It's now the Roswell Industrial Air Center. See http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Walker_AFB.htm. There is a Walker Aviation Museum in Roswell, see http://www.wafbmuseum.org.
(Patch image courtesy of strategic-air-command.com)
Walker sites were manned by the 579th SMS which was activated September 1 1961, went on alert November 30 1962, started going off alert January 5 1965, and was inactivated March 25 1965. The 579th has a web site at http://www.579sms.com.
There were three accidental explosions involving Walker sites (e.g. http://www.texnews.com/1998/1999/local/atlas0618.html). http://www.roswell-online.com/environs/m_silos/q-a4.htm (except, rowswell-online went out of business, so try http://web.archive.org/web/20061101120808/http://www.roswell-online.com/environs/m_silos/q-a4.htm instead) mentions that #1, #2, and #5 were lost to explosions. These were all during Propellant Loading Exercises (PLX). See also http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Corridor/4831/LANCE1.HTM and more (the site is dead, try http://web.archive.org/web/20021007211738/http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Corridor/4831/LANCE1.HTM).
A moderately interesting newsletter story on a few Roswell sites is at http://www.clui.org/sites/default/files/20_fall_2000.pdf, page 5. However it does not identify the specific sites, and both of the organizations seem to be dead (thestarlite.com turned into a cheesy search engine and now (2003) doesn't exist at all, and terraform.org won't let you into their web site without a username and password). There's an article about thestarlite.com at http://www.ilda.wa.org/Laserist/Back_issues_499.html#anchor93807. See also http://www.showlasers.com/starlite.html (link dead, ShowLasers is now at http://www.wix.com/photonbeam/sliweb02#! but the original article can be found here), http://www.abqjournal.com/2000/1hope12-26-99.htm (except the article expired and they charge for archive access, see http://web.archive.org/web/20060316104825/http://www.abqjournal.com/2000/1hope12-26-99.htm), and http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/spil01.shtml (that link is also dead, try here).
A web site at http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Corridor/4831/LCC10.HTM had some interesting stuff mostly about Atlas F sites with emphasis on Walker AFB's sites. In particular "A visit to Corinth West" then under "Enter the Silo" almost everything (the site is dead, try http://web.archive.org/web/20021007210759/http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Corridor/4831/LCC10.HTM).
A discussion of exploring some old silos, including pictures, is at http://www.roswell-online.com/environs/m_silos/silos.htm (except roswell-online died, try http://web.archive.org/web/20061229084043/http://www.roswell-online.com/environs/m_silos/silos.htm).
Two silos (which ones?) were bought by Strategic Data Services for data storage, see http://albuquerque.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2003/03/31/story3.html and http://www.abqjournal.com/biz/outlook/103568outlook10-30-03.htm (the article expired and they charge for archive access, so try http://web.archive.org/web/20031224232313/http://www.abqjournal.com/biz/outlook/103568outlook10-30-03.htm).
Scott Murdock drove by many of these sites in September 2006 and took photos, see: http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/cannon/cannon.html.
In September 2009, TV stations KOB and KRQE in Albuquerque produced two very short news stories about the New Mexico sites: http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/play/1100418/man_restores_piece_of_nm_s_cold_war_past and http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/play/1100608/cold_war_missile_silos_cleaned_up?wpid=103.
19 miles NE of Roswell New Mexico
|According to siloman, at http://www.siloworld.net/579thSMS/OPERATIONAL/SITE%201/accident__photos.htm, this site suffered an explosion and fire that destroyed the site. The accident occured June 1 1963. After a Propellant Loading Exercise (PLX) the liquid oxygen (LOX) was being drained back into the storage tank. For unclear reasons (two possibilities were mentioned) a fire started in a filter. This lead to an oxygen/steel fire which spread, caused the missile's skin to rupture, leading to an explosion. The resulting fire lasted 19 hours, and inspection was delayed several days due to heat. The silo doors were blown off and ended up around 50-75 away, and were later set back in place. The LCC was smoke damaged but intact. The site was never reactivated and there is a story the silo filled with water (a wonder in New Mexico) which was sold for irrigation for a while. Another article on this is at http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL2006/Sep06.pdf page 3.|
26.5 miles NE of Roswell New Mexico
(9 miles SW Elkins New Mexico)
According to siloman at
site 2 was destroyed when the missile exploded during a propellant
loading exercise (March 9 1964). He also states at
that debris from the explosion can still be found up to a mile from
the site, and that 6 workers were killed and 18 injured in a crane
accident during construction.
The site was almost sold via public auction for non-payment of back taxes ($170) in 2004 but the owner paid the taxes at the last minute and the property was withdrawn from auction.
The following description is courtesy of Lt.Col. Philip E. Moore, USAF, Retired, who posted it to the missile_talk list on yahoo. He was the DMCCC during the accident. Reproduced with his permission. All of the accidents had complicated details involving sequence of events, who did what, how the equipment reacted, amount of damage, punishment of those who screwed up, etc., etc. Here's a really shortened synopsis of the Site 2 accident my crew was involved in: We were the crew on duty at the Site, sent there to do a PLX (our crew needed a PLX evaluation to keep us "current" and we were being evaluated by a standboard crew). Site 2 was not our normal duty site, but if you could run one site you could run them all - LOL. When we got there the place was filthy and the PLX was delayed until the most significant hydrocarbon residues were cleaned up (safety issue - liquid oxygen [LOX] and hydrocarbons can become a dangerous, explosive mix). The place "sort of" got cleaned up and we were pressured to start the countdown. Near the end of the countdown's final commit sequence, the Missile Lift System is supposed to raise the missile on a huge elevator to ground level so it can get the Engine Start signal. About 3 feet out of the down position, the elevator stuck. We aborted the countdown. It was really stuck bad - it wouldn't go up or down. By the way, this site never was able to complete a good PLX because of the Missile Lift system - I'm told that General Dynamics "sold" it to the AF during the Cuban Crisis by stationing men in the silo with jumper cables to bypass safety devices. That may or may not be true. Anyway, there was a step in my checklist that said to open the Boiloff Valve to relieve pressure in the missile's LOX tank. The standboard crew commander told me to not do that step because there was an indication that there was an oxygen rich atmosphere in the silo and he wanted to send two crewmembers into the silo to measure how high the oxygen content was. All this delayed relieving the missile's LOX tank pressure to the point that it automatically relieved itself (it opened the Boiloff Valve) when the pressure got to the danger point. The problem with that was that the Boiloff Valve at this position now was pointed at the cable tensioner that was holding the elevator up. The instant cold of LOX spewing out of the Boiloff Valve froze the metal making it brittle, the weight of the missile and elevator cracked the frozen metal, and the missile and elevator crashed three feet down. The Atlas was a fragile missile that was held up either by pressurized nitrogen on standby or by its propellants during countdown. The "crash" caused the missile to buckle and split open the propellant tanks. Earlier I said that LOX and hydrocarbons don't mix. Well, the RP-1 fuel is a hydrocarbon, the two propellants mixed, the mixture got shocked by the missile falling on it, and the whole thing exploded. That's a basic description without some important details, but I think you get the picture. Who got punished? Nobody on our crew got punished (we were recording the countdown and it was clear to investigators that we would have not skipped the Boiloff Valve checklist step that started the events that led to the explosion). The standboard crew commander got fired and was transferred to some other base in some other non-missile job. The Squadron Commander got fired - mainly because the commander almost always bites the dust in SAC when something like this happens. Another article on this is at http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL2006/Sep06.pdf page 5.
34 miles NE of Roswell New Mexico
(1 mile SW Elkins New Mexico)
|Site 3 was an alternate command post. As of late November 2001, this site was for sale via Siloman's web site for $495,000. The color photo is from that sale. On April 11, 2008, it was suggested on missile_talk that this is currently owned by Siloman's wife.|
20 miles ENE of Roswell New Mexico
|December 22 2001 for sale by missilebases.com for $249,500. Apparently repossessed from the previous owner. On 4/6/2008 I noticed it was for sale on eBay for $723,550, item number 250233708451. This is one of Siloman's properties, there are many photos on his web site at http://www.siloworld.net/579thSMS/PRESENT%20DAY/SITE%204/RE-HAB/RE-HAB.HTM. It looks like there is a rural housing development next to the site.|
30 miles E of Roswell New Mexico
|According to siloman, at http://www.siloworld.net/579thSMS/OPERATIONAL/ARRIVAL.HTM, site 5 was destroyed February 13 1964. At http://www.siloworld.net/STORIES/ATLAS.htm is a detailed and fascinating account of the accident. The second photo above is supposedly of this site after the explosion. Another article on this is at http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL2006/Sep06.pdf page 4. Per a Scott Murdock photo, the gate is painted blue and has the letters "LE" attached, possibly the initials of the owner.|
30 miles SE of Roswell New Mexico
(12 miles E Hagerman New Mexico)
|The Albuquerque Journal reported a man was killed by falling into the silo November 5 2000, but nobody reported it until March of 2001. See http://web.archive.org/web/20030618085825/http://www.abqjournal.com/news/silo03-05-01.htm.|
24 miles SE Roswell New Mexico
(4 miles E Hagerman New Mexico)
|The silo is near the upper right just north of the two large tanks.|
28 miles SSE of Roswell New Mexico
(1.5 miles NE Lake Arthur New Mexico)
|Looks somewhat developed. At least the fence must be intact because vegetation inside is doing much better than outside. A pretty clear secondary enclosure (upper-right), I'm not sure what it is.|
29 miles W of Roswell New Mexico
(7 miles E Picacho New Mexico)
|Almost looks like somebody tried to grow crops just north of the site. #9 and #10 seem unusually close to each other (9 miles).|
20 miles W of Roswell New Mexico
|#9 and #10 seem unusually close to each other (9 miles). This seems to have been the site of a Y2K laser light show (see top of this section). The silo doors are open.|
16 miles N of Roswell New Mexico
|This one took a while to find, partly because the map I used was somewhat crude, and partly because it is unusually distant (2.7 miles) from the highway. According to http://www.terraform.org, "The Silo Project was founded in 1998 for the purpose of converting a [sic] Intercontinental Balistic Missile Base into an exclusive Feature Film Preservation Facility." No other parts of the web site can be accessed without an account and password. An earlier version of the web site, http://web.archive.org/web/19981206101750/www.terraform.org/x_page_1.htm, claimed it was a project to replicate conditions on Mars for research. An interesting detail is the address of 227 Twistflower Road, Roswell, New Mexico (http://web.archive.org/web/19990129003853/www.terraform.org/x_project.htm) although organizational data on the company, at http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/cgi-bin/prcdtl.cgi?1937283+CERF+LLC lists an address of 327 Twist Flower Road.|
25 miles N of Roswell New Mexico
? miles? of Roswell New Mexico
|Weapons Storage Area|