Grand Forks AFB Minuteman Missile Site Coordinates

Grand Forks Air Force Base, located in eastern North Dakota, initially had 150 Minuteman II missiles. These were in place by the end of 1966 and upgraded to Minuteman III between 1972 and 1973. In 1995 it was decided to retire the Grand Forks missiles; the last missile was pulled from its silo in June 1998. Destruction of silos and control facilities began in October 1999, as part of the reduction in arms from 1,000 land-based ICBMs to 500 land-based ICBMs (now 450 with Peacekeeper retired), per international treaties. See http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/pubs/may00/may00story15.htm (link died, try http://web.archive.org/web/20060501234813/http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/pubs/may00/may00story15.htm) which points out these were "harder" sites than previous ones that had been destroyed. The first Grand Forks silo destroyed was A-04 on October 6 1999, see http://www.af.mil/news/Oct1999/n19991015_991911.html (which is now a broken link, see instead http://web.archive.org/web/20020203042009/http://www.af.mil/news/Oct1999/n19991015_991911.html). The target completion date was November 2001 and in fact the last silo (H-22) was imploded August 24 2001 (the last US silo destroyed per the 1991 START treaty).

http://www.angelfire.com/tx/missile2 is a map of the area, from the book "Nuclear Heartland."

Sites O-0 (Oscar-zero, a Launch Control Facility) and N-33 were preserved as historic sites. There have been several articles in the past but they tend to disappear from the web. The history of this effort is:

More was written about preserving O-0 and N-33 in late 2006. The state historical society launched a campaign to raise one million dollars to turn these facilities into historical sites, and they faced a December 2007 deadline. Note that access to the Grand Forks Herald requires registration to view articles for the first 7 days, after that they charge money. They also like to re-arrange their web site which breaks links. However, the measure to allocate $250,000 failed to pass the ND House of Representatives. The historical society did not give up trying (February 10, 2007). In the March, 2008 issue of the AAFM Newsletter here, it is reported that the state of North Dakota took over the sites.

"ND nuclear past eclipses harbingers of doom" https://secure.forumcomm.com/?publisher_ID=1&article_id=223470 is apparently an article published 11/29/2008 about the preserved site(s) but they charge for access.

In the June 2009 issue of the AAFM Newsletter here, it is stated that Oscar Zero will open on August 1, 2009. In the September 2009 issue here it is announced that Oscar-Zero and N-33 are open (though the article claims N-39, it should read N-33), see http://www.oscarzero.com.

Scott Murdock toured the area, and Oscar Zero, in September of 2009. His trip report, including many good images, is here.

The Oscar Zero and November-33 sites are now named the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site, with a web page at http://history.nd.gov/historicsites/minutemanmissile/index.html.

Although Ellsworth AFB successfully test fired a missile from their N-2 launch facility (with 7 seconds of propellant) under the name "Long Life", one of the Grand Forks sites was to be used for "Long Life II" but the press called it "Long Laugh II" when it failed to launch after two attempts (October 19 1966, and October 28 1966). Nuclear Heartland calls the site "Fizzle Missile" (H-24). A third attempt called "Giant Boost" failed on August 14, 1968, and was called "Giant Bust" by the media. See:

Every GFAFB Launch Facility has a "secondary enclosure" attached to it, as in the example far left (D-31). It's believed this is called the "dipole field" or the Medium Frequency antenna field and provides communication to the LFs via a buried antenna, in addition to a Hardened Intersite Cable System (HICS) which is used alone in most other areas (i.e. sites that were built for Minuteman I). These also appear at Malmstrom's flights P through T which are their built-for-Minuteman-II ("Deuce") sites. Another difference is that the HICS wasn't as densely interconnected on Deuce sites compared to Boeing sites, but is supposed to be buried deeper. In the case of site F0 (second photo), soil conditions have deteriorated in a way that it appears to be possible to deduce some of the underground structure.


446th MS 447th MS 447th MS 448th MS 321st MW 321st SMW
(Patch images courtesy of USAFPatches.com)

The people: Grand Forks' Minuteman missiles were staffed by the 446th (flights A-E, activated July 1 1965, deactivated ???), 447th (flights F-J, activated February 1 1965, deactivated ???) and I'm not sure why there are two distinctly different emblems, and 448th (flights K-O, activated September 15 1965, deactivated ???) Missile Squadrons, all under the 321st Missile Wing (activated November 1 1964, deactivated ???). Other resources:

Each squadron is responsible for 5 flights of 10 missiles each, or 50 missiles. Sites are designated by flight, using one letter of the alphabet, followed by a number. The first site in each flight is #0 and designates the Missile Alert Facility (MAF) which consists of an above-ground structure plus an underground Launch Control Center (LCC) staffed by two officers. The Launch Facilities (LFs, i.e. missile silos) are numbered 1 through 10, 11 through 20, and so on up to 50. Numbering for LFs restarts at 1 for the next squadron. LFs are connected to the MAF/LCC by the Hardened Intersite Cable System (HICS) and medium frequency radio.

In more recent post-retirement imagery such as on Google, notice that all Missile Alert Facility sewage ponds have been reclaimed (filled, flattened, and presumably returned to the surrounding farm for cultivation). One exception is Oscar-0 which was preserved as a historic site.

For humor, I also include the nicknames given in Nuclear Heartland.


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48-49-17  98-30-48 A-0
"Criminal Intent"

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48-57-39  98-28-18 A-1
"Pierre Trudeau's"

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48-53-56  98-26-03 A-2
"Physicist's Dream"

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48-57-59  98-21-42 A-3
"Maple Leaf"

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48-53-39  98-19-40 A-4
"Leo Laukki"
Leo Laukki was a Finnish-American around 1910 who was a radical leftist, even suporting the idea of sabotage, which he later reversed.

Google Maps
48-49-49  98-22-06 A-5
"Selma Jokela McCone"
Another Finnish-American I think, but extremely obscure. I found one reference ""Three Proponents of Women's Rights in the Finnish-American Labor Movement from 1910-1930: Selma Jokela McCone, Maiju Nurmi and Helmi Mattson" written by Hilja Karvonen (1977) and apparently printed in "For the Common Good: Finnish Immigrants and the Radical Response to Industrial America" edited by Michael Karni and Douglas Ollila (1977), published by the Tyomies Society, Superior, Wisconsin (see http://list.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9602a&L=aejmc&F=&S=&P=2580) though the link is broken, try http://web.archive.org/web/20050827110305/http://list.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9602a&L=aejmc&F=&S=&P=2580.

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48-45-49  98-26-31 A-6
"Good Riddance"

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48-45-34  98-33-27 A-7
"Taavi Taino"
Taavi Taino was a central representative of Finnish Social Democracy in the early 20th century.

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48-58-35  98-43-11 A-8
"Knows No Boundaries"

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48-57-06  98-36-56 A-9
"Helmi Mattson"
Helmi Mattson was a Finnish-born author who lived in the USA, but the relevance to nuclear deterrence is unclear to me. For quite some time incorrect coordinates of 48-57-07 98-37-56 were listed here but on 4/25/2012 they were corrected.

Google Maps
48-53-37  98-33-07 A-10
"Babylon Falling Down"

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48-45-49  98-11-36 B-0
"Tax Payers'"

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48-54-29  98-08-20 B-11
"Frost-Fire"

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48-49-54  98-08-35 B-12
"Rude"

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48-49-02  98-00-25 B-13
"Damage Done"
Incorrect coordinates were listed until 4/25/2012 but it was a small error of 10 seconds longitude (15 instead of 25).

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48-45-48  98-05-08 B-14
"Anniversary Rock"

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48-43-38  97-58-59 B-15
"Time Bomb"

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48-41-50  98-08-28 B-16
"Puck's Breath"

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48-41-11  98-15-25 B-17
"The Big Lie"

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48-46-40  98-18-09 B-18
"Wild Thistle"

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48-50-10  98-15-31 B-19
"Potato Bud"

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48-56-50  98-15-04 B-20
"Bitter-Root"

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48-32-43  97-57-49 C-0
"Heart of Darkness"

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48-32-43  97-50-00 C-21
"Agassiz's Agony"

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48-29-32  97-43-43 C-22
"Prairie Kali"

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48-25-25  97-44-05 C-23
"Kissinger's Remorse"

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48-28-02  97-57-25 C-24
"Naked Lunch"

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48-24-15  98-00-38 C-25
"Mr. Kurtz"

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48-24-39  98-07-46 C-26
"Flower of Evil"

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48-29-16  98-05-51 C-27
"Ghost Dance"

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48-32-43  98-04-16 C-28
"Voices Catching Up"

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48-36-24  98-08-28 C-29
"Paradise Lost"

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48-39-15  98-02-00 C-30
"Mim's Roots"

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48-33-14  98-22-50 D-0
"Every Day's Fear"
About 2.7 miles NNE of D-0 is the Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard Complex which was the only deployed Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) site in the US (until after 2003 when new ABM missiles were installed in Fort Greely, Alaska). Click on the color photo for more details on ABM systems and this facility in particular.

Google Maps
48-42-32  98-21-30 D-31
"Just War"

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48-38-06  98-21-31 D-32
"A.B. Makela"

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48-35-46  98-16-18 D-33
"Scoundrel's Last Refuge"

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48-28-58  98-12-22 D-34
"Temporary Madness"

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48-29-17  98-19-15 D-35
"Reality of Power"

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48-24-55  98-18-21 D-36
"Antero Tanner"

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48-28-30  98-26-43 D-37
"Gravy Sucking"

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48-38-00  98-35-50 D-38
"Blind Patriotism"

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48-37-09  98-28-25 D-39
"Prairie Ransom"

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48-41-37  98-30-37 D-40
"Martin Hendrickson"

Google Maps
48-29-01  98-41-46 E-0
"Chains of Command"
A blogger named Julie, who lives near E-0, has written a nice entry on her memories of E-0 and the current condition of the MAF. See http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm and scroll down to 11.22.2006 which also includes a very nice entry on the Mickelsen Safeguard Complex. (Now (11/2007) it appears to have scrolled away, but click on the "Military" link at the bottom). Okay, I checked again in early 2010 and her web site has been re-arranged, try this: http://www.loneprairie.net/2006/11/echo-0.

Google Maps
48-33-49  98-38-51 E-41
"Burning Earth"

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48-32-57  98-30-36 E-42
"Broken Promise"

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48-29-17  98-35-15 E-43
"Trail of Tears"

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48-24-33  98-37-11 E-44
"Poison Payload"

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48-24-41  98-43-15 E-45
"Jackboot"

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48-24-42  98-49-45 E-46
"Peace School"

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48-27-19  98-56-07 E-47
"Banal"

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48-29-02  98-49-36 E-48
"Hide the Sun"

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48-33-13  98-52-46 E-49
"Alone with Fear"

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48-32-46  98-45-38 E-50
"Machine Money"

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48-17-27  98-13-52 F-0
"Forbidden Orders"

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48-22-18  98-13-25 F-1
"Planetary Slaughterhouse"

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48-18-46  98-05-23 F-2
"Disarming D. Fields"

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48-18-31  97-58-55 F-3
"Nuclear Winter"

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48-18-32  97-52-18 F-4
"Dakota's Denial"

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48-13-07  97-51-49 F-5
"Fearful Folly"

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48-14-40  98-07-23 F-6
"Forest River"

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48-13-35  98-18-02 F-7
"Brocket's Rocket"

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48-16-47  98-22-33 F-8
"Megadeath"

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48-21-58  98-32-00 F-9
"Nuclear Wheat"

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48-21-47  98-23-07 F-10
"The End"

Google Maps
48-09-13  97-52-05 G-0
"Karma"

Google Maps
48-20-46  97-45-19 G-11
"Spirit of Poison"

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48-21-23  97-38-50 G-12
"Prairie Puzzle"

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48-16-47  97-43-38 G-13
"Farm Crisis"
Looks like a farmhouse shares the driveway.

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48-17-20  97-37-01 G-14
"Breadbasket"
Long driveway.

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48-12-54  97-37-09 G-15
"Soo Line"
The Soo Line is the name of a railroad, and their tracks run through the area to the north of G-15.

Google Maps
48-07-54  97-38-26 G-16
"Blackout"

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48-00-28  97-48-53 G-17
"Turtle River"

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48-04-33  97-51-27 G-18
"Eisenhower's Sorrow"

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48-00-11  97-54-49 G-19
"Thumbing a Ride"

Google Maps
48-09-48  97-58-25 G-20
"Rachel Wept"

Google Maps
48-05-46  98-06-58 H-0
"Unfunny"

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48-09-49  98-05-01 H-21
"Cancer Cavities"

Google Maps
48-05-09  97-59-13 H-22
"TV Tower"

Google Maps
48-01-49  98-03-05 H-23
"Winds of Hades"

Google Maps
47-57-35  98-05-16 H-24
"Fizzle"
"Fizzle Missile" was the site of an attempted demonstration launch in August 1968 under the code name "Giant Boost". It was re-labeled "Giant Bust" by the press when the attempt failed. This is the same site where attempts were made on October 19 and October 28 1966 under the code name "Long Life II" which also failed and was dubbed "Long Laugh II".

Google Maps
48-01-07  98-09-51 H-25
"Broken Lid"

Google Maps
47-57-34  98-14-39 H-26
"Gopher"

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48-04-36  98-13-26 H-27
"Jammed Hatch"

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48-04-36  98-20-21 H-28
"Scrambled Radar"

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48-09-14  98-18-07 H-29
"Loken"

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48-10-57  98-13-07 H-30
"Freeze"

Google Maps
47-50-54  98-17-53 I-0
"Susie-Lee-Mary 2"

Google Maps
47-56-37  97-59-12 I-31
"Daddy Warbucks"

Google Maps
47-56-20  97-52-44 I-32
"County Line"

Google Maps
47-53-15  98-03-02 I-33
"Old Barb"
One of the rare cases of Nuclear Heartland getting their directions wrong. They list it east of highway 32, it's actually to the west.

Google Maps
47-54-23  97-47-09 I-34
"Peaceless"

Google Maps
47-50-02  98-09-28 I-35
"McMissile"
McMissile because it's near a town named McVille.

Google Maps
47-46-18  98-24-03 I-36
"Sheyenne River"

Google Maps
47-41-58  98-34-40 I-37
"Eddy County"

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47-44-31  98-30-55 I-38
"Friendly Farm"

Google Maps
47-49-47  98-29-56 I-39
"Tons of Turkeys"

Google Maps
47-55-27  98-20-13 I-40
"Stump Lake"

Google Maps
48-09-14  98-27-03 J-0
"Beatrice"

Google Maps
48-13-34  98-27-03 J-41
"Ophelia"

Google Maps
48-04-05  98-26-49 J-42
"Titania"
A clear example of a road dead-ending at a site.

Google Maps
47-59-09  98-31-20 J-43
"Perdita"

Google Maps
48-02-31  98-35-31 J-44
"Cleopatra"

Google Maps
48-07-45  98-33-19 J-45
"Desdemona"

Google Maps
48-06-21  98-39-48 J-46
"Cordelia"
A non-straight driveway, possibly due to terrain.

Google Maps
48-11-01  98-39-25 J-47
"Katherina"

Google Maps
48-12-42  98-33-18 J-48
"Rosalind"

Google Maps
48-17-54  98-36-14 J-49
"Miranda"

Google Maps
48-17-55  98-28-43 J-50
"Olivia"

Google Maps
47-37-00  97-42-16 K-0
"Charon's Ferry"

Google Maps
47-41-05  97-39-53 K-1
"Wish it Away"

Google Maps
47-34-27  97-47-22 K-2
"Vishnhu's Heater"

Google Maps
47-39-25  97-52-37 K-3
"Valkyrie Roulette"
In the USGS photo the area to the west of the LF was taken at a different time and the two photos merged. This is fairly common but in this case it was interesting because of the pattern of plowing on the west (9/25/1997) that is completely absent to the east (9/9/1997). This suggests harvesting occured between those two dates.

Google Maps
47-43-41  97-54-50 K-4
"Attila's Fantasy"

Google Maps
47-48-25  97-59-34 K-5
"Prairie's Bane"

Google Maps
47-41-04  97-46-13 K-6
"Golgotha"

Google Maps
47-52-22  97-56-59 K-7
"Caspar W.'s Ghost"

Google Maps
47-45-41  97-49-26 K-8
"Fruit of Acedia"

Google Maps
47-49-13  97-45-00 K-9
"Harry Truman's"

Google Maps
47-44-48  97-43-04 K-10
"Maginot's Folly"

Google Maps
47-20-03  97-56-25 L-0
"Savage Lagoon"

Google Maps
47-28-57  97-47-54 L-11
"A Fine and Private Place"

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47-31-23  97-42-17 L-12
"Cancer"

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47-23-45  97-49-25 L-13
"Peace Garden State"

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47-26-10  97-43-35 L-14
"Wylie"

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47-28-43  97-37-33 L-15
"Dumbfounded"

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47-19-41  97-49-42 L-16
"Prairie Rose"

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47-15-25  97-47-40 L-17
"Easy Come, Easy Go"

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47-15-34  97-54-02 L-18
"Shirley"
The nickname is cute, since a nearby town is called Luverne.

Google Maps
47-10-49  97-53-36 L-19
"C'est Fini"

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47-24-56  97-58-03 L-20
"All Mine"

Google Maps
47-16-17  97-41-18 M-0
"Nervous Energy"

Google Maps
46-59-06  97-33-17 M-21
"J. Denby Mercenary"

Google Maps
47-12-00  97-40-55 M-22
"Prairie Road"
At http://www.clui.org/newsletter/fall-2000/disarming-dakotas there is an article about the demolition of North Dakota silos and M-22 in particular. However, the "before" photo is not of a Minuteman silo, but rather is of the Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard Complex's Spartan missile field (see D-0, above).

Google Maps
47-00-35  97-41-21 M-23
"Homestead"

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46-56-12  97-41-54 M-24
"Tower View"
Near Tower City, hence the name.

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46-58-06  97-47-03 M-25
"Burning Sage"

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47-02-20  97-47-38 M-26
"Meadowlark"

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47-05-49  97-47-50 M-27
"Messier's"

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47-02-21  97-53-35 M-28
"Golden Wheat"

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47-11-15  97-47-40 M-29
"Disarmingly Simple"

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47-06-28  97-55-26 M-30
"Eric's"

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47-13-24  98-11-32 N-0
"Nuke Ourselves"

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47-37-05  98-03-59 N-31
"Valley View"

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47-22-20  98-06-40 N-32
"Airport"

Google Maps
47-26-24  98-03-58 N-33
"Consumption"
N-33 was preserved, see notes at the top of this page.

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47-35-04  97-58-12 N-34
"Stupifaction"

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47-30-32  97-58-01 N-35
"Big Gold"

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47-17-33  98-04-13 N-36
"Life Out of Balance"
See also Warren L-9, "Koyaanisqatsi", which is a Hopi Indian word meaning "Life Out of Balance."

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47-13-22  98-02-20 N-37
"Summitry"

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47-26-25  98-18-07 N-38
"Busy Acres"

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47-21-50  98-13-27 N-39
"Abominator"

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47-26-26  98-11-38 N-40
"Hazard"

Google Maps
47-29-51  98-07-36 O-0
"Double Aught"
O-0 (Oscar-zero) was preserved as a historic site, see notes at top of this page.

Google Maps
47-45-25  98-07-29 O-41
"Mintone"

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47-41-06  98-06-02 O-42
"West Marshland"

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47-43-59  98-01-40 O-43
"Barizoni's Watch"

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47-39-25  97-58-45 O-44
"Gray Mourning"

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47-35-06  98-14-49 O-45
"Out of Mind"

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47-38-35  98-18-44 O-46
"Rock Pile"

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47-43-42  98-19-10 O-47
"Six Bin"

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47-42-22  98-13-03 O-48
"Mystery"

Google Maps
47-38-21  98-10-47 O-49
"Shelterbelt"

Google Maps
47-34-08  98-08-15 O-50
"Ottawa Church"

Google Maps
47-56-47  97-22-42 T-21
I received email with a very nice description of this area: "The LF trainer at GFAFB was designated T-21. It was destroyed as part of the treaty. We commonly referred to it as the TLF (training launch facility). It contained a mock up of basically what the silo looked inside with a few modifications. The missile in the silo was cosmetically correct, except it was made from concrete. The upper parts of the missle (R/S (reentry system), MGS (missile guidance set), and PSRE (propulsion system rocket engine)) were not concrete. They looked like they should have, except, of course, they were fake and designated for training only or inert.

Just south, south west of the TLF in the [USGS] picture was the Missile Group's maintenance building. It contained all of the dispatching teams and support shops. The building to the west of the maintenance building was the vehicle dispatch building. You can see two long white vans in the picture to the north. These, more than likely, were the PT (payload transporters) vans. These vans transported the R/S, MGS, and PSRE to missile sites.

Just west of the TLF by the shadows of the water tower was the training building. Here they trained different career fields on missile maintenance. This building also held a traininer designated T-19. This was a basically a diesel engine, air conditioning trainer.

To the far west (upper left) is a block building. This housed all of the Operations Group side of the house. Capsule crews, and their support stuff was in this building. "

The WSA is just south of the TLF (see below). Just a humorous side-note, look at the shadows from the water tower. There are two, the USGS photographed the left side in the morning and the right side in the afternoon, the splice runs almost directly through the tower.


Google Maps
47-56-22  97-22-35 WSA
The Weapons Storage Area (WSA). It's immediately south of the Minuteman training LF (see above).