Titan: A person or thing of enormous size or power (Random House dictionary).
Initially known simply as Titan. Also known as WS 107A-2 (Atlas was WS 107A-1) and WS 107B. The airframe was designated SM-68; I've also seen references as B-68 and HGM-25A and LGM-25A. Unlike Atlas, this was a true two-stage missile. The same propellants were used (RP-1 and liquid oxygen). They were deployed in sites with 3 missiles and an adjacent underground control center, and had to be lifted out of their silo to be launched. The missiles were built near Denver by the Martin company, which later became Martin Marietta, and now Lockheed Martin.
Titan I never was used as a launch vehicle after serving as a missile. It almost did with the Dynasoar space plane, which never flew, though several other launch vehicles were also considered at various times. See http://www.astronautix.com/craft/dynasoar.htm for a discussion of Dynasoar. Instead, these missiles were shipped to Mira Loma AFS and later destroyed. See Rusty Barton's web site, http://www.geocities.com/titan_1_missile/chronology.htm (link died, try http://web.archive.org/web/20070325085848/http://www.geocities.com/titan_1_missile/chronology.htm) for more details and photos. A Titan I second stage was used as a target for a "Star Wars" test in 1985.
A very readable short history of Titan I is at the beginning of "Titan II: A History of a Cold War Missile Program" by David K. Stumpf (2000). Titan I was primarily a parallel development with Atlas though it came a little later and used very "hard" sites. Titan I sites have been described as having been designed by engineers who had no regard for the taxpayer's money. Some diagrams were at http://www.missilebases.com/titan1/titanplans.htm but they have disappeared, see http://web.archive.org/web/20080705052816/http://www.missilebases.com/titan1/titanplans.htm#. See also http://www.missilebases.com/#!titan-i/c1ypw and http://globalsecurity.org/military/facility/images/lowry-0700-14A.gif and this diagram which resembles the diagram above but in fact is a different drawing.
A 15-minute documentary film "Time of the Titan" is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1VBMD8Paxo.
A short history with photos is at http://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/icbm/sm-68.htm.
A chronology is at http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/titan.htm.
A longer history, up to the last generations of Titans, is at http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/titan.htm.
A brief history and specs: http://strategic-air-command.com/missiles/Titan/Titan_Missile_Home_Page.htm.
Another missile fan's web site: http://www.geocities.com/titan_1_missile which unfortuantely is gone, but archive.org has a partial archive, try http://web.archive.org/web/20041204151207/www.geocities.com/titan_1_missile/.
A list of Titan launches: http://host.planet4589.org/space/lvdb/launch/Titan.
Many details and photos, in this case Beale site 1, that provide information common to all Titan I sites: http://www.titani-a.org/index.html except the link died, so try our good friends at archive.org: http://web.archive.org/web/20050204144852/http://titani-a.org/index.html.
A tour of an old Titan I site, done by anonymous trespassers: http://triggur.org/silo/silo.html.
Of course Wikipedia has an entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_I
http://www.308smw.com/files/AN_TPS-39_tipsie_manual.pdf is a manual on the AN/TPS-39 surveillance system which was nicknamed "Tipsie".
A web site about Titan I with some very nice photos: http://www.chromehooves.net, be sure to click on the very faint "LAUNCH" at the bottom of the initial web page.
An exploration of a Titan I site: http://www.terrastories.com/bearings/titan-missile-history.
A July, 1962, article in Popular Science magazine: http://www.popsci.com/archive-viewer?id=IiEDAAAAMBAJ&pg=35 starts on page 35.
Kimball Nebraska had a Titan I on display. It can be seen in a photo in Nuclear Heartland dated April 5 1988. I understand the upper stage was damaged by high winds around 1996 or 1997, only the first stage remains on display. Last I looked, the lights are still aimed far above, at where the complete missile used to be. The closest operational Titans were the Titan Is near Denver, at least 110 miles away. Fred Epler informed me that this is serial number 60-3706, an operational J series that was assigned to Larson AFB, site 568-1.
Fred Epler posted a list to the missile_talk group (2/11/2003) of Titan I missiles that are or were on display, and other folks have refined the list. As the years go by, more and more of these disappear.
A launch sequence timeline was posted to the missile_talk group by Fred Epler around November 23 2005. Some of the times are quite impressive, such as 47 seconds to open the silo doors.
For a Titan I countdown the clocks started at T-900 seconds (T-15:00 minutes). The missile usually had the fuel (RP-1) already onboard. LOX loading started at T-850 (T-14:10). LOX loaded at T-281 (T-4:41). Antennas were raised at T-279 (T-4:39). Raise launcher sequence also started at T-279. South half of silo doors starts to open at T-235 (T-3:55). North half of door starts to open at T-214 (T-3:34), South door at 30 degrees. Total door opening time was 47 seconds, it was rarely done in this time due to malfunctions. Launcher starts to raise at T-185 (T-3:05). Launcher fully raissed at T-70 (T-1:10). Launcher raising takes 1.9 minutes (115 seconds) to complete. Launcher up and locked at T-55 (T-0:55). Guidance lock at T-25. Engines fire at T-0. Bolts fire at T+4 and missile lifts off at T+7. Second launcher ready to raise at T+170. End of guidance at approximately T+321 (T+5:35). Source: various Titan I T.O.'s and operational histories.
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. It had almost completed a space shuttle launch facility when the Challenger accident occurred, causing the air force to rethink launch methods and abandon shuttle launches. For Titan I, they had the Operational Suitability Test Facility (OSTF) and a "normal" Titan I site consisting of three silos. Collectively the latter were known as TF-1, or launch complex 395-A, B, and C (Stumpf, caption on photo, page 23) or perhaps TF-I and simply 395A-1, -2, and -3 (Stumpf page 26). The former, if correct, is unfortunate because the three Titan II facilities were called 395-B, C, and D. The OSTF was blown up in an accident December 3 1960 and damaged beyond repair. See http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Vandenberg_AFB.htm.
17 miles SW Santa Maria California
|Color photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.|
17 miles SW Santa Maria California
|Operational Suitability Test Facility for Titan I. This site was destroyed on December 3 1960 when the elevator failed while lowering a fully-fueled missile back into the silo. See http://www.afmissileers.com/newsletters/NL1996/Jan96.pdf page 6, as well as Stumpf's book for detailed descriptions. The silo was at the far left of the image.|
Beale Air Force Base is about 15 miles east of Yuba City in northern California (or about 40 miles NNE of Sacramento). Beale had 9 Titan I missiles, meaning three 3-missile sites.
(Patch images courtesy of strategic-air-command.com and USAFPatches.com respectively).
The people: Sites were manned by the 851st SMS which was activated February 1 1961, became operationally ready September 8 1962, and was inactivated March 25 1965. The 851st was under the 456th Strategic Aerospace Wing (SAW; see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0456bw.htm).
26 miles SE Yuba City California
(3 miles SE Lincoln California)
|http://www.titani-a.org/index.html (except the link died, so try our good friends at archive.org: http://web.archive.org/web/20050204144852/http://titani-a.org/index.html) discusses environmental remediation of the site. This site appears to belong to the Placer County road division. The 1993 USGS photo (as well as the Google Earth image) show a skeet shooting range which has been retired. In http://www.placer.ca.gov/upload/bos/cob/documents/sumarchv/2008Archive/080610A/2008JUN10_001.htm "Lincoln Missile Site Shooting Ranges – Authorized the Director of Facility Services to complete negotiations for an agreement with Kleinfelder West, Inc., in the amount not to exceed $42,500.00, to provide additional environmental site assessments at the former shooting ranges near Lincoln, CA." This in turn links to the actual memorandum, at http://www.placer.ca.gov/upload/bos/cob/documents/sumarchv/2008Archive/080610A/bosd_080610_22f__p233_p234.pdf which states the site was acquired in 1968 by Placer County which used it as a corporation yard, a trap and skeet shooting club, and as a pistol shooting range. The corporation yard is still in use.|
15 miles NW Yuba City California
(9 miles W Live Oak)
|This site is very tidy and undeveloped. The access road is marked "Private Road" where it joins North Butte Road.|
49 miles NNW Yuba City California
(5 miles NW Chico California)
|I might be mistaken, but in the USGS photo it it almost looks like the silo doors are open, though the later Google Maps photo shows them closed. "On May 24, 1962, during a contractor checkout, a terrific blast rocked launcher 1 at complex 4C at Chico, destroying a Titan I and causing heavy damage to the silo. After the investigation, the Air Force concluded that the two separate explosions occurred because of a blocked vent and blocked valve. On June 6, trouble again struck as a flash fire at another silo killed a worker. Subsequently, Peter Kiewit Sons' Company received a contract signed on July 30, 1962, for an initial amount of $1,250,000 to repair the silo damaged in the May blast." (from "To Defend and Deter: Legacy of the United States Cold War Missile Program", see http://www.denix.osd.mil/cr/upload/94-1264-LEGACY-US-COLD-WAR-MISSLE-PROGRAM_0.PDF but be aware it is 607 pages, 36 megabytes; I also kept a different 70-megabyte copy in case the above goes away like most links seem to do: http://w3.uwyo.edu/~jimkirk/missile/1996-11-01952.pdf). Fred Epler emailed me with the fact the destroyed missile was serial number 60-3696. This is on Missile Rose Road and appears to have a home and pond and an impressive gate at the junction with Keefer Road. The access portal appears to be open, and a secondary access road leads to Cohasset Road and an apparent rock quarry at the southwest corner of the site. On Google Earth, the very north part of the property is tagged Thomasson Livestock. A nice photo essay of this site is at http://amyheiden.com/titan1-beale-851c.|
10 miles E Yuba City California
|This looks like the Weapons Storage Area (WSA) for Beale Air Force Base.|
Larson Air Force Base (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Larson_AFB.htm) was located about 10 miles NW of Moses Lake, Washington. Closed in 1966, it's now Grant County International Airport.
(Patch images courtesy of strategic-air-command.com)
The people: The Larson Titan I complex was manned by the 568th SMS which was activated April 1 1961, became operationally ready September 28 1962, and was inactivated March 25 1965. The 568th was under the 462nd SAW (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0462sw.htm).
22 miles ENE Moses Lake Washington
(11.7 miles SW Odessa Washington)
(3 miles S Batum Washington)
(link broken, see
this is apparently FUDS property number F10WA0349, Adams county, with
$193,000 spent in cleanup costs and $676,000 to complete.
An article by Kristin Alexander was published in the
Tri-City Herald, dated March 22, 1998, which gives an
interesting history of all three local Titan I sites,
(link dead, try
She reports that there have been several deaths.
An article appeared in the Tri-City Herald,
(link dead, try
which discusses the purchase of this site by Bari Hotchkiss who hopes
to do a $15 million fixup, mostly with donations.
He had a web site at
http://www.camptitan.com but I noticed on 3/21/2003 it's gone.
However, archive.org has an old
copy minus graphics, see
On October 16 2003 I discovered this site is for sale on eBay, item
number 2353756090 with a price of $3,950,000.
It was also pointed out to me that the powerhouse roof has
been cut open, if Siloman's photos at
are indeed of that site.
March 24 2004, the Oregonian newspaper had an article, see
(that link no longer works)
which verifies the hole in the powerhouse roof.
On March 27 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer picked up the story,
October 1, 2004, I noticed he's now leasing space in the site
starting at $350 per month, eBay item 4326558652.
January 21, 2005, for sale again on eBay, item 4351448564, this time
for only $500,000; March 29, 2005, the eBay sale is gone.
April 12 2006 for sale again on eBay, item 4455060285.
May 11 2006, sold for $778,080.02 to "wolvie2121" though
eBay sales are not binding because eBay is not a licensed real estate
(Via feedback, Bari complained the buyer never intended to purchase
the site, and wolvie2121 claimed "thought the auction was a joke and
told seller this.").
On July 15, 2007, it showed up again on eBay as item number 190132455924;
the advertised price is $1,500,000 with $300,000 down payment.
On November 19, 2007, I noticed it was on eBay again as item 190162956846.
On January 16, 2008, it was eBay item 190189655473, renting/leasing space.
Scott Murdock drove by July 5, 2008, and took a few photos; see
A "hacker conference" called ToorCon (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toorcon and http://www.toorcon.org) is planning a camp here in July 2009, see http://www.toorcamp.org and http://wiki.toorcamp.org/wiki/Main_Page. Some nice interior photos are included.
In January 2016 I found out Bari Hotchkiss is offering guided tours, see http://www.themissilebase.com, and the site is still for sale/lease. Scott Murdock took the tour (and lots of pictures), see http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/titan/titan.html and scroll down to Saturday, 17 Oct 2015.
Bari's daughter (Ehren) has videos on Youtube about the site, see https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsWgj3rL9tq3o_3nK7dn2KZEISjujtacf.
17 miles SE Moses Lake Washington
(3 miles S Warden Washington)
|At http://www.gao.gov/GAO-01-1012SP/WA.html (link broken, see http://web.archive.org/web/20030628052919/http://www.gao.gov/GAO-01-1012SP/WA.html) this is apparently FUDS property number F10WA0350, Grant county, with no money spent on cleanup and no completion cost listed. There's an EPA web page at http://cfpub.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=1002314 (link dead, try https://web.archive.org/web/20030917162407/http://cfpub.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=1002314) that lists the EPA ID as WAN001002314. Scott Murdock drove by on July 5, 2008, and took some photos; see http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/orewash/orewash.html; apparently the silo doors are open. The more-recent image on Google Earth shows what may be a house and barn, and it looks like the silos are covered but two of them have the doors raised.|
26 miles SW Moses Lake Washington
(23 miles SSE Quincy Washington)
(5.9 miles W of Royal City Washington)
|Pretty busy and junky looking. The 1991 topo map says "U S Mil Res". At http://www.gao.gov/GAO-01-1012SP/WA.html (link broken, see http://web.archive.org/web/20030628052919/http://www.gao.gov/GAO-01-1012SP/WA.html) this is apparently FUDS property number F10WA0351, Grant county, with $7,000 spent on cleanup and no completion cost listed. Google Maps tags this as "Randy Allred Shop". The site is mostly under water and an interesting scuba diving adventure, according to an article at http://www.northwestdiver.com/features/2003/0120-1.php but the article is not there any more, try http://web.archive.org/web/20041018235810/http://www.northwestdiver.com/features/2003/0120-1.php instead. In 2011 UnderSea Adventures advertises dives here, see http://www.underseaadventures.net/silo.htm which includes a link to a 22-minute video. Scott Murdock drove by on July 5, 2008, and took a few photos; see http://www.airforcebase.net/trips/orewash/orewash.html. A more recent (September 7, 2014) dive video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS45uvOvgic&feature=youtu.be.|
Mountain Home Air Force Base (see also http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Mountain_Home_AFB.htm) is located about 10 miles west of Mountain Home, Idaho.
(Patch image courtesy of sacpatches.com, which is now gone)
The people: The Titan I complex was manned by the 569th SMS which was activated June 1 1961, became operationally ready August 16 1962, and inactivated June 25 1965. The 569th was under the 9th SAW (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0009bw.htm).
A very artistic photo of a Titan I site near Mountain Home, by Emmet Gowin, is at https://web.archive.org/web/20040130062705/http://126.96.36.199/junohome/emmet%20gowin/emmet%20photo/121.jpg; a higher-resolution copy is at http://www.faif.ch/en/artists.htm?id=176. It appears to be #3 (569-C) and is described as being taken in 1987 which would be after abandonment.
There apparently was a loss of a missile somewhere in Mountain Home. In the January 1994 issue of the AAFM newsletter, http://www.afmissileers.com/newsletters/NL1994/Jan94.pdf, page 5, an incident is described where a helium quick-disconnect did not disconnect, resulting in a ripped-open missile complete with liquid oxygen spill. Although that article does not mention Mountain Home, a later AAFM article references this issue and does state it happened here.
|Mountain Home||42-40-12 115-52-05|
33 miles SSW Mountain Home Idaho
(15 miles SSW Bruneau Idaho)
|Looks partially obliterated (no silo lids visible). Appropriately, on Missile Base Road (per 1980 topo map and Google Earth). April 11 2005, "sdilogger" stated on the missile_talk group that this site is now filled with dirt and buried.|
|Mountain Home||43-03-59 116-15-52|
30 miles W Mountain Home Idaho
(6 miles E Oreana Idaho)
|Very impressively developed (and photographed, in 1998). At http://www.siloworld.net/MISC-4/DUMPSITE.HTM siloman states it's a toxic dump site and the topo map states the same thing. On Missile Base Road per Google Earth (though a later recheck did not show any name, and still later it's called Lemly Road). This is the US Ecology Idaho site, part of American Ecology, per their web page at https://www.usecology.com/Locations/All-Locations/US-Ecology-Idaho.aspx.|
|Mountain Home||43-20-46 115-59-36|
21 miles NW Mountain Home Idaho
21 miles SE Boise Idaho
|Looks fairly busy on Google Earth.|
Lowry Air Force Base was located in Denver Colorado but closed in 1996.
They had 18 Titan I missiles in 6 sites.
Some sites were found via hazardous-waste web sites that used
unfamiliar notation such as site 1 complex 1A, site 1 complex 1B,
and I use these below.
Later I found a map with more traditional notations which is actually from
the book "From Snark to Peacekeeper."
However, this map (like the Lincoln map) has a few errors and I believe
the list below is correct (I will indicate the book's designations as
I was also surprised to find sites so close to
Denver (practically in the suburbs to the east), so close to each other,
and so close to their support base.
The state of Colorado, department of public health and environment,
published a 2-page summary of Colorado Titan I sites and their health risks, at
which is now at
and a summary of Elizabeth's site (725-C) at
(link died, try
instead) though it is rather old compared to the first link and much of
the information in the old pdf file is now incorporated into the
newer web page.
I know of three fatal accidents during construction of Lowry sites.
In one, two workers were racing each other down the spiral staircase
into the site; as one of them
went through the 1500-pound revolving door, the other tripped on the last
step, fell head-first, and was decapitated by the door.
In a second accident, a worker started to "bleed" the hydraulic
system for the silo lid doors before both doors had fully opened, causing
one door to fall on several people, also killing an Air Force man on the
surface. In a third accident, at the Elizabeth site, workers tried to
jump a gap in work platforms at the top of a silo (with no safety net);
one of them made it safely and turned around to see the second worker falling
head-first 130 feet to his death. All of these astound me in the context
of more modern safety awareness. These accidents were discussed in detail
on the missile_talk mail list around February 18/19 2003.
(Patch image courtesy of USAFPatches.com)
Part of Lowry AFB was preserved as the nucleus of the Wings Over the Rockies
Air and Space Museum, see
Lowry also had an RV mate/demate trainer, Fred Epler explains "[it] was located at the R/V facility on the Southern-most part of the base. The trainer was a concrete pad with the top 7.6 feet of the 2nd stage, with about 3 of it below the pad. After the Titan wing deactivated the facility was used for munitions training till Lowry closed in 94. Sometime in the late 60's a stray dog made the trainer its home." There was also a "silo trainer" used by the crane operators until an actual site became available. It was located behind the MAMS on one of the taxiways. An outline of the silo was painted and the concrete and the doors were simulated by the wooden frames. After the sites became operational site 725-A was used for training. This site was 26 miles from the base and the route to it went by 3 other sites.
Lowry Air Force Base was located in Denver Colorado but closed in 1996. They had 18 Titan I missiles in 6 sites. Some sites were found via hazardous-waste web sites that used unfamiliar notation such as site 1 complex 1A, site 1 complex 1B, and I use these below. Later I found a map with more traditional notations which is actually from the book "From Snark to Peacekeeper." However, this map (like the Lincoln map) has a few errors and I believe the list below is correct (I will indicate the book's designations as "Snark"). I was also surprised to find sites so close to Denver (practically in the suburbs to the east), so close to each other, and so close to their support base.
The state of Colorado, department of public health and environment, published a 2-page summary of Colorado Titan I sites and their health risks, at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/titanmissiles.htm which is now at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/titan-1-missile-complexes and a summary of Elizabeth's site (725-C) at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/titanmissiles2.pdf (link died, try http://web.archive.org/web/20070204023913/http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/titanmissiles2.pdf instead) though it is rather old compared to the first link and much of the information in the old pdf file is now incorporated into the newer web page.
I know of three fatal accidents during construction of Lowry sites. In one, two workers were racing each other down the spiral staircase into the site; as one of them went through the 1500-pound revolving door, the other tripped on the last step, fell head-first, and was decapitated by the door. In a second accident, a worker started to "bleed" the hydraulic system for the silo lid doors before both doors had fully opened, causing one door to fall on several people, also killing an Air Force man on the surface. In a third accident, at the Elizabeth site, workers tried to jump a gap in work platforms at the top of a silo (with no safety net); one of them made it safely and turned around to see the second worker falling head-first 130 feet to his death. All of these astound me in the context of more modern safety awareness. These accidents were discussed in detail on the missile_talk mail list around February 18/19 2003.
(Patch image courtesy of USAFPatches.com)
Part of Lowry AFB was preserved as the nucleus of the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, see http://www.wingsmuseum.org.
13 miles SE Denver Colorado
|Site 1 Complex 1A|
|The 7.5-minute topo map (July 1994) does show the site with a nearby benchmark labeled "Buckley RM2 BM 5814" while the 30-minute map (July 1981) simply shows the road. I drove by 5/19/2002, gate locked, no view, poor view from East Quincy Avenue a little to the west. Though the sign says Running Creek Ranch the missile site is owned by the city and county of Denver, perhaps the ranch just uses the access road and some of the surrounding land. Jeramie Chlumsky sent me a Word document containing a phase one assessment from the army corps of engineers, here. On June 18 2003, the Rocky Mountain News published an article stating the site had been rezoned to allow the nearby Denver Arapahoe Dispsal Site to expand onto the site. They apparently intend to fill the silos with dirt (not trash), or simply work around the missile complex itself. The article was at http://rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_2047743,00.html but has expired, and they charge to access their archives (additionally, they ceased publication February 27, 2009); a copy is at http://web.archive.org...www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_2047743,00.html.|
19 miles SE Denver Colorado
|Site 1 Complex 1B|
|Shows up on the 7.5-minute topo map (July 1994) but not the 30-minute map (July 1981). Lots of other interesting-looking structures in the area, such as a large and nearly circular thing to the north-west (USGS photo; Google Maps which has become obscured over the years and is now intersected by a pipeline of some sort). I drove by 5/19/2002, could not get close to the site or the circular mystery. On South Imboden Road according to Google Earth (though more recently it has no name). There is also some confusion over whether East Quincy changes name and becomes Airline Road going east. The State Land Board owns the property. 2/22/2006 update: According to Scott D. Murdock's trip report "Wyoming Weekends" this cirular item is near a former Ground Wave Emergency Network (GWEN) relay node site, specifically the Watkins Communications Site GWEN 666 (YNMH) (there used to be a tower nearly 300 feet tall but it appears to be gone). However, the large circle is not the GWEN site itself.|
21 miles SE Denver Colorado
|Site 1 Complex 1C|
|Quite an irregular polygonal fence. Some sites look like this, some fences were rectangular. The gate is locked, with a large sign "International Union of Operating Engineers, Local no. 9". See http://www.iuoelocal9.com in particular the training section. I understand they do not use the missile site, but merely share the access road. Their facilities are about halfway up the road to the missile site, on the west side. This site was for sale on missilebases.com around February 2002 for $600,000. According to Jeramie Chlumsky, "the site clean-up looks to be in the Millions with several miles of asbestos pipe, floor tile, and surfacing materials, the whole place has to be gutted. All the fuel tanks have to be inspected for leaks and filled with sand (if they're not leaking). There are several transformers above ground that are all PCB laiden. Every valve in the place has PCB grease and is covered in asbestos. There is most likely a great deal of mercury floating about in all the electrical switches, and there is lead based paint throughout." This can probably be said for most Atlas/Titan sites. I have also heard that this site was once re-powered and re-used to test aircraft cannon by firing down the tunnel to the antenna silos, into steel plates to catch the bullets. July 19 2004, the price is now $1,450,000 and is also advertised on eBay, item number 4305137952. September 23, 2004, an interesting article about the site as well as Ed Peden was published entitled "Home Security, Better living through science on the prairie southeast of Denver", see http://www.westword.com/issues/2004-09-23/news/news.html (the article has expired so try https://web.archive.org/web/20041010190503/http://www.westword.com/issues/2004-09-23/news/news.html). On December 7 2004 the Denver Post printed an article about this site, which stated the owner is Utah-based investor Ian England who purchased the site from another private owner in 2001; this article was at http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~33~2580767,00.html which is now gone; it was also at http://web.archive.org/web/20060112204628/http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~33~2580767,00.html but even archive.org lost it. April 13 2005, the Denver Post ran another article, http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~33~2812965,00.html (also unavailable, try http://web.archive.org/web/20060109235235/http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~33~2812965,00.html but also now gone), stating the site is still for sale for 1.5 million dollars, and estimates the cleanup costs at $200,000 to $300,000. July 17 2005 I see the site is again for sale on eBay, item number 4394247896 and listed by the Fuller Company (now gone) for $1,295,000.00. On December 21, 2006, I was informed that the asking price was raised to $1,800,000. On April 25, 2008, it was noticed that the price jumped to $2,800,000 on missilebases.com. On November 16, 2009, it was seen to still be for sale on eBay for $2,800,000, item 250528011355; more information (including images) is at http://undergroundfortresses.com (which lists the price as $3,400,000) but I'm not sure their web site has been updated since 2009. Across Quincy (Airline?) is Tom Bay Road which leads to the next site, listed below.|
25 miles SSE Denver Colorado
|Site 1 Complex 2A|
|The 7.5-minute topo map (July 1992) shows the site, with a marker near the entrance labeled "Range RM2" The 30-minute topo map (July 1981) says "MIL RES". I drove by 5/19/2002. This one's close to a county road (Brick-Center Road also called County Road 129) although the site access road (Tom Bay Road) takes a circuitous path to the west up to East Quincy Avenue (Airport Road?) which is also the access to the previously-listed site. In the photo, you can see two sets of Orientation Targets which provide a mark for azimuth orientation of the radar antennae, as well as optical targets. The ridge may be the road from one silo to another. September 17, 2005, this site was for sale by the GSA, see http://www.auctionrp.com/auctions2/default.cfm?action=viewAuction&catId=3299 (link died of old age, try http://web.archive.org/web/20060302165320/http://www.auctionrp.com/auctions2/default.cfm?action=viewAuction&catId=3299) which in turn links to a few other documents. The description states "The property consists of 242.42 acres. It includes 219.52 acres of undeveloped land and an underground missile complex (22.9 acres). Access and usage restrictions apply to the underground complex. The property also includes a 1.26 acre telephone easement and a 0.30 acre utility easement." The site layout diagram, above (click for large version), is from the Invition For Bid from the auction. I do not know how typical this layout is compared to other Titan I sites. The environmental covenant summary was available at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/covenant/bennettang.htm and listed (as of July 10, 2006) the owner's name and address but the link no longer works (try https://web.archive.org/web/20090407044159/http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/covenant/bennettang.htm, the document was apparently moved to http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/covenant/summary/hmcov00028.htm (also gone, try https://web.archive.org/web/20120307012431/http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/covenant/summary/hmcov00028.htm; the entire document is at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/covenant/pdf/HMCOV00028.pdf and the corresponding map at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/covenant/pdf/HMCOV00028.pdf except they are both gone and archive.org missed them.|
45 miles E Denver Colorado
(3.5 miles N Deer Trail)
|Site 3 Complex 2B|
|The 7.5-minute topo map (July 1978) does show the site as well as the 30-minute topo map (July 1981). 7/7/01 visited 3/2B briefly, not much to see. The chain-link fence is gone though the posts remain. Several houses are in the immediate vicinity; the road is marked to the effect that the county does not maintain it. I did not feel like poking around too much. Fred Epler says this site was sold for $900 in back taxes around 1994 and has changed owners twice since then, and notes that a large high-voltage power line runs through it, or more correctly along the eastern edge. Scott D. Murdock visited the area on March 19, 2005, see his Wyoming Weekends trip report which includes several images.|
35 miles SE Denver Colorado
(4 miles SE Elizabeth Colorado)
|I drove up to the gate 5/22/2002. This is now the Elbert County Trash Compactor. http://www.elbertcounty-co.gov. According to http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/titanmissiles.htm (see https://web.archive.org/web/20090330222751/http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/titanmissiles.htm) the site is leased by Elbert County (from the federal government I assume), is used as a solid waste transfer station, and was formerly used as a solid waste landfill (using trenches, not the silos). A lengthy "Remedial investigation letter work plan addendum" was at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/titanworkplan080922.pdf.|
Ellsworth AFB (see also http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Ellsworth_AFB.htm) near Rapid City South Dakota had 9 Titan I missiles (3 sites). Training began in 1960; the first missile was received Jun 22 1962; the last was removed in February 1965. I found these sites courtesy of Scott D. Murdock's trip log Rapid City Maneuvers.
(Patch images courtesy of strategic-air-command.com, USAFPatches.com, and Ellsworth's web site, respectively) I believe the middle patch is appropriate for the Titan I era, and just for comparison the third patch is for Minuteman.
The people: Sites were manned by the 850th SMS which was activated December 1 1960, became operationally ready September 26 1962, and was inactivated March 25 1965. The 850th SMS was initially under the 28th Bomb Wing (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0028bw.htm) but was reassigned to the 44th SMW on January 1 1962 (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0044bw.htm).
An Ellsworth site (which one?) had an accident in June of 1962, where the interstage separation rockets fired when a cable was inadvertently removed. The second stage lifted off the first stage and caused major damage to the silo and missile (which was not fitted with a warhead at the time). I assume the silo lid was closed at the time. (This per Mike Morgan per Chuck Hansen's CD-ROM book The Swords of Armageddon). Nobody was injured!
31 miles E Rapid City South Dakota
(3 miles NW Wicksville South Dakota)
21 miles SSE Rapid City South Dakota
(5 miles SE Hermosa South Dakota)
|Mike Morgan and others visited (with permission of the owner) in March of 2001. This one's on Missile Road, also known as County Road 7.|
23 miles NNW Rapid City South Dakota
(10 miles E Sturgis South Dakota)
|Mike Morgan and others visited (with permission of the owner) in March of 2001. The site is conveniently at the end of Titan Road though more recent imagery gives the access road no name, and it joins with Diamond Road (or County Highway MC-10 or 137th Avenue). The silo doors were apparently dropped into position after the site was inactivated, shattering them, and attachments were removed which would make lifting them difficult. According to Tony Castillo's web site http://www.nesilos.com/TITAN%201/titan1.htm (gone, and archive.org didn't retain any images) circa July 2005, this site was for sale for around $250,000; meanwhile the owner was working on salvaging. In 2010, Mike Morgan revisited the area and reported it is being dug up; see his trip report Ellsworth Echoes near the very end. Imagery from 2015 shows it is mostly dug out, but why?|
Patrick Air Force Base operates the various launch facilities at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Relevant to Titan I, they launched 47 Titan I missiles from four launch complexes between 1959 and 1961.
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?) missile 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=9693.
Note that Patrick's Titan I sites are single-missile facilities, unlike operational sites which had three missiles each. I believe these were all above-ground complexes, not silos. In Stumpf's book there is a list of Titan II launches that only includes launch complexes 15 and 16. But I also have a map of Cape Canaveral that claims 19 and 20 were also used for Titan II, perhaps the latter were for the manned space program exclusively while 15/16 were for ICBM tests.
|LC-15 was used for Titan I and Titan II launches but dismantled in 1967.|
|LC-16 was used for Titan I, Titan II, and Pershing launches. It was also used for Apollo Service Module testing.|
|LC-19 was used for Titan I, and Titan II Gemini launches.|
|LC-20 was used for Titan I, Titan II, and Titan IIIA launches. It was later (early 1990s) used for the Starbird and Red Tigress research rockets (see https://www.patrick.af.mil/heritage/Cape/Cape3/cape3-9.htm (link died, try http://web.archive.org/web/20010109205000/http://www.patrick.af.mil/heritage/Cape/Cape3/cape3-9.htm) and http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/library/report/1994/cape/cape3-9.htm).|