Leslie did some research on things to do while we were in Tucson and noticed there was a Titan Missile Museum about 50 miles southwest of where we were staying. Her selection of this was based solely on her feelings this would be something I would enjoy. Boy was she right on that one!
The Titan Missile program was a cold war era “mutually assured destruction” program that allowed the USA to launch ICBM’s (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) to anywhere within a 6,000 mile range of the silo. They each delivered 9 megatons of explosive power, basically enough to totally destroy a large urban area. There were 54 of these in total, 18 each in Arizona, Kansas and Arkansas. They were installed starting in late 1962 and the last one was finally eliminated in 1987 as part of the USA/USSR treaty of nuclear dismantling.
The 1st part of the tour was a very interesting 30 minute film covering many of the details and politics of the era. Then they gave us a guided tour of the underground bunkers were the crew worked and lived while on duty. It was a very secure area and clearly designed for maximum safely and utility, not personal comfort. This was finally followed by a self guided tour of the area above ground that showed some of the equipment and site security.
As a cold war kid it was very moving and meaningful. There were also some younger people there who also seemed to appreciate the awesome meaning of what this represented. Many thanks to Leslie Baker for arranging for this wonderful day for us.