This console appears to be identical to the one below from this report.
|From this report:
In the event the officers were called to unleash their missiles, they
would take their launch keys and preset authenticators out
Source: Library of Congress Historic American Engineering Record:
The Library of Congress provides high-resolution TIFF images of the launch control facility images shown below, each about 20MB in size.
From FE Warren Air Force Base web site:
319th Missile Squadron
The 319th Missile Squadron operates and monitors 50 Minuteman III ICBMs from five Missile Alert Facilities (MAFs) and their associated underground Launch Control Centers (LCCs) spread throughout 3,200 square miles in eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska and northern Colorado. The MAF provides shelter and work space for facility managers, chefs, maintenance support, and security members. The LCC is a fully self-sufficient entity with its own air, power and water supplies, providing survivable command and control capabilities throughout a conflict. A two-officer missile combat crew performs 24-hour alert duties in hardened underground launch control centers. A variety of communication systems provide the president and secretary of defense with highly reliable, virtually instantaneous direct command for each launch crew. The crews monitor the status and security of missiles and maintain proficiency in the execution of emergency war orders. This team of professional "Screaming Eagles" works rotating shifts, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to ensure a safe, secure and ready strategic deterrent force for our nation.
From this report:
In 1977, Strategic Air Command initiated the "Rivet Save" program. The impetus behind Rivet Save was a need to cut back on military spending to accommodate defense budget reductions. Missile crew positions were targeted for elimination as part of these reductions. The original missile system had smaller manning requirements than the Minuteman II and III. The Minuteman I crew force worked on a 24-hour alert schedule, which was efficient because crews arrived from base for their alert shift, then immediately returned to base after the shift. Replacement crews also came directly from base, so there was no need for crews to wait for their next alert in the aboveground support building. Crew members got the rest they needed inside the capsule, taking turns sleeping so the consoles were continuously monitored. But each modifIcation to the weapon system placed new demands on the missile crews. Under such conditions, the National Security Agency (NSA) felt crew members could no longer be permitted to sleep on their alert shift.
Consequently, the Minuteman II and III force switched to a 36-hour alert system, whereby each crew would pull a 12-hour alert, rest aboveground for 12 hours, then pull another l2-hour alert. As one crew rested, another crew would man the launch control center. The system kept a second crew idle in the launch control support building for up to twelve hours at a time. Under Rivet Save, the NSA agreed to allow a return to the more efficient 24-hour alert schedule, if measures were taken to increase the security of the missile system against unauthorized launch. These changes had no impact on the appearance of the launch control support building or the launch control center. Rather, they involved computer reprogramming coupled with modifications to the coding process and to the enable panel in the launch control centers.
90th Operations Support Squadron
The 90th Operations Support Squadron provides emergency war order, cryptographic codes, weapon systems and troop support training for the 90th OG. The squadron is also responsible for targeting and cryptographic codes accuracy for the wing's 200 ICBMs and provides a $1.5 million logistical support function for a 12,600 square-mile missile complex. It also provides intelligence and weather support to 20th AF and 90th SW and maintains combat-ready crews. The sections of the 90th OSS consist of the Missile Alert Facility Food Service Operations, Weather Flight, Training Flight, Emergency War Order Section, and Codes Section.
HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING RECORD
MINUTEMAN III ICBM LAUNCH CONTROL FACILITY NOVEMBER-1
Warren Air Force Base Missile Alert Facility
HAER No. CO-84
Location: Southeast Weld County, Colorado; 1.5 miles north of the town of New Raymer and State Highway 14.
USGS 7.5 Minute Quad: Raymer NE, Colorado, 1977
UTM Coordinates: 13.598440.4498330
Dates of Construction: 1962-1964, as part of Minuteman I system; 1975, converted to Minuteman III system
Architect/Engineer: Ralph M. Parsons Company, Los Angeles, California
Builder: Morrison-Knudsen Company, Boise, Idaho
Present Owner: United States Air Force, Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming
Present Use: Command post for the deployment of ten Minuteman III missiles
Significance: Launch Control Facility November-1 was one of 20 similar installations in "Wing V" of the country's Minuteman ICBM force. Land-based ICBMs played a vital role in American strategic policy during the Cold War. With the Navy's sea-based ballistic missile fleet and the Air Force's bomber fleet, they were part of the "Triad," the three major weapons systems that gave force to the concept of strategic deterrence. In the name of strategic deterrence, the U.S. Air Force spawned the most deadly weapons yet known and some of the most unique structures in the history of architecture.
Administered by Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Wing V contained 200 of the nation's 1,000 operational Minuteman missiles. Field supervision of these nuclear weapons was vested in remote outposts such as Launch Control Facility November-1, each responsible for firing ten missiles upon higher command. By 1975, the original Minuteman missiles at Wing V were replaced by the Minuteman III. Longer and more powerful than its predecessors, the Minuteman III was equipped with an improved third-stage motor, which increased the range of the missile, a new post-boost propulsion system for better maneuvering, and an upgraded guidance system that enhanced computer memory and accuracy. But the missile's most significant improvement lay in its revolutionary warhead, a multiple independently targeted reentry vehicle (MIRV). This new warhead could deliver three hydrogen bombs to widely scattered targets, a capability that would "render current and contemplated antimissile defense systems largely inadequate," and would thus "thrust the world into a new era of weapons for mass destruction."
Historians: Christine A. Curran and Jeffrey A. Hess, 1997
Project Information: In 1995, Warren Air Force (WAFB) proposed to refurbish its 15 remaining Minuteman III ICBM Launch Control Facilities, which had been declared eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. To mitigate its actions, WAFB provided funds to the National Park Service to prepare HAER Documentation of a representative facility. The study was completed under contract by Hess, Roise and Company of Minneapolis. Jeffrey A. Hess served as Principal Investigator, Christine A. Curran as Project Historian, and Clay Fraser as Project Photographer and Delineator.
|1. OVERALL VIEW OF NOVEMBER-1. VIEW TO EAST.
|19. TUNNEL JUNCTION VESTIBULE. BLAST DOOR. VIEW TO WEST.
|20. TUNNEL JUNCTION. STACKED EMERGENCY FOOD RATIONS AT LEFT. LAUNCH
CONTROL CAPSULE BLAST DOOR AT CENTER. VIEW TO NORTHEAST.
|21. LAUNCH CONTROL EQUIPMENT BUILDING. VIEW TO SOUTH.
|22. LAUNCH CONTROL EQUIPMENT BUILDING. VIEW TO NORTH.
|23. LAUNCH CONTROL CAPSULE. BLAST DOOR TO ENTRY. VIEW TO NORTH.
|24. LAUNCH CONTROL CAPSULE. ENTRANCE TO ACOUSTICAL ENCLOSURE. SHOCK
ISOLATOR AT FAR LEFT. VIEW TO NORTH.
|25. LAUNCH CONTROL CAPSULE. ACOUSTICAL ENCLOSURE WITH MISSILE COMBAT
CREW MEMBERS (FRONT TO BACK) CAPTAIN JAMES L. KING, JR. AT LAUNCH CONTROL
CONSOLE AND LIEUTENANT KEVIN R. MCCLUNEY AT COMMUNICATIONS CONSOLE. RADIO
TRANSMITTER AND RECEIVER RACKS AT FAR RIGHT; ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT RACKS AT
FAR LEFT. VIEW TO NORTH.
|26. LAUNCH CONTROL CAPSULE. ACOUSTICAL ENCLOSURE WITH MISSILE COMBAT
CREW MEMBER LIEUTENANT KEVIN R. MCCLUNEY AT COMMUNICATIONS CONSOLE. LAUNCH
CONTROL CONSOLE IN FOREGROUND. VIEW TO NORTH.
|27. LAUNCH CONTROL CAPSULE. ACOUSTICAL ENCLOSURE. COMMUNICATIONS CONSOLE
AT LEFT; LAUNCH CONTROL CONSOLE AT RIGHT. PADLOCKED PANEL AT TOP CENTER CONTAINS
MISSILE LAUNCH KEYS. SHOCK ISOLATOR AT FAR LEFT. VIEW TO EAST.
|28. LAUNCH CONTROL CAPSULE. ACOUSTICAL ENCLOSURE WITH MISSILE COMBAT
CREW MEMBERS (FRONT TO BACK) LIEUTENANT KEVIN R. MCCLUNEY AND CAPTAIN JAMES
L. KING, JR. SHOCK ISOLATOR AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT RACK AT FAR LEFT. VIEW
|29. LAUNCH CONTROL CAPSULE. ACOUSTICAL ENCLOSURE WITH MISSILE COMBAT
CREW MEMBERS (FRONT TO BACK) LIEUTENANT KEVIN R. MCCLUNEY AND CAPTAIN JAMES
L. KING, JR. AT CONSOLES. REFRIGERATOR AT RIGHT FLANKED BY RADIO EQUIPMENT
(RIGHT) AND FILE CABINETS (LEFT). VIEW TO SOUTHWEST.
|30. LAUNCH CONTROL CAPSULE. ACOUSTICAL ENCLOSURE. OPERATORS' CHAIR
AND COMMUNICATIONS CONSOLE IN FOREGROUND. ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT RACK AT LEFT;
LAUNCH CONTROL CONSOLE WITH CAPTAIN JAMES L. KING, JR. IN CENTER. LIEUTENANT
KEVIN R. MCCLUNEY IN BACKGROUND. VIEW TO SOUTHEAST.
|31. LAUNCH CONTROL CAPSULE. LOOKING TOWARD BLAST DOOR AND TUNNEL
VESTIBULE. VIEW TO SOUTH.
|2. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING WEST FRONT AND VEHICLE STORAGE
BUILDING SOUTHWEST FRONT. VIEW TO EAST.
|3. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING NORTH SIDE AND WEST FRONT. VIEW
|4. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING NORTH SIDE AND EAST REAR. VIEW
|5. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING SOUTH SIDE. VIEW TO NORTHWEST.
|6. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING. INTERIOR OF SECURITY OFFICE. VIEW
|7. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING. INTERIOR OF SECURITY OFFICE. VIEW
|8. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING. INTERIOR OF DINING/RECREATION
ROOM. VIEW TO EAST.
|9. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING. INTERIOR OF KITCHEN. VIEW TO
|10. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING. INTERIOR OF BEDROOM. VIEW TO
|11. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING. INTERIOR OF MECHANICAL ROOM.
VIEW TO SOUTHEAST.
|12. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING. INTERIOR OF GENERATOR ROOM. VIEW
|13. VEHICLE STORAGE BUILDING SOUTHWEST FRONT AND SOUTHEAST SIDE. VIEW
|14. VEHICLE STORAGE BUILDING NORTHWEST SIDE AND NORTHEAST REAR. VIEW
|15. VEHICLE STORAGE BUILDING INTERIOR. VIEW TO NORTHWEST.
|16. FOREGROUND (LEFT TO RIGHT) EXHAUST AND INTAKE DUCTS. SOUTH SIDE
AND WEST FRONT OF LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING IN BACKGROUND. VIEW TO
|17. HARDENED ULTRA-HIGH-FREQUENCY ANTENNA. VIEW TO NORTHEAST.
|18. LAUNCH CONTROL SUPPORT BUILDING. 'MISSILE ART' MURAL PAINTED ON
INTERIOR WALL OF ELEVATOR SHAFT. VIEW TO EAST.
Missile Field Organization and Layout
In 1963, Strategic Air Command chose Warren Air Force Base as one of five strategic missile support bases in the country to deploy the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system. Warren was no stranger to the ballistic missile. In 1957, the Department of Defense had selected the installation to be the site of the nation's first ICBM base. The Atlas ICBM was deployed at the base from 1959 until its deactivation in 1965. The 90th Strategic Missile Wing arrived at Warren in 1965 to command and deploy the fifth Minuteman missile wing of the Strategic Air Command.
Through its personnel and facilities, Warren Air Force Base provides the Minuteman program with a variety of vital services, ranging from missile-crew training to missile maintenance to high level command decisions. But the base itself shelters no operational missiles. Instead, the weapons are deployed in remote missile fields covering 12,600 square miles of Laramie, Goshen, and Platte counties of Wyoming; Banner, Cheyenne, and Kimball counties of Nebraska; and Weld and Logan counties of Colorado.
The nation's Minuteman force is organized as a series of administrative units called "wings." Each wing administers either three or four 50-missile "squadrons." Each squadron contains five "flights," with each flight housing one staffed command post ("launch control facility") and ten unmanned missile silos ("launch facilities"). Wing V at Warren hosts the 319th, 320th, 321st, and 400th Strategic Missile Squadrons. The 20 flights in these four squadrons are named in an alphabetical sequence that begins with Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and concludes with Romeo, Sierra, Tango. At Warren, Flights Alpha-Echo comprise the 319th Squadron, located in Nebraska and Wyoming; Flights Foxtrot-Juliet make up the 320th Squadron in Nebraska and Colorado; Flights Kilo-Oscar belong to the 321st Squadron, also in Nebraska and Colorado; and Flights Papa-Tango form the 400th Squadron, located entirely in Wyoming.
Within each flight, the launch control facility is designated with the numeral "1," and the ten launch facilities with the numerals "2" through "11." A flight's numbering system corresponds roughly to its geographic layout. Site 1 occupies a central position, while the remaining sites form a perimeter. To minimize the damage inflicted by a single enemy warhead, the sites are separated from each other by several miles. In the perimeter arrangement at Warren, Site 2 is always on the north, with Sites 3 through 11 positioned, clockwise, in numerically ascending order. For brevity, Minuteman personnel often refer to missile-field facilities in simple alpha-numeric terms: A-1, N-7, K-11.
Located in sparsely populated Weld County, Colorado, November Flight occupies the extreme southwest corner of the Minuteman "missile farm" administered by Warren Air Force Base. The November Flight missile field is roughly rectangular in shape, measuring approximately 23 miles east-west by 13 miles north-south. State Highway 44 cuts through the southern third of the missile field on an east-west course, while tracks of the Burlington Northern Railroad arc gently through the area, southeast to northwest. Visitors to November Flight look out at a high plains landscape of northeastern Colorado, a semi-arid region of rolling grasslands dotted by ranches and small trade centers.
Minuteman construction activities began at November Flight in October 1962, a month after the first ground was broken at the missile farm at Alpha Flight, approximately 50 miles to the northwest. Construction was completed in April 1964 and November Flight became fully operational in April 1965.
In design, layout, and construction, the facilities at November Flight are representative of the other 19 Minuteman flights associated with Warren Air Force Base. The November missile field contains a centrally located Launch Control Facility (Site N-1) and ten perimeter Launch Facilities (Sites N-2 through N-11), which contain the actual missiles. Communication between the November Launch Control Facility and all other facilities in the 321st Squadron is facilitated by a 2,300-mile, buried, Hardened Intersite Cable System. This network gives Site N-1 the capability of launching not only the November Flight missiles, but all other missiles in the squadron as well, in the event that other launch control facilities were to be disabled by malfunction or enemy attack. Commercial telephone lines, land-line networks, and radio transmission systems provide Site N-1 with additional communication options, ensuring that command channels will remain open even if a specific system is lost.
November Launch Control Facility (Site N-1)
Situated about 70 air miles southeast of Warren Air Force Base, the Launch Control Facility for November Flight occupies a level 5.85-acre tract, set off from the surrounding grasslands by a barbed, chain-link perimeter fence. The site stands on the south rim of the South Pawnee Creek Valley, at an elevation of 4,790 feet. The closest town is New Raymer, Colorado, on State Highway 44, about 1.5 miles to the south. Overland access to the Launch Control Facility is by way of a graveled road, maintained by Weld County, that passes the west side of the site. A paved driveway, approximately 1,100 feet in length, leads eastward from the county road to an electrically operated sliding gate, which marks the entrance to Launch Control Facility N-1.
Site N-1 is the only manned facility in the November missile field. Its primary mission is to keep personnel and equipment in a state of readiness to launch the missiles of November Flight upon appropriate higher command. To fulfill its mission, Site N-1 constantly monitors the status of missile-field equipment and command communication from Warren Air Force Base. It also provides on-site personnel with support services, including food, lodging, and security.
The November Launch Control Facility is a compact complex of aboveground and belowground buildings and structures. Despite several modifications since the completion of original construction in 1964, the site still recalls its original appearance. Since these modifications occurred at all of the Minuteman missile fields associated with Warren Air Force Base, Site N-1 also resembles the other 19 launch control facilities at the installation. The primary features of the complex are listed below and are described in detail in subsequent paragraphs. The first three features in the list share integral construction, but for administrative and functional reasons they are traditionally treated as discrete entities.
Launch Control Support Building Launch Control Center
Launch Control Equipment Building Vehicle Storage Building
Hard Ultra-High-Frequency Antenna Hard High-Frequency Receive Antenna
Soft High-Frequency Transmit-Receive Antenna
ICBM Super-High-Frequency Satellite Terminal Antenna
Survivable Low-Frequency Communications System Antenna
Launch Control Support Building
The most prominent feature at the Launch Control Facility is the Launch Control Support Building. Structurally, the building is the aboveground extension of a blast-hardened, subterranean complex consisting of the Launch Control Center and the Launch Control Equipment Building (see descriptions in following sections). The Launch Control Support Building serves as a security center for the entire November Flight and provides accommodations for the eight-person contingent assigned to the premises in three-day shifts. The staff consists of two flight security controllers, two two-person armed security teams, a cook, and a facility manager.
The Support Building is a one-story, side-gabled ranch-style building with a low-pitched roof and an asymmetrical footprint. The 33'-wide gable end faces the sliding entrance gate, almost immediately to the west. The 124'-long primary facade faces north, overlooking a circular parking area. The Support Building is built of light wood frame construction on a concrete-pad foundation. The roof is covered with asphalt shingles which terminate at tight, open eaves with metal gutters. A narrow vergeboard trims the gable ends. The building is sheathed with horizontal steel siding in a wide-lap weatherboard style. Complete with corner boards and stamped with a wood grain texture, this siding replaced the original asbestos-cementitious (Transite) shingles in the mid-1980s.
A recessed entry on the north side (front) of the building shelters the primary entrance. A windbreak wall was added to further enclose the main door in the mid-1980s. All five door openings on the north side are original, as is the rest of the fenestration. Typical window openings hold one-over-one-light, double-hung, vinyl-clad wood sash glazed with insulating glass. These windows replaced the original one-over-one-light, double-hung wood sash in the early 1990s. The windows are grouped in pairs on the east end, and in a ribbon of six on the west end. On the gabled west end of the building, a partial-width, gabled bay extends 4'-6" beyond the main portion of the building. This end contains the security office, a function indicated by a bank of large windows prominently facing the sliding electric entry gate. On the main portion of the west end, a double overhead door was replaced by a pair of windows in the mid-l980s, when the interior space was converted from a garage to a bedroom. There are two original door openings still in use on this side of the building. On the south side (rear) of the building, the fenestration is grouped in pairs and ribbons of three. A 10'-wide lean-to breaks the south facade at the west end, sheltered under the gable of the main roof. The east end of the building has no door or window openings. A pad of concrete has been poured at this end in anticipation of a fourbedroom addition scheduled for completion in 1997.
The roof of the Support Building is pierced by ventilators, a boiler stack, a personnel hatch, and several exhaust fans. Floodlights are attached at the eaves at various intervals around the building.
The Support Building is painted a cream color with dark brown trim on the doors and eaves.
The main entrance of the Support Building opens into a vestibule and short hallway, which provides entry into the security office to the west before terminating at the dining/recreation room. The dining/recreation room is large, with eight windows fronting south. The kitchen is located at the east end of the dining room. Also at the east end is an entrance to a corridor leading to five bedrooms, two latrines, and a utility room, which contains laundry facilities. Bedrooms and latrines in these spaces were modified in the mid-1980s to accommodate the addition of women crew members. Behind the north wall of the dining/recreation room are located the water treatment room and the telephone equipment room.
The water treatment room contains a pump installation and other water processing equipment. Each launch control facility requires approximately 2,000 gallons of water per day for drinking, cooking, bathing, boiler feed-water, and sanitary purposes. Reserve storage of at least 4,500 gallons is maintained at all times for emergency fire fighting. November-1 draws water from a well that is 1,188 feet deep. As at other Minuteman launch control facilities, the use of a deep well is intended to protect water quality from enemy actions.
The telephone equipment room contains the telephone termination equipment for the Support Information Network, which is used primarily for the transmission of non-sensitive communications between various locations in the Minuteman wings. Installed and serviced by a commercial telephone company, the network commonly handles traffic dispatch for maintenance, security, housekeeping, and administrative personnel.
The west end of the dining/recreation room provides direct access to a sixth bedroom. Another modification of the mid-1980s, this room was originally a two-vehicle garage. Directly south, behind the bedroom wall, is an 8'x10' lean-to, used as a generator room. To the north of the bedroom is an elevator shaft and an adjoining corridor, which leads north to the security office. The elevator is the heart of the Support Building. It provides access for the two missile combat crew members pulling their 24-hour shift in the blast-proof Launch Control Center, approximately 50 feet below the surface.
Launch Control Center
The most important component of any Launch Control Facility is the underground capsule called the Launch Control Center. The Launch Control Center is a blast-proof, steel-reinforced concrete capsule within which is suspended a rectangular room called the "acoustical enclosure." The acoustical enclosure contains the equipment required for the monitoring and launching of the ten missiles in November Flight. It also contains life support equipment and minimal accommodations for two duty officers known as the commander and the deputy commander.
With a diameter of 29 feet, a length of 54 feet, and walls four feet thick, the concrete capsule provides the enclosure with a protective shell. The acoustical enclosure measures approximately 12 feet wide and 31 feet long. It sits on a steel-framed platform, officially known as an electrical mechanical equipment base. To reduce shocks from earthquakes or nuclear attacks, the enclosure is mounted in a shock-absorbing system. One set of shock absorbers (isolators) carries the weight of the acoustical enclosure. These four isolators, located near each corner of the enclosure, hang from heavy chains attached to the ceiling of the capsule. The shock isolators limit the vertical movement of the enclosure platform. A second set of shock absorbing devices, called sway dampers, controls the horizontal movement of the platform and are located beneath the acoustical enclosure.
The walls and ceiling of the acoustical enclosure are made of hollow, perforated steel panels filled with sound-absorbing material. The floor is made of removable steel plates covered with sheet vinyl and carpet. Compartments beneath the floor contain survival equipment, emergency batteries, and a motor generator. Four recessed florescent lighting panels centered in the ceiling illuminate the interior of the enclosure. A beige fabric liner, attached to the ceiling framework on either side of the light panels, was added in 1988 to cover wiring and cables and to help reduce noise inside the enclosure. Lining the west wall of the enclosure are heavy aluminum electronic racks containing computer equipment, radio transmitters and receivers, a telephone relay system, and a power control panel. Equipment racks, panels, and shelving are painted in various shades of gray, pale green, and cream. The enclosure is air-conditioned to remove heat from the electronic equipment racks, as well as to maintain a comfortable climate for the crew on duty. In addition to air-conditioning, the enclosure is equipped with an emergency life support system. Outdoor air can be brought in through a chemical-bacteriological-radiological fIlter, or, if automatic blast valves shut off the outside air supply, oxygen can be regenerated using a hand-pumped unit stored within the capsule. A chilled brine tank located at one end of the enclosure is used for emergency air conditioning. Primary and standby electrical power are provided either commercially or by a standby generator. Emergency power is supplied by a storage battery set. The acoustical enclosure is also equipped with a stainless steel latrine, a small refrigerator/microwave oven unit, and a curtained sleeping compartment located at the north end.
Located along the east side of the enclosure are two desk-like consoles. Positioned in front of each console is a swiveling, high-backed operator's chair, fitted with a seat belt and shoulder harness. Both chairs are anchored on a pair of rails running several feet along the length of the enclosure. This arrangement provides the console operators with easy access to the myriad of components located at the consoles. The original consoles, equipped with 1960s-era computer technology, were replaced in 1993-1994 with updated consoles and hardware. The two consoles serve different functions. The launch control console allows the commander to continually monitor the operational and security status of each of the ten missiles in November Flight. Next to the launch control console is the deputy commander's communications control console. It contains the radio and telephone equipment that enables the crew to communicate with other launch control facilities, base headquarters, and the Strategic Air Command. At the side of each console is a small panel containing a spring-loaded, key-operated launch switch. The keys to these switches are kept in a double-padlocked, steel box mounted above the deputy commander's console. The two consoles are space sufficiently apart to prohibit a single crew member from activating the missiles on his or her own.
Access to and from the Launch Control Center is provided by an opening at the south end of the capsule. The opening is protected by an eight-ton blast door. Designed primarily to withstand the effects of nuclear blast and to provide an environmental seal, the blast door is constructed of welded steel shells filled with concrete grout.
Launch Control Equipment Building
Equipment located in the underground Launch Control Equipment Building provides environmental control and power required to make the Launch Control Center self-sufficient during the prolonged periods of isolation that could occur after a nuclear attack. The Equipment Building is a blast-hardened structure of steel and reinforced concrete, but it is not a cylinder with rounded ends like the Launch Control Center. It is a flat-bottomed structure with sloping sides, a rounded top, and flat ends. The equipment it contains is supported by a floor suspended on 12 coil-spring shock isolators. There are no sway dampers as in the Launch Control Center. Since the Equipment Building is manned only during relatively short periods of equipment maintenance, it is not fitted with a blast door.
The Equipment Building at November-1 is aligned with the Launch Control Center on a common axis. Together, they are located perpendicular to the aboveground Support Building, underneath its west end. This alignment differs from Minuteman Wings I and II, where only the launch control centers are located underground, and the launch control equipment buildings are aboveground, operating out of the support building. The difference in these two designs was the result of a strategic policy change instituted during the early days of the Kennedy administration. Air Force historian Clyde Littlefield explains:
During the first half of 1961, the national strategic concept completed a shift from massive retaliation to controlled response. In consonance with the earlier concept, the Air Force had designed the Minuteman as a quick reacting mass attack weapon . . . . A combat crew would fire a minimum of ten missiles. In order to conform to the new concept, engineering changes had to be made to allow a combat crew in a control center to switch targets and to fire one or more missiles selectively, conserving the remainder for later use .... Greater flexibility in targeting and firing required a significant extension to the limited survival time [of each operational site]. The [original] Minuteman facility design did not provide for the protection of the power supply .... At a control center, power generators were above the ground .... When and if these generators stopped functioning, the operational potential of the system would be reduced to only six hours. Revised strategic concepts required that the weapon survive at least nine weeks after an initial enemy attack.
In September 1961, Air Force headquarters authorized the Ballistic Systems Division to proceed with plans to harden the generators against nuclear blast. The Division decided to install the generators in hardened underground capsules, located next to the Launch Control Center. Construction was well underway at Wing II, located at Ellsworth Air Force Base, by the time these changes were proposed. Consequently, the underground equipment capsules were introduced with the third Minuteman wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, in 1962.
The main components located in the Equipment Building are an air conditioning unit, an environmental control system, power distribution equipment, and a standby diesel generator. Blast valves, installed in the air ducts running between the Equipment Building and the Launch Control Center and between the Equipment Building and the air intake and air exhaust shafts, protect the air supply from contamination. In the event of an emergency, the blast valves are designed to automatically seal off the capsules from the surface air. Buried on the east side of the Equipment Building is a 3,700-gallon water tank, and buried on the west side are a 14,000-gallon diesel fuel storage tank and an emergency sewage tank. The building's apparatus would theoretically allow the equipment and crew in the Launch Control Center to function for up to nine weeks in isolation.
Between the Equipment Building and the Launch Control Center is a reinforced concrete room called the tunnel junction, which provides access to both facilities. The tunnel junction leads through a second blast door to a 50-foot access shaft containing an elevator and a vertical ladder to the aboveground Support Building. It is possible that a nuclear attack could destroy the access shaft and tunnel junction, the normal exit for the missile combat crew. For this reason, there is an emergency escape tube at the north end of the Launch Control Center. The tube is made of corrugated steel and measures three feet in diameter. Extending from the ceiling of the Launch Control Center, it penetrates upward through the earth for 52 feet, terminating just below surface. The tube is filled with sand to prevent it from collapsing. In the event of an emergency, the crew would dig out the sand, crawl up the tube, and escape through a hatch at ground level.
Vehicle Storage Building
A one-story, front-gabled Vehicle Storage Building stands at the entrance to the November-1 Launch Control Facility, a short distance inside the electric gate. The style of the building matches the simple, utilitarian style of the Launch Control Support Building, just to the south. The Vehicle Storage Building was constructed in 1966, as the last major feature of November-1's configuration. Measuring 40' x 32,' the building was constructed of light wood framing on a reinforced concrete pad foundation. The building's primary facade faces southwesterly and includes a large central doorway flanked by two smaller openings of the same type. The doorways are fitted with overhead steel doors patterned with a horizontal grid. The original cementitious-asbestos shingle siding (Transite) was replaced in the mid-1980s by horizontal steel siding in a wide-lap weatherboard style. Trimmed with metal cornerboards and stamped with a wood-grain texture, the siding is painted a cream color, with dark brown trim on doors and eaves. The roof is covered with light brown asphalt shingles which terminate at tight, open eaves and a narrow vergeboard trim at the gable ends. The southeast-facing side of the roof is pierced at the northeast corner by a furnace flue. On the northwest-facing side is a gravity vent. Floodlights are attached at the eave comers at the primary (southwest) facade of the building. Two doors are located on the southeast side of the building. One accesses a small interior furnace room in the northeast comer, and the other provides access to the rest of the interior storage space. Pavement meets the garage doors at the primary facade, then curves around the southeast side of the building to form a small patio, which extends the length of the southeast facade. The remainder of the site surrounding the storage building is covered with gravel and grass.
Age and deterioration forced the demolition of the storage building's original oil furnace and diesel fuel tank in 1995. Although the replacement furnace remained inside, a new 1,000-gallon fuel tank was placed outdoors, directly to the rear (northeast) of the building, on a reinforced concrete pad surrounded by a vertical picket fence. A pole topped with a weathervane extends from inside this enclosure. Originally attached at the east end of the Launch Control Support Building, the weathervane was relocated to the Vehicle Storage Building in the mid-1980s, when the Support Building received new siding.
Several aboveground and underground radio antenna structures are dispersed within the Launch Control Facility's fenced grounds. These antennae are part of a complex communication network developed to maintain missile launch control and communication during and after a nuclear attack.
Hard Ultra-High-Frequency Antenna
Approximately 125 feet east of the Vehicle Storage Building is the blast-hardened Ultra-HighFrequency Antenna. The primary purpose of the installation is to provide a channel between the N-1 Launch Control Center and the Airborne Launch Control Center, an aircraft that functions as a back-up control center in the event ground-based control centers are incapacitated by a nuclear blast. The antenna was also designed to receive alert, launch, and execution orders from Strategic Air Command communications rockets and to permit communications via Air Force satellites. The Ultra-High-Frequency Antenna consists of a massive, cast-steel frustum, bolted to a thick, reinforced-concrete square slab. Surmounting the frustum is a conical, white fiberglass weather dome .
Hard High-Frequency Receive Antenna
High-frequency radio provides Strategic Air Command with point-to-point voice communications as a backup of the land-line systems for control of the weapon systems. The High-Frequency Receive Antenna is set into the ground approximately 67 feet south of the Launch Control Support Building. The structure consists of a reinforced-concrete cylinder measuring approximately 16 feet in diameter and 37 feet deep (outside dimensions). The cylinder is covered by a concrete cap. Distributed evenly around the perimeter of the structure are five small ports, each containing a slender, ballistically actuated, steel, monopole antenna. This antenna system was deactivated in 1971. When it was still in use, one monopole extended from the cylinder at all times. If the exposed antenna were to have been damaged during an attack, a replacement could have been quickly deployed through the detonation of an explosive squib in an adjacent port.
Survivable Low Frequency Communications System
This is a low-frequency radio teletype which has receive-only capability. Installed in 1966-1967, the system consists of a buried antenna, a receiver installed in an electronic rack inside the Launch Control Center, and a miniature teleprinter mounted on the crew console in the Launch Control Center.
ICBM Super-High Frequency Satellite Terminal
This antenna structure is located a few feet from the southwest corner of the Launch Control Support Building. It consists of an aboveground pole with a large white rounded dome.
This antenna is mounted on a wooden pole against the north side of the Launch Control Support Building.
Well water is stored against the north side of the Launch Control Support Building in underground tanks. Access covers appear directly outside the doors to the water treatment room in the Support Building.
Located several feet from the south side of the Launch Control Support Building, this pump prevents groundwater from building up and damaging the Equipment Building, Launch Control Center, and associated underground facilities. November-1 Launch Control Facility was one of several Launch Control Facilities in Wing V with troublesome high ground water.
Approximately 50 feet from the southwest comer of the Launch Control Support Building stand two large brown ducts which provide intake and exhaust air to the underground Launch Control Center and Equipment Building. The ducts are fitted with 36-inch blast valves designed to seal off the subterranean facilities from outside air in the event of a nuclear attack.
Although helipads were not installed at Wing V launch control facilities until 1969, helicopters have served the wing since 1965. Fifteen helicopters were originally assigned to Warren, cutting down road time for base vehicles, which were averaging 600,000 miles per month transporting people and food supplies between the base and the Minuteman launch control facilities. The concrete helipad at November Flight measures 50' x 50'. Located outside the security fence at the north end of the Launch Control Facility, it receives anyone of six UH-1N "Twin Huey" helicopters currently maintained by Warren Air Force Base.
Located just outside the perimeter fence, approximately 200 feet northwest of the Launch Control Support Building, is a sewage lagoon used for treating waste materials produced at the Launch Control Facility. The sewage lagoon is an open settling basin with a 39,500-cubic-foot capacity. Surrounded by an earthen berm, it is 118 feet square at ground level and tapers to 70 feet square at the base.
[Balance of 50-page report which traces history of ICBM development omitted.]