Minuteman Missile National Historic Site Philip, SD

The Minuteman missile silo.

To see this ICBM missile site you have to visit two places.  The first is the launch silo, where the missiles were kept underground and ready to go 24/7. The second  is the launch control facility, which is where the keys were. In this South Dakota complex,  the Delta-09 missile silo and  Launch Control Facility Delta 01 make up the excellent Minuteman Missile National Park.

For your visit here, start at the  park’s Visitors Center and take in all of the  exhibits and displays being sure to watch the various films on the need for ICBMs and the stakes of the Cold War. Here’s where you will take the Launch Control Facility Delta 01 Tour. You must be able to climb two, completely vertical 15-foot ladders but if that’s no problem,  Park Rangers will take groups of six down the elevator 31 feet to see the launch control panel where they would enter the launch codes and turn the keys. Nuclear war would begin here.

Next, drive down the road 15 miles and see the Delta- 09 Silo. Look through the glass viewing cap to see an inert Minuteman II. No park rangers are needed for this part. Just one glance and you can imagine the furious explosion of heat and energy as a Minuteman rose into the sky taking with it a W62 nuclear warhead with a 170 kiloton yield (Hiroshima as 14 kilotons).

The Minuteman II National Historic Site is run by the National Park Service and it is well laid out and very well organized.  A total of 150 ICBM missiles were once based in South Dakota.

Hours:   Daily:  8am – 4pm

Delta-01 Tours:  require advanced reservations – see website

Visit museum website

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