About Minuteman National Historic Site
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site protects two facilities that were once part of a Minuteman Missile field that covered the far western portion of South Dakota from 1963 through the early 1990s.
There were 15 Launch Control Facilities that commanded and controlled 150 Launch Facilities (Missile Silos) holding Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The park preserves two of these facilities in their historic state—Launch Control Facility Delta-01 with its corresponding underground Launch Control Center and Launch Facility (Missile Silo) Delta-09. These two sites, along with the Minuteman Missile Visitor Center, comprise Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.
During the Cold War thousands of Air Force personnel in Minuteman Missile fields throughout the Great Plains worked and lived around nuclear weapons that held unprecedented destructive power. It was these nuclear weapons that constantly threatened devastation of any aggressor nation that might consider launching a nuclear attack against the United States or its allies. This threat of destruction acted as a deterrent to enemies while paradoxically preserving an uneasy peace.
One of the most serious responsibilities during the Cold War was to be part of a missile crew with the ability to initiate the use of nuclear weapons from a Launch Control Center. These crews were ready to respond at a moment's notice. At the same time, maintenance and security police ensured that the sites were totally secure and always functioning.