Thursday, October 31, 2013

Titan II Missile Tour

Amado, AZ  High 68  Low 39

First of all, I need to apologize because I am so far behind in reading blogs and I know there is no way I will be able to catch up. I guess what that boils down to is: I either have time to read blogs or I have time to party. So guess which one is winning now.

Tuesday afternoon Jim and I went up to Green Valley to the Titan II Museum. We had reservations to take a tour with former Titan crew members, Bob and Steve.


This silo was staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week from 1963 to 1987 with four crew members. These people were responsible for pushing the button to launch the Titan II nuclear missile IF any country attacked the United States with a nuclear missile.

So many cables:



You watch a movie before you begin the tour and it appears in the movie that these four crew members are busy the entire 24 hours, however, Bob told us that the job was really, really boring. He, himself, never believed that the USA would be attacked. They played a lot of cards.


Only tall people needed to wear hard hats down this corridor. That wouldn’t be me.


The crew members were told they had a 30 day supply of food and air in case of attack. So I guess their choices were to die of starvation or go outside and die a nuclear death because 30 days sure wouldn’t be long enough to clear the air.

Bob then took us into the command center and explained the sequence of events that would take place before the launch button was actually pushed.


Bob gave a great presentation but he talked very rapidly and in some cases, very technically so I didn’t understand some of it.


After we left the command center we got to see the actual Titan Missile.


A few facts:

P1070315This is the “safe” that contained the codes that would authorize the launch of the missile. The keys and codes were all given to different people and also required several phone confirmations.

The Titan II was the largest Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ICBM). Atop the missile sat the massive Mark 6 warhead. It measured 110 feet in length and 10 feet in diameter.

The Titan II was capable of launching from its underground silo in 58 seconds and could deliver a nine megaton thermonuclear warhead to its target more than 5,500 miles away in less than thirty minutes.


Titan II carried the largest single warhead of any American ICBM and consisted of a two stage, rock engine powered vehicle and a Re-entry vehicle (RV).

For more than two decades, 54 Titan II missile complexes across the United States stood "on alert" 24 hours a day, seven days a week, heightening the threat of nuclear war or preventing Armageddon, depending upon your point of view.

Radio Antenna – there were several of these for communication purposes.

P1070325Bob made a statement that when he was stationed here security was good but not great. Then something happened and things changed. After the tour I asked him about what happened. Seems a guy came to the Commander and told him that he could break into the command center. The Commander asked him to prove it.

So one night he and the commander climbed over this fence.



P1070300He was then able to pry open the elevator doors (they weren’t locked at that time) and they repelled down the elevator shaft. Walked right into the command center and surprised four crew members. Things changed after that. One of the procedures implemented (besides the lock on the elevator doors) was a four phone call system and a few more locked doors.

The above ground part of the tour is on your own. I didn’t know what this thing was so asked the guy who was keeping an eye on things. This is the decoy stage of the rocket. Anything to confuse the enemy.


Other parts of the missile.



These are tipsies (AN/TPS) which is a radar surveillance system or motion sensors and were placed around sensitive areas of the complex to alert the crew to the presence of intruders. During their 25 year history, intruders were never a serious problem.


We both really enjoyed this tour. It’s always interesting to learn more about the history of the times we grew up in.


  1. I'd say party over reading blogs, any day you can!

  2. Hi that the Titan Ii Museum near Tucson? It sure looks like the museum we visited last April when we were there. It was very interesting and we enjoyed it!

  3. This was on our schedule when we were in Tucson. Still haven't made it though.

  4. We both loved this tour. This was one place on Paul's bucket list. It was such an interesting experience. I actually got to sit in the seat and make the decision to turn the key. I'll let you guess what I decided.

  5. Very scary stuff, the combination of enormous responsibility together with a sense of never actually being used just leads to a dangerous lackadaisical attitude.

  6. What a tour! Thanks for the info!

  7. That's a great tour. I saw a program about it, but would like to see it anyway.
    Glad Jim is doing well. Hope to see you soon.

  8. Very interesting blog post. Have to put this on our list.

  9. I guess they don't have to worry about some tourist taking that missile home as a souvenir... ;c)

  10. I'm glad you took time out from your parties to write this blog. You party girl you!

    This sounds like such a fascinating tour. I guess growing up in the 60's made it all too real. Thanks for sharing.

  11. The party should be the top of your list, you can read and post blogs anytime.
    Thanks for the tour.

  12. You go party girl - I enjoyed the missile tour.

  13. Party on! Now how do you remember all those details on everything? I'm impressed! And I would not need a hard hat either

  14. Don't stress over not being up-to-date on your blog reading. I find it's one of those things that we should enjoy doing and not feel guilty if we miss a few days. Denis has dragged me on some missile tours that I thought I wouldn't like but ended up finding it very interesting. Thanks for sharing this tour with us.

  15. Yup, party first! Life is for living and having as much fun as we can in our old age haha!! Interesting tour. I can still remember back to teh days when we were sure the Soviets were going to blow us all to pieces. Duck and cover was practiced at school - as if a desk would save you!!

  16. Too bad we have to have so much security these days.. Trend of the times... Kinda sad! I remember that we never locked our house or our cars when I was young.... Oh Well....

    You mean you'd rather party than visit blogs???? ha ha ha (ME TOO.)


  17. I've been away for so long that I forgot what good tours you give, Sandi! Glad to see you and Jim are well and happily doing your thing. By all means, party whenever possible. I don't feel so bad because others take breaks from reading, too. It's almost impossible to catch up, though. Thanks for stopping by my blog--so much going on--not good stuff, though I did get away to camp for three weeks before it all started. No phone, no internet, no TV. Thank goodness for my Kindle! Jack had a wonderful time. Why he wanted me to go outside at 2:45 a.m. I thought he wasn't feeling well and took him out; he decided he didn't want to go back in, walked over to my chair and sat down like a mule. It was tempting. I'm glad I took him because all "h*ll* broke loose when we got home.

    1. Oh, I forgot. It was so nice opening your blog and seeing those two adorable little faces looking back at me.


Thanks for visiting today. I look forward to reading your comments. Have a beautiful day.