Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman console?

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Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman console?

Postby wally on Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:50 am

Story told to me way back when I was an impressionable deputy--the round cutouts on the Deuce consoles were for ashtrays. By the time I got there in the early 90s the ashtrays themselves were gone, but the cutouts were great for paperclips, etc. Unfortunately, IIRC, they were just >< that much too small to fit the base of a can of Diet Coke. True, or old wives tale? Did the Minuteman consoles have built-in ashtrays?

Discussion came up on another board about B29s being designed with ashtrays at each crew station, and made me wonder. I found pictures of the ashtray in the Titan commander's console:

Image

and what looks like it for Atlas, but can't find anything for MM.
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby TerrorOfTucson on Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:20 am

I don't remember built-in ashtrays. I don't remember any at D-M with those control boxes on the side of the LCCFC, but there were 9 more years in operation after my time and that's a 390th emblem on the red notebook... I didn't smoke, so I wouldn't have paid attention to that. I do remember those GSA 2-piece 4" round aluminum ones on Levels 1 & 2. Is this pic is from 1-7, and "current" as in '82 or later? I remember no holes or ashtrays in Boeing consoles, and they were built at the same time as Titan II.

I did see a 321st LCC back in the early '80s, but paid no attention to holes in consoles. What year was your first alert?
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby silo warrior on Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:34 am

The control box you see is blast door six open alarm and open button. The crew had to push the button on the LCCFC for door six to open. Don't know when they were installed but were there when I got there in 78. The ash trays were built in to the consoles. I smoked while on crew and if I used that ash tray I had to be sure and empty it before change over. I don't remembr there being one on the ALOC guess they figured only the MCCC was going to smoke.

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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby Batman on Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:34 pm

I don't remember the MM consoles having any ash trays built in - we all used the GSA aluminum ash trays. The ashes were perfect for erasing grease pencil on checklists and plexiglass.
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby wally on Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:02 am

TerrorofTucson--my first alert was Feb of 1990. IIRC, smoking was technically not allowed in the capsule by then (not a smoker, and none of my crew partners were), but when the entire volume of air is replaced every 15 minutes by a very effective air conditioning system, well, what happens half an hour before changeover never gets noticed.

Batman--I couldn't think of any place on the old CDB/ILCS consoles where an ash tray would be located; I was talking specifically for the Deuce consoles.

Though it's interesting that they would build it into the Titan console, but not MM.
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby silo warrior on Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:28 pm

If you Google TITAN 1 launch consoles it will come up with pictures and drawings. The TITAN 1 console looks almost identical to the TITAN 2. They were both built by The Martin Companies . The TITAN 1 has a built in ash tray. The TITAN 2 was developed out of the TITAN 1 so my guess is they already had the consoles designed and maybe built that's why there are ash try's on both. Minuteman was built by a different contractor maybe there designer did not smoke and so no need for ash trays?

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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby bedbug on Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:46 pm

I was an MFT it DM 570th from start up until 1966.

Your comments reminded me that the CO always lit up and smokes after a message came in, then flicked his ashes on the plastic page.

I visited 571-1 and thought it strange to have a electric interlock on the blast door 6, Anyone wanting in could have pumped the actuators out and open the door from the access portal.

I understand the turn buckle to protect the missile and crew from rioters.
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby MajorG1000 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:39 am

At Minot, I think we had the amber glass 8 inch ashtrays. I smoked at the time and it was accepted as part of the culture. Prior to changeover, you would empty the ashtray and clean it out. It soon changed and when I went to Missie Maintenance at Ellsworth, they had come up with "Designated Smoking Areas" like the Break Rooms. Then it was Outside Only and then moved to 50 feet from the entrance. By the time I left the service, you couldn't smoke within 50 feet of a building, and had to field dress and dispose of your butts. It wasn't pretty if you were caught throwing your butts on the ground. I can still remember the stench of the smoldering butt cans... Of course, I no longer smoke, and can only hope and pray that whatever damage I inflicted upon myself is minimal.
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby wally on Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:08 pm

So no Deuce veterans around?
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby TerrorOfTucson on Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:27 pm

Might want to cross-post to the MMII Deuce and REACT-B Deuce forums, even though there's not much activity there. Four squadrons compared to 18 does cut down on the numbers of those who might post there, if they even know these forums exist. I am reminded that someone maybe should get something on AAFM about this, and maybe that someone ought to be me, so I just did,
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby TerrorOfTucson on Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:13 pm

Well, there's a link posted here: http://afmissileers.org/keepinginf.html
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby DataDude on Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:20 pm

While on the topic of ashtrays…

Whiteman guys turned keys on a F bird FOT&E sortie at Vandenberg in the summer of ’76. The thing boomed out of the launch tube at LF05 and immediately did a large 180 loop and flopped on its side near the beach between LF04 and LF05. Through telemetry we found the RSO hit the “oh-sh!t” button about ½ of a second before the impact and split all three stages into a gillion pieces. Talk about an impressive explosion! Some of us on the LST team also needed a BVD R&R as well.

After the brush fires were put out range safety, division guys, BMO and the base fire department wouldn’t let anyone near the impact site for several days. After Boeing, AF EOD and the fire department cleaned up and removed the biggest pieces they could find 394th EMT/MMT guys were tasked to make a final walk through the area and pickup anything that might be related to the impact and put what they found in some large burlap sacks.

One of the EMT guys came back to the shop with a chunk of what he thought was solid propellant. Well, there was only one way to find out! The piece of what we thought might be solid propellant was about the size of a grape so it really couldn’t cause too much damage. Or could it? There was only one way to find out.

The EMTer put the piece of propellant into a round amber colored AF issued glass ashtrays sitting on one of those old style grey steel AF tables in the middle of the shop. He flicked his BIC and lit the chunk of what may or may not be solid propellant. When the flame hit the grape sized chunk of something it immediately spewed into a white hot mass of fire and sparks. It split the ashtray, sat on the table for about a half second before it burned through and wound up on the concrete floor where it sat there hissing and popping for a couple more seconds before it went out.

We stood there dumbfounded looking at the mushroom cloud of gray/white smoke that had reached the ceiling. The only thing someone said was a whispered “fawk!”
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby TerrorOfTucson on Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:20 am

Great story!
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby MajorG1000 on Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:22 am

That IS a great story! So...did you guys ever determine if it was propellant, or just a rabbit turd from a Jackalope?

...a bit off the subject, but not really. I had a talk with John Mollison this evening after reading his latest blog entry. (I get to read them prior to them being put out for general consumption, and I get to make comments on them too...not that he listens...) I mentioned that he needs to sit down with us sometime and get some of OUR stories... Sure, they aren't combat, edge of the seat tales, but we accumulated a lot of stories, that taken as a group are worth having written down. Like this one. Put that in the back of your minds as something to think about. We all know we have them...stories that is, and there may come a time in the not too distant future where they are actually taken seriously.
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Re: Random question of the night: ashtrays in Minuteman cons

Postby Batman on Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:22 pm

Well, I have a couple of good (possibly edge of seat) stories to tell the grandkids. Like the time the alert KC-135 caught fire and nearly exploded at the same time we and our sister flight got simultaneous OZs and the their SAT B-man decided to eat a bullet when he was downstairs in the LCEB. I'm sure others could pitch in too.
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