My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

For general discussion with your fellow Titan II crewdogs, maintainers and cops. Formerly based at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, Little Rock AFB, AR, and McConnell AFB, KS. On Alert from 31 Dec 1963 to 23 June 1987. Share your stories and meet up with an old friend.

My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby njh621 on Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:05 am

Well..today was my visit to the museum...and if I were to sum up the day in a word, it would be "woah". I met with Chuck Penson, the museum archivist, and got to look through some of the museum's documents. Then, unexpectedly, I was given a personal tour of topside, all levels of the LCC, all levels on the silo (peered into the launch duct about three times), and got to ride the access portal elevator back up. We waited till the tour group left, and I got to sit at the LCCFC. Tomorrow I get to visit 571-3, so I'll be sure to post some pictures...

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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby hockey85 on Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:21 am

Awesome. A personal tour top to bottom would have been really nice when I went. Have fun the rest of your time there!

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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby bedbug on Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:34 am

You said you used the portal elevator. Did you use the silo elevator or the vertical ladder.

Once a year you had to take a physical exercise test. To get ready the BMAT and I would finish daily inspection down at bottom, put our stuff on the elevator, press level 2 shut the door then go up the ladder and get to the elevator before it got their. That was when we were not required to have all the lids all shut.

Happy you had a good time and that they treated better than just another visitor. We were out to
Tuscon in 2002 and visited their. First time back after getting out of military in 1966. Wife grew up in Tuscon and didn't ever want to go back.

Pima County has a lot of planes also. Broke my heart that on the way out D-M gate you could see them chopping up B-36s and B-47s.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby njh621 on Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:20 pm

We took the silo elevator, but we skipped over level 4, because Chuck said the only thing interesting on that level was the air washer. The ladder to HS-1 on level 1 was sorta difficult to climb, with that odd step as you climb up the second ladder. The ladder to the other side of level 1 was nice because it had a slope to it.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby D Preidis on Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:31 pm

bedbug wrote:You said you used the portal elevator. Did you use the silo elevator or the vertical ladder.

Once a year you had to take a physical exercise test. To get ready the BMAT and I would finish daily inspection down at bottom, put our stuff on the elevator, press level 2 shut the door then go up the ladder and get to the elevator before it got their. That was when we were not required to have all the lids all shut. < SNIP >

In clear violation of two-man policy my MFT would ride up the elevator while I would put the chin strap on and race up the ladders ramming open the hatches with my hard hat.

Even with the odd placement of the ladder at one of the levels, I can't remember wich level but you had to run around the equipment area, I could always beat my MFT to level 2.

One of my Commanders and I would go topside after everyone left the complex and we would use the helicopter gate key to go out the back of the fence and then we would run the access road around the facility for two to three miles then return to the LCC. That was the way we stayed in shape.

This was a BIG no-no but then most crews did unauthorized things that were not dangerous.

Doug
Last edited by D Preidis on Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby bedbug on Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:44 pm

They must have changed rules a lot. In 1966 the officers could not leave control center. My MCCC ask several times to run the check list with me in the silo and was turned down. He might be traped by blast doors problems. Sounds like, if I was traped they would have launched any.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby njh621 on Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:26 am

Well, the visit to 571-3 has been pushed back to tomorrow, but I did manage to find and photograph 571-2, 571-4, and 571-5. Didn't wanted to walk down to 571-5, because there was a sign that basically said "US Govt Land...you trespass...you got to jail", and because there were cars down there. The site is owned by the forest service, and they use it for an emergency fire helicopter base. As I was leaving, a forest service truck pulled out of the site, and I asked the guy if I could look at the site. He said not at the moment, because a helicopter was due to come in, but I was welcome to come and check out the site later.

Another funny story...after I had finished up at 571-4, and was heading back to the car, I noticed that about three police cars were stationed at the end of the access road (yes, at this point, I was thinking "Oh...Sh*t...). I was a little worried, but when I talked to one of the officers, he said they were just patrolling around, when they saw the car, and they wanted to see who was at the site (it's owned by the county, they mined it for fill dirt as you'll see, and the police officer told me people come back there all the time, to shoot or to look at the site, and that they don't have a problem with it, they were just on the lookout for drug trafficking/ other illegal activities).

And here are the pictures...

Note: I didn't get to walk beyond the hardstands, or the access road, because my dad was a little uneasy, and he didn't want to run into any rattle snakes (the site is pretty un-level, hilly, and overgrown now, and apparently rattlers' are pretty active this time of year...)
Street sign by 571-2
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Cattle guard gate, entrance to 571-2
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Me walking down the access road at 571-2
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571-2 Outer Fence
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Gate control/ gate phone conduit, located near the former security gate, 571-2
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Well at 571-2
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Hardstand 1, 571-2
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Marked spot with hole, hardstand 1, 571-2
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Hardstand 2 at 571-2
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Me on antenna silo, 571-4
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Me on LCC dome, 571-4
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Exposed Access Portal, 571-4 (Note: You can really see how much dirt was removed from the site)
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Exposed Antenna silos and manhole J, 571-4 (again, you can really see how much dirt is gone)
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Me in front of 571-5 sign
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Me disappointed after reading and following the sign (this was taken before my talk with the fire guy)
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-Nick
Last edited by njh621 on Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby bedbug on Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:38 pm

Preidis:

Were back gates and chopper pads built at start up or added ?

D-M did not have chopper pads that I ever heard about. Maybe it was the parking slab
by the frount gate.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby bedbug on Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:03 pm

I new that the LCC dome was 18 inches thick and had packed durt over it.

I did not see or know that it had a steel cap. We got to go out to a site while
it was being built.

I looked for a cliping I had from the Tuscon paper that the silos were poured in a
contious operation. About 18 days to pour. They had a 30 ft. wide steel band
on the outside and raised it up about 10 ft. each day.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby D Preidis on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:01 pm

bedbug wrote:Preidis:

Were back gates and chopper pads built at start up or added ?

D-M did not have chopper pads that I ever heard about. Maybe it was the parking slab
by the frount gate.

I got to McConnell AFB in 1976 and all the sites had a standard three foot wide gate/door at the back locked with a padlock. The chopper pad was about 25 yards back from that.

The bright boys at CE thought we would need a place to stand away from the rain while waiting (yea, right) for the choppers to land so they poured a small pad by the fence and then bolted old B-52 nose cones to the pad. There was not enough room for more than two people and the shape was such that you would get wet anyway and the wind would just whip around the shroud.

In reality the choppers would radio the capsule when they saw the site so we could just take the elevator up and meet them just as they landed.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby D Preidis on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:09 pm

bedbug wrote:They must have changed rules a lot. In 1966 the officers could not leave control center. My MCCC ask several times to run the check list with me in the silo and was turned down. He might be traped by blast doors problems. Sounds like, if I was traped they would have launched any.

Things had changed since you were there.

First, Both the BMAT and MFT started their EWO training at Vandyland and before they could pull alerts they did a full cert with their crew in front of the Wing King.

The two enlisted troops were responsible for decoding the BVLC unlock codes while the officers ran the other parts of the EWO checklist. This was because the timing for our launches went from alot to message receipt and key turn in just a couple of minutes.

As long as one officer and one enlisted was on level two the others could roam freely through the complex.

The enlisted monthly EWO training always included running all the checklist just like the officers.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby njh621 on Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:40 pm

I went back to 571-5 and 571-2 yesterday, I did take some pictures, but I'm a little on the lazy side right now, so I'll have them up in the next post. One thing I noticed at 571-5 (which, again is used by the forest service for a fire helicopter base) is that it look like they built something on top of the access portal, either they dug it out and accessed the LCC (you'll see the pictures), or they just dug part way. There are stairs and what looks like a hoist opening, but both were sealed off (the stairway cover was welded shut, and the hoist way was locked). There was a vent that I peered into, and it looks like they have something down there.

Now for a funny story...went back to 571-2 yesterday (which, again, the access road cattle gate was blocked with wire, but there weren't any no trespassing signs). So I'm standing on one of the hardstands with a friend of mine, and my dad. Just as I suggested we go take a look at what appeared to be an antenna silo, this red car comes barreling (yes, barreling...you could see this big ass cloud of dust) up the access road, and does a huge spin, right on the hardstand, where we were all standing.

In this car, is a crazy-looking lady (who was appropriately nicknamed hereafter "crack-head Betty") who proceeded to yell out "This is private property! You need to leave NOW!". So we calmly answered "ok", not wanting to make trouble (my friend had his hand on his holstered pistol, because he thought something was up). Immediately after that, she just does another crazy spin, on the handstand, and goes flying down the access road again. How the hell she got past our cars (we blocked the access gate) or saw us, neither one of us knew. At that point, all of us were thinking "What the hell just happened here?". I personally think she either has a bad problem with trespassers (she really should get a sign in that case), she's hiding/ doing something illegal on the site, or she is one very strange woman.

Maybe before I leave, I should place a sign at the gate, that reads as followed: "WARNING: MISSILE SITE 571-2. BEWARE OF BETTY AND HER INSANE DRIVING ABILITY" :D.

-Nick
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby njh621 on Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:48 pm

These are the overdue pictures from my visit to 571-5 (by the way, I arrived back home yesterday, safe and sound). The site is owned by the US Forest Service, and it is used as a helibase for fire-fighting helicopters.Chuck has confirmed my suspicion that the forest service has, in fact, dug out the access portal, and has regained access to the LCC (whether they have power and water down there is beyond me). For some reason, I forgot to take pictures of the hardstands, but trust me, you're not missing much :). If I don't exceed my limit with Flickr, I'll see if I can get my pictures of 571-3 up.

Note on 571-3: There is now a caretaker on site, and a security fence is in the process of going up. The long cableway opening has been reburied, but the caretaker says the opening might be reopened at a later date.

Access Portal, with new concrete poured around the sides, and metal decking covering the original dimensions:
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Buried Rebar:
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Manhole (partially covered with brush):
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Manhole #2 (this might be manhole J, I can't remember where I found this one):
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IRCS Silo #1:
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IRCS Silo #2:
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Hard HF Antenna Silo:
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IRCS Soft Antenna pad (that cover is non-original, and is just resting on the pad):
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Unknown hole #1:
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Unknown hole #2:
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Unknown hole #3:
Image

Unknown hole #4:
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Unknown hole #5:
Image
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby Penson on Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:46 pm

Nick;

Thanks for the pictures. The unknown holes 1-4 are "crane cradles." They were used to secure the cranes used to install or remove the missile from the silo. What you see is only the tip of the iceberg. They go down about four feet and bloom into an immense square of concrete about 4 feet square and 18 inches thick. I think there are four or five altogether. Several have been dug up at 1-9 and are laying in a heap on the ground.

Unknown number 5 is a tag line anchor. They secured one end of a rope used to help guide the missile's stages and RV into the silo. There were a bunch of them.

Not enough information to identify the manholes.
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Re: My Visit To 571-7 (The Museum)

Postby njh621 on Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:11 am

If I remember correctly, manhole #1 was found close to the hard HF antenna silo, and manhole #2 was closer to the two hard IRCS antenna silos (to my knowledge, neither one was part of an antenna silo). Thanks for the information regarding the unknown holes; I had assumed they were either poles or guard posts that were cut to grade and removed.
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