Site Differences and Mysteries

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.

Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby D Preidis on Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:02 pm

njh621 wrote:I assume it enclosed the whole portal stair opening as well. Was it possible to close the metal cover, considering that the wooden enclosure would have been fairly small?

Also, one document I have states that only Davis-Monthan sites had a portal phone near blast door six. After a modification was installed you had to press the OPEN button on the door control and on a side panel on the LCCFC to open door six, and it had to be done at the same time (which is why the phone was there, I'm guessing). Did all three wings have this phone? It wasn't part of the emergency net; if you picked up the handset it would light PORTAL on the ALOC/LCCFC comms panel. Another part of this mod: if you opened the metal cover over the portal stairs, "OUTER ENTRANCE OPEN" would flash on the LCCFC.

It covered the entire stairway and was a lean-to design.

I have no idea about a metal cover. There was no such thing at McConnell, just the Dog House.

Regarding the phone and door six. McConnell had the modification done too. We also had a regulation that made us hook a "come-along" to door six when it was closed and then hook the other side to a chain that hooked to a beam in the blast lock area. This was to make door six more secure.
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby bedbug on Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:27 pm

from 63 to 66 after all crew and maintance was gone we would hit the button on door 7
and retract the pins enough to turn the light on . The interlock would then
not allow #6 to be opened. of course the door could be manually pumped open.

I would like to know who we were protecting our selves from with the door chained shut. If a crew was poisoned how would anyone get in. I always thought control center air intake shaft was the easiest way to break in.

I guess know one ever broke in, you might say one crew broke out. :(
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby njh621 on Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:19 pm

As far as I know, the escape shaft hatch could only be opened from the inside, and I think you had to two the two screws to open it. There's an indicator on the LCCFC that lights when the hatch is open. The DM sites had the hook and latch on either door six or seven. From what Chuck has told me, crew members referred to it as a "night-latch".

As far as a break-in is concerned, I don't think they left a pump out by door six for security reasons (I didn't see in this area at 571-7). Even if they tried to break in through the access portal, as soon as they broke through the entrapment doors it would light up OUTER ENTRANCE OPEN and INNER ENTRANCE OPEN, in addition to being spotted by the security camera.

Regarding a break in, I think if you could somehow get into the silo, a break-in would be easy. Go down to MCC-1, turn off the DP-1 and MCC-2 feeder breakers, and you've not only put the LCC on ELUs and batteries, but you've shut down HS-3. Of course, I'm making the assumption that the interlocks ran off 120vAC, not 28vDC. Of course, as soon as one of the officers catches up to you, you've got to deal with Mr. 38 Smith and Wesson :lol:.
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby Penson on Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:15 pm

njh621 wrote:As far as I know, the escape shaft hatch could only be opened from the inside


That is correct.

njh621 wrote:The DM sites had the hook and latch on either door six or seven


Seven.

njh621 wrote:As far as a break-in is concerned, I don't think they left a pump out by door six for security reasons


Also correct.

njh621 wrote:I think if you could somehow get into the silo, a break-in would be easy.


Breaking into the silo is, for all intents and purposes, impossible.
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby D Preidis on Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:31 pm

bedbug wrote:from 63 to 66 after all crew and maintance was gone we would hit the button on door 7
and retract the pins enough to turn the light on . The interlock would then
not allow #6 to be opened. of course the door could be manually pumped open.

I would like to know who we were protecting our selves from with the door chained shut. If a crew was poisoned how would anyone get in. I always thought control center air intake shaft was the easiest way to break in.

I guess know one ever broke in, you might say one crew broke out. :(

From what I remember back in the late 1970's a special security team actually broke into a site and were not noticed until they presented themselves in the control center.

It was then the new security started where we had to chain door six closed.

My memory is going but that is what I do recall.
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby AE on Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:20 pm

RE: "All of the 54 Titan II sites..."

In the interest of technical accuracy, there were 57 Titan II sites: There were 54 at the operational bases that, thankfully, never launched a missile, and there were three at Vandenberg that were actually used. And although the principal purpose of the latter was for testing and validation, it's important to remember that, for a time, these were generated into a wartime-configuration and integrated into the SIOP. Yes, strategic nuclear alerts were performed at Vandenberg too. Although sites 395-Bravo and Delta were, for the most, salvaged and what wasn't taken is now held together by the electron rings in iron oxide molecules, site 395-Charlie remains completely intact with all of the original equipment still in place and in reasonably good condition. The only thing missing is the bird in the hole. Having visited both Charlie site and Pima's Titan II museum in Arizona, I can say I found Charlie site far more impressive. One can't fully appreciate the diameter and depth of a Titan II hole until it's viewed empty. :shock: AE
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby njh621 on Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:07 pm

Correct, there are 57 Titan II sites in total: 54 operational and three VAFB test launch/training sites (395-B, 395-C, and 395-D). The VAFB sites were used operationally in the 60's under the 395th SMS, but complexes 395-B and 395-D were deactivated around 1967. 395-C was preserved and used on and off for test launches. Someone told me 395-D was sold off at some point to a salvage company for about $100,000. When the accident at 533-7, the Air Force paid the company $100,000 to salvage the thrust mount from 395-D, to replace the one lost in the accident (gaseous nitric acid...is a nasty compound to deal with).

Today, 395-B has no access portal platforms, no silo door, bare cablewlays, LCC, and blast lock, and the silo is flooded up to level 4 or so.

395-C is in good shape, fully intact but no power, but otherwise unknown. No one has been down there recently, but I can only hope it isn't flooded. If anyone has connections to the higher ups at VAFB, tell 'em to turn the power back on. If 395-C ever becomes a museum, it will be one of two fully intact sites, and the only one with a functioning silo door. I'm looking forward to some "door surfing" in the near future :lol:. If I have to pay for the electric bill personally, so be it! Fire up HS-1 and P5A and P5B and we're in business. Thinking of it now, I'm not sure if the OGE in the LCC is still there, because there were a lot of equipment racks in one of the quonset huts, including an LCCFC (which is where I got my PTPMU from). The stuff has degraded pretty quickly in there, but is still savable. Regardless, I'm hoping the LCC at 395-C is full and not stripped bare.

As for 395-D, it's pretty much in the same shape as 395-B, only it has the access portal platforms still in place. My crazy site rehab idea involved cannibalizing the platforms and transplanting them back into a 390th SMW site.

395-B and 395-D also have a large hole blasted through the launch duct on level three, most likely for the removal of the diesel generator. Surprisingly the crankcase or the bulk of the diesel engine was left at one of the sites (I think it was Delta).
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby Penson on Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:04 pm

Recently, I was using Google Earth to fly over VAFB and observed something I had not previously noticed. I noticed that the Titan II silos there are not oriented the same as at the operational wings. In KS, AR, and AZ the silos are all oriented so that the doors open to the west. At VAFB the doors open roughly southwest. More precisely, it isn't just the orientation of the doors but of the whole complex. I wonder why?
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby hockey85 on Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:18 pm

Penson wrote:Recently, I was using Google Earth to fly over VAFB and observed something I had not previously noticed. I noticed that the Titan II silos there are not oriented the same as at the operational wings. In KS, AR, and AZ the silos are all oriented so that the doors open to the west. At VAFB the doors open roughly southwest. More precisely, it isn't just the orientation of the doors but of the whole complex. I wonder why?


I never noticed it before either, but some of the Minuteman LF's at Vandenberg are situated differently than ones at other bases as well. The launcher closure door is supposed to open to the south, but the ones at Vandenberg open so the south, south east, and south west.

Since the early Titan II used the AAS auto-collimator for targeting, just like the early Minuteman missiles did, maybe the sites had to be oriented differently at Vandenberg than sites in the middle of CONUS did because of magnetic declination. The magnetic declination is much more extreme on the west coast than what it is in Kansas, North Dakota, etc. I'm not exactly sure how the old targeting system worked, but I know they had to know the exact direction of true north, the calibration monuments had to be located in exact locations around the sites, and the sighting tubes used had to be oriented in a certain direction as well, thus the whole facility had to be oriented a certain way to take that into account. I'm just taking a wild guess here, but maybe since the magnetic declination was stronger at Vandenberg, they had to orient the sites a little differently for targeting reasons, thus why the doors open in a different direction (both Titan II and Minuteman).

Of course, I'm just guessing in the reasons why the doors open in a different direction, but after thinking about it, that is the only thing I could think of. I'm sure others may have the answers.

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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby 3901smes on Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:38 pm

I was the Targeting and Alignment shop at Ellsworth. In Minuteman 1, the misile was aligned in the silo to the launch azimuth by physically rotating it in the launch tube, and the collimator was positioned at launch azimuth plus 90 degrees on the collimator bench. The missile flew out heading toward the target. At operational bases the bench allowed the missile to fly out in a cone shape corridor anywhere from the NW to NE. However at Vandenberg the missile flew WSW to Kwajelein and the LF had to be orientated differently to allow the collimator bench to include the Kwajelein launch azimuth. Minuteman II and III started out with collimators positioned on the bench at the same azimuth on all operational LFs and the missile rotated to the correct target azimuth after liftoff. The technique of Guidence system self alignment was perfected and the collimator was eliminated.

Titan LF orientation at Vandenberg may also be due to target location and flyout limitations.
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby Penson on Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:57 pm

3901smes wrote:Titan LF orientation at Vandenberg may also be due to target location and flyout limitations.


That makes sense. Thanks.
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby njh621 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:36 am

Thanks to Gary Baker (webmaster of siloworld) I've got copies of every site layout for the 390th SMW, minus Site 17. These documents eventually became the as-builts, but as early as these versions are, they still are lacking a few major details (various corrections, HF discage antenna, IRCS soft antenna, etc). Nice stuff really.
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby Megawatt on Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:15 pm

Penson wrote:
njh621 wrote:This question is for the McConnell crew members. According to deactivation documents, there was a shelter over the access portal entrance at the McConnell sites. Was this just a metal shack of shorts with a door leading to the portal stairs?


Not sure of the construction material, but yes, it was designed mostly to keep snow out of the stairwell.


I don't have a picture of it, but it definiley covered the entire stairwell. The window was installed after the initial construction, until the sites went active the contractors had a few issues when the doors were opened into someone's face on the inside. The door open inward as I recall, because of the snow issue.

As an aside, my crew once pull a 48 hour plus alert, because crew members could not get to the base from their homes because of the snow in the Wichita area. There were drifts up to fifteen feet in downtown! Most of the married and a lot of the unmarried SAC personnel lived off base because as a tennant organization, TAC had housing priority.
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby njh621 on Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:48 am

I found another copy of the McConnell Deactivation blueprints (half scale) when digging around in the kitchen in the LCC at 1-7 (there was stuff stored up there). There is a nice drawing of the snow cover in there, I'll post it when I get a chance.
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Re: Site Differences and Mysteries

Postby njh621 on Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:27 am

Here's the diagram I mentioned, straight from the deact prints.

Image
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