el forko grande

For general discussion with your fellow Minuteman III crewdogs, maintainers and cops. Currently based at Minot AFB, ND, Malmstrom AFB, MT, and F. E. Warren AFB, WY. Formerly based at Grand Forks AFB, ND. Operational from 17 Apr 1970 to present. Share your stories and meet up with an old friend.

Re: el forko grande

Postby 3901smes on Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:52 pm

The HEST test footage you saw on the DVD and debris falling into the launch tube were two separate silo tests performed by the depot (Hill AFB) hardness group many years ago to simulate a nearby nuclear detonation. I use to work there and have view the original 16mm films of the test many times.

In a nuclear detonation there are several effects (ovepressure, ground shock, radiation, heat, debris, EMP) that the hardness group had to simulate to ensure the weapon system (LCC, LF, HICs) would survive. The HEST test was designes to simulate the overpressure affect which pushed down on the earth. The LER headworks, being at essentially ground level, will actually be pushed a certain amount. That is why there is an expansion joint at the top of the LER and launch tube and a beta seal around the bottom of the LER and LT. The LT actually does not get pushed down much because to is deeper. The LT is more suspetable to the sideways ground shock component of a detonation. The reason for the missile cage and foam blocks.

To simulate the overpressure engineers placed lots of explosive primer cord on racks in a room over the launcher closer then the room was covered with manny feet of dirt to focus the explosive force downward. When the cord was detonated there was an initial downward motion you saw in the videos. The dirt was also lifted up. When it can back down it induced a much bigger downware force so if you look at the videos again you can see the LER moving twice, at least in the 16mm films I saw.

The other test was a test of the LC debris system. A test level of dirt was placed over the silo and I believe in front of the door (or that was another test), and the LC was opened using the BGG's. The debris system was not designed to catch everthing but was suppose to mitigate the debris component of a detonation.
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Re: el forko grande

Postby hockey85 on Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:58 pm

Thanks for explaining. It must have been the 16mm slides footage they recorded to the DVD because it was grainy footage and there was no sound. Still very interesting to watch though.

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Col Horton and Other Stories

Postby JerryDHj on Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:52 pm

"One of the Wing/CCs was the late Col. Frank Horton. Which leads to his other idea:"The Warrior of the North." I was stationed at GF from June 1980--Aug 1984 with the 446thSMS. I remember COL Horton at, I believe, an ORI debrief--first, COL Horton was not a very tall person, he's on the stage and from behind the podium pulls out this huge broadsword (the Warrior of the North's) and brings it up in a salute, stating--"The Warriors of the North salute you!" Here's this little guy, with this huge sword being as formal and serious as possible--but I remember the whole row of guys I was sitting with just about lost it.

After GF, I went to Ellsworth where I was the Minuteman Education Program Det commander. My wife and I were in the Rapid CIty mall a few years after leaving GF. I saw COL Horton (he may have received his 1st star by then), looking at some Black Hills gold in one of those displays in the hallways. I went up to him and said, "Excuse me COl Horton, you may not remember--nd before I could finish, he stated my name and a couple of GF stories. I was impressed that he remembered me. By the way, does any one know how he died?

One of the big stories when I was there--related elsewhere in the forum was the missileer bandit--ol' Dave was my next door neighbor. Quite a shock when everything came out--I had no idea all of the stuff that surronded that whole incident.

Then there was the B-0 ghost, I believe is also somewhere in the forums. That was my last site after starting with A-0, then to C-0. I don't know if I really believe in ghosts, but there were some strange things that happned in that LCC that I never experienced in any of the others--seeing things move, feeling like I was being touched, hearing noises in the back thinking the deputy was up--only to see that wasn't the case.

The story of the deputy being chased by an irate husband around the base. My wife worked as a nurse at a nursing home, and one of her coworkers had separated from her husband waiting on the finalizationof a divorce. My wife introduced the nurse to this single deputy (we went through Vandy togther). The husband, was still jealous and didn't want his soon to be ex seeing other men. He found out about the two. The husband (retired military) lured the deputy to the commissary parking lot if I remember correctly, and was dressed in a wig, dress and make-up. When the deputy got to the parking lot and got out of his car, the other guy got out and started chasing him around area. The SPs caught them. The deputy was released from the AF--not for seeing the women, but for making a statement, that he later changed--so he was released for making a false statement--he had several years prior enlisted.

There was also the great sheep massacre. Two of the 446th guys were heading to E-0, I believe, and ran into a bunch of sheep as they went over a hill--they didn't see them until it was too late. They actually killed several with tools in the vehicle that had been badly injured but not outright killed when hit. They were pretty shaken about the incident--and we all feared them :)

The last dealt with the survice elevator in the missile wing block house. Crew members were not allowed to use the elevator. We had to trudge up and down the stairs--unless a person with a key offered a ride. Or, after hours and on the week ends when we would just pop the doors open and ride. My deputy was upset about all the various folks that had keys--including the wing commanders secretary. So, one weekend, he filled out some 1492 danger tags, and tagged the elevator at each level. I think it was about a month before anyone figured out that the elevator wasn't broken--except for those of use who knew and continued to ride it on the weekends. I remember following the wing commander's secretary up the stairs one morning going off about maintenance taking their sweet time in getting it fixed--not a happy person.

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Re: el forko grande

Postby SAC Killer on Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:16 am

Hmm, a lot of stuff about GF!

1. Frank committed suicide. I don't remember when, sometime in the 90s. He got a 2nd star and was at DIA. I bumped into him then, at one of the military hospitals here in the DC area. He remembered me too. He was quite a guy.

2. The elevator in the blockhouse. I don't remember any requirement for keys. I wonder if there was a 2nd elevator I never knew about. We maintenance types used the main elevator all the time. So did the cops, who were also in the building. When you always climb ladders on the sites, you use the elevator when one is available! :) Some maintenance shops were on the first floor (duh!) and the maintenance staff was on the second. Other maintenance (OMMS) was in another building across the parking lot. Facilities branch shops were in the blockhouse: facility maintenance (diesels & HVAC), periodic maintenance (all the stuff that only got done once a year (LCCs) or twice a year (LFs)), pneudraulics, & corrosion control. I'm VERY PROUD to say those were my people for a while.

Wing was on the third, the ops squadrons & I guess the DO were on the fourth. The third also had a little cafeteria that was popular.

To Frank's credit, he recognized the FMMS guys for what they contributed to readiness. Before he and the best DCM Tony Hogan came along (he later became wing vice commander), all the glory went to the MMT "animals." Because they touched the missile. There's much more to an LF than the flight vehicle.

Future Wing CCs: the stuff on the ground keeps the missile and ground electronics alive. Don't forget to give credit to the ones who have the dirty, low-tech subsystems. You need those people much more than they need you.
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Re: el forko grande

Postby JerryDHj on Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:34 pm

SAC Killer-

1. Frank committed suicide. ****Sorry to hear that.***
2. The elevator in the blockhouse. I don't remember any requirement for keys. I wonder if there was a 2nd elevator I never knew about. We maintenance types used the main elevator all the time. So did the cops, ***Correct. There were a lot of folks who got to use it--the LCC crews were told to take the stairs, unless they could catch a ride. I did finally receive a key in early Jan. '84. I took a spill at B-0 on some snow covered ice outside the gate and messed up my back. I was put on profile and given a key so I didn't have to use the stairs.
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Re: Col Horton and Other Stories

Postby PASMAN II on Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:36 pm

JerryDHj wrote:Then there was the B-0 ghost, I believe is also somewhere in the forums. That was my last site after starting with A-0, then to C-0. I don't know if I really believe in ghosts, but there were some strange things that happned in that LCC that I never experienced in any of the others--seeing things move, feeling like I was being touched, hearing noises in the back thinking the deputy was up--only to see that wasn't the case.



Holy crap! Jerry, I remember the Bravo ghost. As a new crew-pup, I pulled most of my alerts at (smelly) Echo. For some reason, we seemed to average 1 alert a month at Bravo. I was crewed with Chip Harper back then, and he told me how some construction worker fell into the wet cement LCC form and died. I always thought this was bullshit, but Chip really seemed to believe it. Anyway, after one really busy alert at Bravo, when things finally began to settle down, Chip hits the rack for some MCCC beauty sleep. About a hour later, I hear yelling and banging near the bed. As I'm rounding the corner by the AFSAT rack to see WTF is going on, I meet Chip coming at me, gun drawn, wild-eyed, half naked, yelling at me to "get him". Chip passes me and keeps running toward the blast door. Chip stops and turns to me and asks if I saw "it". Me? See "it"? I'm just praying that crazy fucker doesn't shoot me. I finally get Chip calmed down. Tried to convince him it was just a bad dream. Chip refused to go back to sleep for the rest of the alert. A couple of old heads told me they thought Bravo was being visited by Aliens. Who knows?
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Re: el forko grande

Postby hockey85 on Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:13 am

Interesting stories. I like them!

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Re: el forko grande

Postby SAC Killer on Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:20 am

Something for future wing/CCs to consider.

I'm not sure where this should go in the forum, but I'm thinking about it now so I'm putting it here. I always thought the most dangerous job on an LF was a diesel generator set installation. In Wing VI, the LF sets weighed about 4,000 pounds, the LCF sets about 6,000. The technique was to put the diesel on a cart. Manhandle it over the hinged walkway into the LEB, and hope nobody got pushed off into the fishbowl. Lots of sticky-outy things down there to send you to the hospital. The cart always had a mind of its own and tried to go places the team didn't want. Then, take off 1/4 of the doghouse so you can roill the diesel in. Put two very brave techs at the inside end of the doghouse. Their job is to keep the diesel from slamming into the end of the doghouse, while clipping their legs off at the shins as it goes through the doghouse wall. All they have to do that is muscle power and trust that the other 4 guys don't push it too hard at them. They literally have no place to run if things go awry.

Every time I watched it my heart was in my throat, waiting for a disaster. Still gives me the shivers to think about it after 20+ years. Surely there is a safer way.
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Re: el forko grande

Postby Warrior Of the North on Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:07 am

B-00 being haunted that I never heard - everyone said B-13 was haunted. but never had any problems there, we did have some issues with a Lima LF (dont recall which one) was out doing PMT (me thinks this was around the 13 of the month) supposedly this LF was built on a native american burial site, we joked about the black oooz (dried tar like substance that was streaking the walls of the LEB access shaft) anyway everything we calibrated took a crap, IZ & OZ didnt want to set up, when we left for the night to RON, but finally took. went back out the next day to finish up (minor stuff usually & clean up) but had to do most of the things over that were touched the 1st day, but this time everything cal'd fine.

I dont remember having to R&R a generator but I was sent out on a couple occasions with the crane but there was some problem with getting a flat bed to bring out the generator, went out once to train some others on brine chiller R&R from a LCEB and yes that was not fun thinking bout it toppling off the shock isolated floor or even becoming a runaway & chasing us round the equipment bldg or access shaft. :o Rule # 1 if diving into the fish bowl stay out of the bear trap,
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Re: el forko grande

Postby ornurse362 on Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:38 pm

Tony Hogan had a motto plastered on an office plaque and on his memo pads .... "The footprints in the sands of time were often made by brogans."

SAC Killer wrote:Hmm, a lot of stuff about GF!

(snip) Before he and the best DCM Tony Hogan came along (he later became wing vice commander), all the glory went to the MMT "animals." Because they touched the missile. There's much more to an LF than the flight vehicle.

Future Wing CCs: the stuff on the ground keeps the missile and ground electronics alive. Don't forget to give credit to the ones who have the dirty, low-tech subsystems. You need those people much more than they need you.
Last edited by ornurse362 on Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: el forko grande

Postby ornurse362 on Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:07 pm

Yeah, I pretty much concur with the reporting official WRT LCEB diesel R&R but there t'weren't nuthin' like R&R of the LF brine chiller!

I mean, you had to get a crane out to the LF and hope it would start up or had managed to remain running the entire distance and time from the base to the LF. Then, there was the LEB cover to be removed. When the cover lifted from the concrete form, it sometimes would act like a wing and fly off, with you dragged by one of the guide ropes. The trick was to raise the lid only high enough to clear all obstructions between the LEB access shaft and your ground location. All this time, other team members (hopefully) had disconnected the chiller, jacked it up onto the cart, and moved it into the access shaft.

Lifting the old unit was generally a piece of cake, unless you lost control and crashed into sumpin'. Lowering the new unit was purt' near as easy.

Moving the unit up the ramp into the LEB required grunts, a lot of grunting, come-alongs, banged fingers and knuckles. Once in the LEB, yes, the cart had a mind of its own. Then positioning the unit PRECISELY onto the bolt holes could be a challenge; sometimes it was better to be lucky than good.

Returning the LEB lid wasn't always a piece of cake either. It had to be positioned PRECISELY onto the shaft concrete form, otherwise there could be recurring OZ faults.

Anyway, that's how I remember it all.


SAC Killer wrote:Something for future wing/CCs to consider.

I'm not sure where this should go in the forum, but I'm thinking about it now so I'm putting it here. I always thought the most dangerous job on an LF was a diesel generator set installation. In Wing VI, the LF sets weighed about 4,000 pounds, the LCF sets about 6,000. The technique was to put the diesel on a cart. Manhandle it over the hinged walkway into the LEB, and hope nobody got pushed off into the fishbowl. Lots of sticky-outy things down there to send you to the hospital. The cart always had a mind of its own and tried to go places the team didn't want. Then, take off 1/4 of the doghouse so you can roill the diesel in. Put two very brave techs at the inside end of the doghouse. Their job is to keep the diesel from slamming into the end of the doghouse, while clipping their legs off at the shins as it goes through the doghouse wall. All they have to do that is muscle power and trust that the other 4 guys don't push it too hard at them. They literally have no place to run if things go awry.

Every time I watched it my heart was in my throat, waiting for a disaster. Still gives me the shivers to think about it after 20+ years. Surely there is a safer way.
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Re: el forko grande

Postby SAC Killer on Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:15 am

ornurse362, you are correct! Aligning that LEB cover could be a real pain, especially in wind. And all the carts had a mind of their own when they were pushed over the hinged walkway. What scared me about the diesel changes was the fact that the cart frame was right at shin level, and the guys in the doghouse who had to stop it literally had no place to run if things went wrong. Typically, after the diesel generator set was put onto the floor, the troops used 30 pound pry bars to hammer it around the floor until the mounting holes lined up enough to install the bolts.

Somehow I never ended up supervising a chiller replacement at a site. But I remember one we did during a really bad winter. Wind chills were -100 F and lower. The lieutenant we sent out to supervise told me later that it was so cold, the crane took much longer to raise and lower the chillers than in "normal" temperatures, because the hydraulic fluid had greatly thickened. The team took a BT-400 heater along. Our young lt. walked around with the plenum, blowing warm air onto the troops in turn and occasionally on himself.

The troops got AFAMs for doing that job under those conditions. Usually we wouldn't have done it in that kind of weather. But in this case, replacing the chiller let the cops pull a camper team off the site. The bosses figured it wasn't safe to leave them on site under those conditions and it was hard to argue the point.

I simply cannot convey how cold a -100 wind chill is. Although I didn't do a chiller change, I was on the sites in that kind of cold.

I'd forgotten about Tony's "brogan" motto! He was a good guy, I hope he is doing well.
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Re: el forko grande

Postby jhnbollinger on Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:25 pm

Those A-16 Cranes were nice in fair weather, If was too hot they would vapor lock, Too cold and you would have problems with the hydraulic systems. Too bad the Air Force did not buy those nice diesel ones, Watch the guys on the tag lines on a windy day. I can remember a base reg where no personnel to be working outside at minus 50 plus, but we always did . TCC road conditions went green yellow and red, I can remember going by the BCE house on the way out the gate for commanders safety briefing at TCC red, I wonder what all of the other commanders thought seeing a convoy of tractor trailers and dump trucks rolling through base housing at 22:00 hours...Man it was cold there during the winter is all I can say.
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Re: el forko grande

Postby SAC Killer on Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:23 pm

And if you didn't position the A-16 just exactly so, when you tried to lift a diesel generator set you would trip all the safeties. Whoever bought those things didn't seem to have bothered to find out how much they had to lift, or in what kind of weather. I remember one diesel change where we spent a good 20 minutes rolling the crane back and forth, back and forth, until we finally got it in the right spot.

I hope they've been junked by now and replaced with something better.
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Re: el forko grande

Postby banjodog on Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:16 pm

jhnbollinger wrote:Those A-16 Cranes were nice in fair weather, If was too hot they would vapor lock, Too cold and you would have problems with the hydraulic systems. Too bad the Air Force did not buy those nice diesel ones


At Malmstrom we hardly used the a-16, usually only for b-plug lockouts. We had what we called a Warren crane, basically a large GMC flatbed truck with the crane bolted on the back end (beyond the rear axles). Thus, the truck would bounce nicely over some railroad crossings (as in "front wheels off the ground", this with calcium-filled tires & weights on the front bumper). You can imagine what MNX troops would do driving this thing over bumps & crossings....

The Warren crane itself would handle an M/G or battery with ease and it had pretty good range of motion too. You could fit 4 batteries on the flatbed, maybe 6. However, the trucks they were mounted to were junk. They must have had 250,000 miles on the engines (gas, I think) and they'd wheeze up even the smallest hills. You'd have to duck after going over a bump so you didn't hit your head.

The a-16 was usually pre-loaded onto a flatbed for things like ORI's, NSI's and visits from the Russians (what were they called?) as it took a while to get it on the flatbed (had about 2" of space on either side). It got far more use being driven on/off the flatbed in the VECB parking lot than it did on site.
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