A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
President Clinton has signed a bill establishing the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Included in the site are the Delta 1 Launch Control Center and Delta 9 Launch Facility of the 44th Missile Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City in western South Dakota. President Kennedy brought the Minuteman system on line during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. It was, he said, his "ace in the hole." The missiles could reach the Soviet Union in 30 minutes or less. "It was a weapon for which there was virtually no defense," says the Air Force's Tim Pavek, "for a war no one could win." Deactivation of the missiles at Ellsworth, mandated by the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, was completed on July 4, 1994.