Robert Wilson was first assigned to the 44th Missile Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base as chief of the codes division in the 1970s. The codes division did all launch, targeting, ground and flight targeting codes for the Wing. After a year and a half, he was reassigned as an Operations Officer for the 66th Strategic Missile Squadron. Mr. Wilson oversaw a crew that prepared training and evaluation materials for the missile crews. A year later he was moved to the 44th Services Squadron in charge of the dormitories and dining facilities. This included distribution and oversight of the food to all Launch Control Facilities.
William Bielmaier is a local landowner and rancher who was born in Wall, SD on May 11, 1931 and eventually operated the family ranch. Mr. Bielmaier had purchased the property where Launch Facility (missile silo) Bravo-07 was placed during the land acquisition period in the 1960s. Mr. Bielmaier recounts his thoughts and experiences with the U.S. Air Force during the time period that these missile silos were active and his feelings about the closing of the missile sites in South Dakota.
Ted Hustead was born on May 11, 1951 in Western South Dakota. He has lived nearly all of his life in the small town of Wall. He is the grandson of Ted and Dorothy Hustead, founders of the world famous Wall Drug. Ted, along with other family members, is a co-owner of the drug store. At the time of this interview, Ted was the president of the company and also managed the retail part of Wall Drug. During Ted's lifetime he saw the construction, operation and deactivation of the Minuteman missile field in the area.
Don Paulsen is a local landowner, born in New Underwood, SD on August 20, 1930. Mr. Paulsen was the office manager of West River Electric Association, Inc. for fourteen years, beginning in 1953. Around 1967, Mr. Paulsen became the general manager of the new company, Golden West Telephone Cooperative, which was spun off from the West River Electric Association. Mr. Paulsen provides his insight and views on the Minuteman missile system in South Dakota as well as working with other companies during this project.
Gene S. Williams is a native of South Dakota. He grew up east of Wall, South Dakota on a ranch. In the early 1960's the federal government procured a section of land on his parent's ranch to place a missile silo. Over thirty years later, when the 44th Missile Wing was slated for deactivation, Mr. Williams re-formed and led the Missile Area Landowner's Association. His lobbying efforts helped ensure that landowner's would have the first option in buying back their former property. At present, Mr. Williams still operates the family ranch.
John LaForge became involved in the nuclear protest movement during the late 1970s while finishing his undergraduate work in Minnesota. At the time of this interview, Mr. LaForge was co-director of Nukewatch, an organization dedicated to the abolition of nuclear weapons. He has worked as the editor of the organization's quarterly newsletter, Nukewatch Pathfinder, as well as assisting with the writing and editing of several books concerning nuclear protests.
Gary Overby was born on November 6, 1952 in Clear Lake, South Dakota, moving to Rapid City in 1959. Overby began his law enforcement career in the U.S. Army, serving in Vietnam. He then later worked for Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, Pennington County Sheriff's Office and eventually the U.S. Marshal Service at the Sioux City, Iowa office in 1980, eventually moving to the Rapid City office in 1983 to begin missile escort duty. He recounts the basic duties and experiences he had over the year that he assisted the U.S. Air Force in transporting the missiles through South Dakota. He later moved up through the ranks of the U.S. Marshal Service retiring as the agent in charge of the San Francisco Field Office in 1998.