Missile Maintainer at work on a Minuteman
Missile Maintainer at work on a Minuteman in a Launch Facility

Ellsworth Air Force Base


Telling Stories From The Cold War

From the late 1940's until the early 1990's the United States was front and center in an era known to history as the Cold War. This conflict involved political, economic, cultural and military confrontation between the democratic capitalist system of the United States and its allies versus the communist totalitarian system of the Soviet Union and its allies. The conflict was personified by a nuclear arms race which threatened destruction of both sides yet kept an uneasy peace. All aspects of life in the United States were influenced by the Cold War.

Beyond the high level geo-politics, all history is local; in western South Dakota families learned to live with nuclear weapons literally in their backyard, young male and female missileers were given control of unprecedented military power and maintenance teams working at missile silos in almost unimaginable winter weather conditions. The essence of history is the story of humanity, the essence of Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is a human story and how it was shaped by the forces of technology to protect freedom and democracy.

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    Last updated: December 22, 2017

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