Oscar-Zero Minuteman Missile Alert Facility

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

A tan building inside a fenced enclosure
Entrance to Oscar-zero

State Historical Society of North Dakota

Quick Facts

Location:
Cooperstown, ND
Significance:
Preserved Minuteman III Missile Alert Facility activated in 1966 and consistently staffed 24 hours a day until July 1997, Oscar-Zero made up a portion of the American nuclear deterrent through the latter half of the Cold War. Oscar-zero is part of the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site.
Designation:
State Historic Site; National Register of Historic Places
OPEN TO PUBLIC:
Yes

As a part of the last Intercontinental Ballistic Missile complexes built by the United States during the Cold War, Oscar-Zero was one of 15 Launch Control Facilities throughout eastern North Dakota. These “Wing VI” complexes were unique among most other Minuteman ICBM complexes as they were constructed with additional communications redundancies and additional hardening against nuclear attack.

Initially armed with Minuteman II missiles, during the early 1970s Minuteman III missiles carrying Multiple-Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs) were emplaced providing increased accuracy and explosive power within their nuclear warheads.

Staffed around the clock with two missileer officers sitting behind a six-ton blast door, Oscar-Zero contributed to the ongoing vigil over the American nuclear deterrent. In addition, two teams of armed guards, a facility manager and a chef rounded out the compliment of personnel on site.

As the Cold War ended, the missile wing controlling Oscar-Zero began deactivating its facilities during the mid-1990s. The last “Alert” tour took place at Oscar on July 17, 1997 with the wing deactivating the next year. By 2009 the site had been transferred to the State Historical Society of North Dakota in order to provide a publically accessible interpretation of the Cold War mission in North Dakota.