We did a local tour today, stopping at the Titan Missile Museum, the last of the 54 Titan II Missile sites that were on alert across the United States from 1963 to 1987. For those of you that saw the movie War Games, their dramatization at the beginning of what would have happened if the US was going to launch missiles was spot on. The tour included a simulated launch sequence which was neat. It also gave us a glimpse into what Don’s life might have been like had he accepted the offer to work in one of these.
The Titan Missile Museum showcases the dramatic vestiges of the Cold War between the U.S. and former Soviet Union and provides a vivid education about the history of nuclear conflict – a history of keeping the peace. Nowhere else in the world can visitors get this close to an intercontinental ballistic missile in its operational environment. Able to launch from its underground silo in just 58 seconds, the Titan II was capable of delivering a 9-megaton nuclear warhead to targets more than 6300 miles (10,000 km) away in about 30 minutes.
The first two pictures show part of the control room. The red box actually had combination locks (two different people had the combinations) and is where the actual launch order verification codes were stored. They were changed every 24 hours. It is quite funny in this age of technology to know that the verification of those codes would have been done manually on a sheet with a grease pen in one of those red notebooks. The next two pictures show the control room from the commander’s chair and the Titan missile itself. The next picture is the top of the silo. It now has a glass observation deck, but would have been covered by those big slabs that you see when the silo was operational. The picture of Don (he had to wear a hard hat for the tour) is next to the stage one engines.
We spent some time shopping in Tubac, AZ which is a growing artist colony with over 80 galleries and shops. We had a wonderful lunch at Elvira’s which is a Mexican restaurant. You can see Tubac is located in a beautiful setting (picture 7). The next picture shows Leslie standing next to a $6,500 statue (we did not go into that gallery).
Since we were so close, we visited Tumacacori National Historical Park. It is the site of the first mission in southern Arizona. It is one of the 20 missions built by the Jesuit missionary Father Kino and was established in 1691. It was run by the Jesuits until they were expelled in 1767 and then by Franciscan priests until it was abandoned in 1848. The mission has not been restored (as you can see from the last picture) but it is still used once a year. By the way, the lack of pews or seats has nothing to do with the lack of restoration – it never had them, the people that worshipped there either stood or kneeled.