NPS Minuteman Missile
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  • 1. In Plain Sight

    Black and white image of a silo enclosure in a prairie landscape
    Delta-09 in active use, 1992.

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    Stop One: Hidden in Plain Sight

    We begin outside the gate at Delta-09. Hello, my name is Bret Whitmore. I am a U.S. Air Force Cold War Veteran. I guarded this site (among the 149 others here), while serving in the 45th Missile Security Squadron from 1982-1985.  I’ll be your guide as we explore Delta-09.

    Before you enter the gate, pause and look back at Interstate 90.  

    For nearly 30 years, South Dakotans and other visitors just like yourselves traveled I-90, never realizing they were crossing a war zone.  With the advent of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, the front lines of the Cold War were everywhere, not just behind the ‘Iron Curtain’.  

    Imagine you were one of those travelers and had glanced at the fence and the strange structures inside it. Was it a water well or perhaps a local power substation?  One could assume so at a glance, but in reality, this site had a more ominous role. Where you are now standing was ground-zero for World War III.  

    We’re cleared for entry. Step inside Delta-09 and learn how one of the most powerful weapons in history stood a silent vigil just beneath this lonesome stretch of prairie.