NPS Minuteman Missile
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  • 14. World Of Secrets

    The code burner.

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    World Of Secrets

    Inside the fence and beyond the volleyball court is a device that resembles a barbeque grill or a bingo spinner. Instead of making steaks or displaying a lucky number, this was a code burner used to destroy obsolete code books.


    Like milk, the secret codes used in the missile field had expiration dates. What did missileers do with secret code pages after they were out of date?  They stored them in a paper bag in the Launch Control Center for up to a week. After changing over with the incoming missile crew, the off going crew would burn the bag of secrets in the code burner.  Once the paper codes were burning well, the crew would spin the roller using the crank to either side. Rocks in the burner broke the ashes into tiny, unreadable particles. 

    The code burner stands as a reminder of the nature of the work of the missile field and a workforce of Air Force personnel in their twenties with top secret clearances.