NPS Minuteman Missile
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  • 16. Transportation

    Alarm Response Team Jeep, 1982.

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    Contrary to the Air Force image, the missile field workforce primarily traveled by car, truck, or armored vehicle. Because of its close proximity to the Interstate and being only seventy-miles from Ellsworth Air Force Base, Delta-01 was one of the easier control centers to reach. More remote sites could require a three hour drive in each direction. While helicopter pads were present at every control center and silo, helicopters would have landed here infrequently.

    The armored vehicle parked in the yard is a Peacekeeper, produced in the early 1980s by Cadillac Gage. Used by Air Force Security Forces as a fire team vehicle for escorting missile convoys, the Peacekeeper would have been only an occasional visitor to Delta-01. 

    Blue-colored government vehicles, often pickups, jeeps, or suburbans, were most commonly used to travel to and from the launch control facility, and would have been parked here. A large garage hidden out of sight behind the main building held a front end loader for use in clearing snow in the winter. On occasion, Delta-01 might have hosted overnight larger vehicles for maintenance or transport. 

    Over the years the missile field operated in South Dakota, road networks continued to be maintained through federal funds to accommodate Air Force personnel and maintenance activities. Area businesses also benefited from traveling missile crews. With the introduction of Air Force personnel regularly traveling through the area, Wall Drug began advertising free coffee and donuts for Minuteman missile crews. This eventually led to free coffee and donuts to all veterans, truck drivers, hunters, snowmobilers, and honeymooners.