NPS Minuteman Missile
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  • 17. Down Time

    Television and games provided entertainment to off-duty airmen.

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    Down Time

    The topside crew was eight enlisted airmen, who served at Delta-01 for three days at a time. While they had official tasks, especially for the off-duty alarm response team, there was often time to fill. Outside, a basketball hoop, horseshoes, and volleyball court awaited in good weather.  Indoors, a weight room, cards, board games, ping pong table, pool table, a television with VCR and satellite dish as well as a good selection of books and magazines were available. 


    In the Launch Control Center, thirty-one feet underneath the basketball hoop, the two missile officers had fewer options for entertainment.  Many missileers used time in the capsule to fulfill the requirements of a master’s degree. When there was not enough free time to concentrate on studying, missileers often played cards, pursued hobbies, or browsed through magazines. Some missile crews referred to such activities as “frontline defense against alert boredom.” 


    In the 1980’s, a TV and an AM/FM radio and cassette player were installed in the Launch Control Center capsule for the crew on duty. Missileer Matt Loughney remembered, “there was always tension over what was being watched on TV, because our TV was controlled by their

    settings upstairs on the satellite. Invariably, the eighteen-year-old cop wanted to see Rambo eighteen times, so we would be stuck downstairs trying our damndest to stay awake at three in the morning, and there's Rambo for the fifty-eighth time on TV.”