Baby Boomers lived through the threat of nuclear global annihilation during the cold war between Russia and The United States of America. The two biggest kids on the block were both armed with enough weaponry to destroy life on earth. It was that mutually assured destruction that kept a shaky peace until sanity finally called for a drawdown of some of the firepower.


Over 10 years ago, the U.S. military decommissioned the last Peacekeeper missile, each of which had 10 warheads sitting on top of a 71 foot high rocket capable of dealing death and destruction 6,000 miles away. In Cheyenne, Wyo., our most powerful weapons were tended by the 400th Missile Squadron at F. E. Warren Air Force Base. Nestled secretly and securely 100 feet underground, these elite missilers kept America and the world safe from evil.


Obviously, security called for only a need-to-know shortlist of crew and visitors, but that is about to come to an end. From 1986 to 2005, F. E. Warren was the center of the Air Force's nuclear arsenal.  Now, the U. S. Air Force and The State of Wyoming are working together to refurbish the last of the Peacekeeper alert facilities. Most others have been decommissioned as part of the bilateral Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II Treaty) and filled with cement. There are other preserved missile sites in North Dakota, South Dakota and in Weld County just outside of Greeley, Colo.


The components and warheads are gone, but Quebec-01 is being fully restored (without the missiles) in order to share with the public, what it was like at the bottom of that 100 foot elevator ride down to this bunker and behind the four foot wide blast doors. In 2017 The Air Force will turn over the site to The Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources agency and by 2019, should be ready for tours. The Peacekeepers have been replaced with RV Minuteman III missiles at bases across the country as part of the current ICBM program.


“Nuclear tourism is something that has an increasing interest in the public, and it’s extremely important that we preserve that history, especially since the Peacekeeper was one of the factors that helped end the Cold War.”


On a personal note, during a press tour of their training facilities last summer, I was introduced to the current crop of Missilers and was greatly impressed with their professionalism and feel secure with these men and women playing their part in our security.

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