If you’re seeking some relief from the Arizona heat I suggest a Cold War era flashback for a pretty cool pit stop. On our way from Tucson to Tombstone Jenn and I made a visit to the Titan Missile Museum in Sahuarita, Arizona. This former top secret site is now a national historic landmark. You, too, can take a tour underground to see the only remaining Titan II missile site open to the public up close, and even stand on its launch duct,
without any special clearance required, just a reasonable admission fee, and a hard hat if you’re tall like me. (Those beams are low and the walkways tight in these close quarters!)
Following a brief film on the history of the site you are led by a tour guide to the formerly restricted grounds featuring exhibits of rocket engines.
Our tour guide was an engineer in this field, and like many others who work there, volunteers his expertise as he directs you past signs stating “Explosives”, “Safety First”, and “Danger RF Radiation” as you head to the access portal. These, of course, are all leftovers of a bygone era as we were assured no nukes remained. And to be sure of that we were told that due to agreements set in place post Cold War between the U.S. and former Soviet Union they are visited unannounced by our now comrades to double check. These former foes have even embraced the art of the American business trip, often showing up during the height of the golf season in Arizona to check the site and hit the links.
We descended 35 feet below ground into the missile complex, and of course captured a few fun photo ops. It’s what we do.
Entering the launch control center is like stepping onto a sci-fi set from the 1960’s.
The oversized computer panels still stand and you can even hop into the command seat to re-enact a launch, or refrain if you prefer to avoid Armageddon.
The final stop is the missile itself, standing majestically in its silo. For this part of the tour we were handed off to another expert, a bit more serious in composure, and I’m not quite sure he appreciated the glee Jenn and I emitted as we posed for more pics. He seemed to be stuck in the Cold War mindset vs the appreciation of nostalgia we enjoyed as we took in its impressive anatomy decorated with the letters U.S.A.
But we got off our shots and gave it a salute, grateful it was never used, as we made our way back above ground.
T minus zero.
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