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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Cooperstown in Griggs County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Missile Transport

Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site

— November-33 Launch Facility —

 
 
Missile Transport Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, July 24, 2020
1. Missile Transport Marker
Inscription.  Transporting missiles and their nuclear warheads was not an easy task. However, it was critical that it be done smoothly and efficiently. The Minuteman missile system relied on a process of remove, repair and replace - it was essential that all components , no matter their size, could be transported back to Grand Forks Air Force Base (AFB) to be repaired and that new components could be transported to the Launch Facility (LF) to replace aced or faulty components.

Additionally, throughout its history the missile system saw numerous upgrades. Beginning in 1970, one after the other, all of the missile wing's 150 Minuteman II missiles were removed and replaced with Minuteman III missiles. In order to accomplish the numerous removals, replacements, and transports the Air Force designed special vehicles.

The first special vehicle was the Payload Transporter (PT). The PT was used to handle, transport, install, and remove the reentry system (RS) [and warhead], missile guidance set (MGS), propulsion system rocket engine (PSRE), and support equipment in a controlled environment on 3 air cushioned pallets. All of these components
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were located near the pointed nose of the missile. To access these components the "maintainers" parked the PT over the top of the silo's launcher closure door and rolled the door open to expose the missile. Maintainers would then attach a hoist to the missile components and raise the components directly into the trailer and transport them back to Grand Forks AFB.

The second special vehicle was the Transporter Erector (TE). The TE was a self contained environmentally controlled system that transported, removed, and installed the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile downstages [the rocket portion]. To do this, maintainers on the Missile Handling Team (MHT) parked the TE adjacent to the silo, attached it to the stable anchors on either side of the launcher closure door, and erected the TE's hydraulic trailer directly over the silo. The MHT then rolled the launcher closure door open, attached pulleys to the missile, and hoisted it into the trailer. Once the missile was in the trailer, the maintainers would lower the trailer back to the horizontal position and drive the TE and missile back to Grand Forks AFB. The process could be reversed to place a missile into the silo.

The PT and the TE were common sights on eastern North Dakota roads. The movement of these critical nuclear components, complete with warheads, involved special security convoy of numerous
Missile Transport Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, July 24, 2020
2. Missile Transport Marker
Air Force security forces, a U.S. Marshal, and a helicopter flying over head.

Photo captions
An Air Force missile maintainer maneuvers a transporter erector on the missile support base (2006).
With the transporter erector firmly secured to the anchor points adjacent to the launcher closure door, the maintainers begin to erect the trailer (1995).
A fully erected transporter erector lowers a Minuteman missile into a silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The missile was transported from the 321st Missile Wing (Grand Forks) to be test launched (1993).

 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, Cold. A significant historical year for this entry is 1970.
 
Location. 47° 26.392′ N, 98° 3.97′ W. Marker is near Cooperstown, North Dakota, in Griggs County. Marker can be reached from 2nd Street NE (North Dakota Route 200) 0.2 miles east of 116th Avenue NE, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11622 ND-200, Cooperstown ND 58425, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Launcher Closure Door (here, next to this marker); Launch Facility Security (a few steps from this marker); Missile Maintenance (a few steps from this marker); More than Meets the Eye (a few steps from this marker); The Minuteman: America's "Ace in the Hole"
November-33 wide view image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, July 24, 2020
3. November-33 wide view
(within shouting distance of this marker); Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) (within shouting distance of this marker); November-33: "Ace in the Hole" (within shouting distance of this marker); Opheim Cabin (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cooperstown.
 
Also see . . .  Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site Information. (Submitted on March 26, 2021, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota.)
 
Historic Site Sign image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, July 24, 2020
4. Historic Site Sign

Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile
State Historic Site
November-33
State Historical Society of North Dakota
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 25, 2021, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 160 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 26, 2021, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 23, 2024