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Near Cooperstown in Griggs County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Missile Maintenance

Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site -

— November-33 Launch Facility —

 
 
Missile Maintenance Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, July 24, 2020
1. Missile Maintenance Marker
Inscription.   The Minuteman missile system depended upon knowledgeable and skilled maintainers to ensure its reliability. Missile maintenance was divided into a number of specialized fields. Air Force enlisted personnel were placed on one of the specialized teams and then received extensive and rigorous training in their team's specialty.

Electro-Mechanical Team (EMT) - With broad and in-depth training on numerous pieces of the weapon system, the EMT was responsible for troubleshooting and repairing nearly every portion of the system including: electronic security systems, command and control communication systems, electronic support equipment, power supply systems, and various other ancillary equipment. EMT was involved the vast majority of the maintenance work that occurred in the missile field.

Missile Maintenance Team (MMT) - The duties of the MMT placed great physical demands on the members. MMT members often found themselves with the hazardous duty of entering the interior of the launch tube on a "diving board" or work cage that brought them up close to the missile. On these small platforms, suspended nearly 80 feet above the
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silo floor, the MMT maintained: missile umbilical's (cables and wires that connected the missile to the surrounding support equipment), the missile suspension system, and the ballistic gas actuators (used to open the launcher closure door). The MMT was also responsible for removing the top portions of the missile, including the re-entry vehicle, war heads, and the missile guidance set (computer).

Missile Handling Team (MHT) - The MHT had the stressful duty of transporting missiles between the Grand Forks Air Force Base and the Launch Facilities (November-33, one of the 150 LFs, is 71 miles from the base). The MHT loaded the missile into the transporter - erector (either hoisting it out of the LF or loading it at the air base (and then drove the missile, through all kinds of weather conditions and over all kinds of roads, to its destination. MHT played a critical role in the early 1970s when the missiles were upgraded from the Minuteman II to the Minuteman III and in the 1990s when all of the missiles were removed from the LFs prior to silo implosion.

Facility Maintenance Team (FMT) - The primary responsibility of the FMT was ensuring the LFs and Launch Control Centers (LCCs) had a constant supply of power and cooling air. The FMT ensured the sites properly received commercial power (from the local power company); should that fail, they ensure the diesel generators
Missile Maintenance Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, July 24, 2020
2. Missile Maintenance Marker
would reliably provide backup power. The FMT also ensured the air conditioning systems at the LFs and LCCs were functional. The age electronics at the sites would rapidly overheat without sufficient air conditioning - FMT ensured those air losses rarely occurred. FMT members could also find themselves on Corrosion Control Teams (CCT) and Periodic Maintenance Teams (FMT).

EMT, MMT, MHT, FMT, CC, and PMT were only come of the maintenance teams that made up the alphabet soup of missile maintenance teams. Some other teams included: Pneudraulics (PNEU), Power Refrigeration and Electronics (PREL). Electronics Lab (E-Lab), Communication Maintenance Teams, civilian contractors like Rivet MILE, and others. The critical role that the maintainers filled to keep the Minuteman missiles operational and "on-alert" cannot be overstated.

Photo captions
A facility maintenance team member of the 448th Missile Squadron, at Grand Forks Air Force Base, takes a voltage reading on a circuit breaker that supplies power to a launch control center (1995).
Members of a missile maintenance team with the 321st Strategic Missile Wing, at Grand Forks Air Force Base, guide the re - entry system for a Minuteman III missile onto a missile guidance set (1990).
At the Launch Facility, the launcher's heavy blast door is rolled back, and missile handling team members
November-33 wide view image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, July 24, 2020
3. November-33 wide view
erect a metal barrier along the exposed launcher opening (1990).
Forty feet below ground in a missile silo, missile maintenance technicians, one in a work cage and another standing on a "diving board," replace a post-boost control system n a Minuteman missile (1997).

 
Erected by State Historical Society of North Dakota.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, Cold.
 
Location. 47° 26.391′ N, 98° 3.955′ W. Marker is near Cooperstown, North Dakota, in Griggs County. Marker can be reached from North Dakota Route 200, 0.2 miles 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. More than Meets the Eye (here, next to this marker); Launch Facility Security (a few steps from this marker); Launcher Closure Door (a few steps from this marker); Missile Transport (a few steps from this marker); The Minuteman: America's "Ace in the Hole" (within shouting distance of this marker); Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) (within shouting distance of this marker); November-33: "Ace in the Hole"
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

(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.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 27, 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 8 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. 24, 2024