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A walk through the Titan II Missile Complex

Ruminations from inside the steel sphere.

The Titan II Missile Museum sits about 26 miles south of Tucson in the community of Green Valley. Outside the complex sit peaceful groves of pecan trees, a bunch of retirement home developments, and then scrub and saguaros as far as the eye can see.

Being in an ICBM silo gives you a taste of the creepy psychology of the defense bureaucrats and also the mind-state of the soldiers stationed here. Of course, there was the intense boredom of waiting for endless hours on alert, punctuated by the terror of spontaneous training exercises. But also, when you’re in a silo, you’re cannon fodder. The Russians and the Chinese know exactly where you are and it was expected that you yourself would be a target. If you didn’t die in the initial explosion of a first strike, which, inside of a mile of the complex would kill you with almost 100% certainty, you had to contend with surviving in a smoldering wasteland with 30 days of rations.