The Minuteman I missile (developed in the 1950s) and later the Minuteman II missiles are intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could be deployed from unstaffed underground silos by crews in launch facilities located miles away. The Minuteman II’s warhead has the explosive equivalent of more than one million tons of dynamite and was capable of traveling over the North Pole to reach its target in 30 minutes. Although many of the ICMBs have been decommissioned, approximately 500 missiles are still scattered throughout the upper Great Plains. The Great Plains comprise a broad expanse of land lying west of the Mississippi and east of the Rocky Mountains. This area covers parts of ten states including Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and the Dakotas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
American writer, Ian Frazier, stated in his 1989 non-fiction history, Great Plains, “A nuclear-missile silo is one of the quintessential Great Plains objects: to the eye, it is almost nothing, just one or two acres of ground with a concrete slab in the middle and some posts and poles sticking up behind an eight-foot-high Cyclone fence; but to the imagination, it is the end of the world.”
Find out how this information ties into Big Horn Storm on August 24.