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Site Updates 2009

This is a log of changes and updates to the web site listed in descending order from newest to oldest.  This site is very much a Work in Progress and my work on it is ever on-going though updates may be slow.

 

If you are looking for what's new, you've come to the right place!  Links are provided to updated material when applicable, and postings are organized by date.  Check back often, you never know when I'll add something new!


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12/01/2009 - New document added to the "In the News" section

Another great addition from Fred, this article comes straight from the airman featured so prominently in the historical photos on T1E, A1C Brannon.  Read it here.

 

In this article you can see A1C Brannon all over the 724-A complex checking gauges, going over checklists and doing his daily routine and read in his own words about his experience and his impressions of becoming an MMT (Missile Maintenance Tech.) with the 451st SMW.

 

This is a great little article and it makes me wish I could sit down with Brannon over a drink or a good meal and talk more about his time with the Titans.  I imagine he'd have some great stories to tell.  Hats off to you A1C Brannon!

 

 Next... I don't know.  I'll do something with more pictures.  Happy Holidays!

11/21/2009 - Document extravaganza!!  New document library section added, etc.

A clutch (5) of new documents have just been added along with a new sub-section to the document library called In The News which will feature news clippings and other articles about the Titan 1.  For those of you who find documents dry and boring, there is a ray of hope as these documents are not all just dull technical information or the like, but instead include news articles (with pictures!) covering Titan history.

 

In the new In the News section you'll find two articles:

 

Thundering Crashes Close Doors on Prairie's Titan Era - A Denver Post article on the closing of the launcher silo doors graciously contributed by Jim Despres.

 

This Week Magazine:  Inside a Titan Missile Base - An NY Herald Tribune Exclusive that takes a first look at the underground Titan I complex and it's crew.  Another fine addition from Fred Epler.

 

The Operational Histories section is rounded out with:

 

BASE T-5 - BEALE AREA HISTORY - Army Corps of Engineers construction summary of the Beale AFB Titan sites, covering contracts, materials, labor and a host of other details too numerous for someone lazy like myself to mention.  Also contributed by Fred Epler.

 

In the Other Contractor Documents section:

 

Titan Program Control Room Charts - Old school charts and graphs showing the Titan I and II programs current status and schedule both completed and planned.  Can you believe people used to have to make these charts by hand like an arts and crafts project?  Yikes.

 

TITAN I EXCESS WEAPON SYSTEM MATERIEL - VOLUME I-A - AEROSPACE GROUND EQUIPMENT - Welcome to the Titan I yard sale!  This document was part of the effort to re-purpose the expensive excess equipment sitting unused after the sites' closure.

 

To that end, these fiscally-minded listings were compiled in an effort to get the most bang for the American defense bucks:

 

"The acquisition cost of these missile system components represents a significant portion of previous defense expenditures and warrants extraordinary actions to insure that wherever possible this property be used or converted to satisfy other programs both within the Department of Defense and Federal agencies."

 

In this way, it was hoped to "...achieve optimum utilization of excess personal property currently available within the Department of Defense.  Prevent concurrent buying and selling of like items within the various departments and agencies of the Federal Government.  Assist in insuring prudent usage of funds entrusted to these departments and agencies by the Congress."

 

Full of photos and detailed illustrations of obscure Titan I aerospace ground equipment, this first of 5 volumes shows details that are not easily found elsewhere so if you ever wondered what the after-market value of a Facilities Console ($1800) or a Rocket Engine Decontaminating Unit ($23,011) were, you'll find out here.

11/07/2009 - Site translation added, corrections and minor section updates

In another unholy alliance with Google, I have opted to provide language translation using their services for the following reasons:

1) Free service

2) Offers the widest selection of languages available

3) Easy to implement

4) Did I mention free service?

5) Quick and on-demand translation - use it or don't

6) Cyrillic looks cool because I can't read it

A much more worldly version of the site

 

For now, the translation is in a probationary period until I feel that none of Google's world-domination shenanigans are present or any problems arise with its use.  If you encounter any problems with different browsers or the entire web site becoming broken, etc., please Contact Me and let me know so I can fix it.

 

Of course all the translations are done by software and so the accuracy will not be great, but it should offer a somewhat intelligible text for non-English speaking visitors.  I know anyone can do this themselves, but it makes the process much more convenient.  After all, you shouldn't be suddenly contracted to do such work just because you visit a web site.

 

I hope this feature, though limited, will expand the use and diplomacy of the site, and since my very limited use of German, Spanish, Japanese, French*, Italian* and Norwegian* is certainly not up to the task, this makes a great alternative, and is long overdue.

    * Very, very limited.

 

Fred Epler did some looking and identified 3 of the 4 mystery men in Entry Portal Part III, and provided a couple more images which I could not resist adding, including shots of the portal elevator motor in situ in Entry Portal Part V.

 

Fred also pointed out some corrections to photo captions which were updated and expanded to include other information regarding dates, and locations as well.

 

Next update?  It will be a surprise (mostly because I haven't decided yet).  Check back soon, I suspect some more documents will be added to the library very soon.

11/02/2009 - Entry Portal Part V added

The next and final part of the Entry Portal section is complete.  Entry Portal Part V completes as it arrives at the bottom of the portal silo and opens into the main tunnel junction.  These last two updates were a huge amount of work so I hope they'll be interesting.

 

Sorry I didn't have the last update ready by Friday AM.  I really wanted it to be there for you folks who are looking for some reading on Friday morning, but I tried.

 

A request if I may:

 

Please don't just rip my entire site without good reason.  It really messes with my stats and makes me worry that someone is attacking my site/server.  I'm looking at YOU Brazilian DSL subscriber.  I'm pleased you would want to enjoy every last byte of my site, but please-- All things in moderation.  Thanks and Alo.  =)

10/30/2009 - Entry Portal Parts III and IV added

The next 2 parts of the Entry Portal section are complete.  Scads of new pictures and my usual rambling BS lay bare the veritable vestibule of Armageddon's foyer.  My apologies for not having anything sooner, but this is a big update with one more part to follow very shortly.  

 

Though it may not look like it, I put a lot of effort into these updates.  I hope they will prove interesting.  For those of you who don't have time to read my blather, just scroll on down and enjoy the pictures.

 

Entry Portal Part III looks at the surface and it's history.

 

Entry Portal Part IV drags you down into the depths of the portal silo and marvels at the audacity of animals a bit while leading you into the site.

 

Section V will be up in less than a week so keep watch for it.

 

Great gratitude goes out to Fred Epler whom I consider Chief Consultant and Chief Contributor for his assistance with historical and technical information about the Titan 1 and for providing photos that really bring the history to life and offer great shots I cannot.

 

Thanks also to Walter, Sean and Jim who also contributed to these sections.

10/12/2009 - Entry Portal Part I updated and new Part II added - link errors fixed

No, I have not just been sitting on my ass!  Two more updates have just been added.

 

First, the Entry Portal section has been updated with completely new content as part of the new expanded multi-part section on the Entry Portal.

 

Second, a new page, Entry Portal Part II has been added covering the construction of the Entry Portal.  All the over-sized images in these new sections can be clicked on to see the full-sized picture.  Click away!

 

I wanted to get the 3rd part completed for this update but didn't want to rush it and just couldn't get it complete, so look for it in about a week if all goes well.  I expect that there will likely be at least one more section after that before I move onto the next one.  This next update will have scads of new photos and will see the return of the old pictures at higher resolution.

 

The "Contact", "Site Map" and "Link" links got corrupted through nefarious software shenanigans on some pages.  I have corrected this barring any I missed.

09/20/2009 - Results of the "What the Hell is That Challenge" (finally)

After an embarrassing delay, I have updated Part III of the antenna terminal section with the results of the WtHiT Challenge.  Find out the who and what of it all at long last.  This is a minor update to be sure, but at least it's something.

 

Work has me very busy and very tired lately, reducing the time spent on updates to weekends only as I seem to be far too tired to get anything done after such grueling work days.  I expect this will not continue for too much longer, but please be patient as I continue working on the next update.  Check back soon for the updates to the Entry Portal section.

09/06/2009 - Two new documents added

Two more documents are now available in the Document Library section.  Only for the hard-core missile history folks.

 

First in the Operational Histories section:

 

BASE T-4 - LARSON AREA HISTORICAL SUMMARY - Army Corps of Engineers summary of the Larson Area construction of the 568th SMS.  Contracts, construction details, contractors, labor issues, costs, delays and other history are detailed in this document.  Over 250 pages rich in detail on the Titan I sites at Larson AFB.

 

The next new arrival is in the Martin Documents section:

 

DETAILED TEST PLAN - SILO LAUNCH TEST FACILITY PROPELLANT LOADING AND PRESSURIZATION SYSTEM - Martin Report describing the propellant loading and pressurization system tests of the Silo Launch Test Facility to determine proper operation and performance.

 

I am working on my next update-- this time on the Entry Portal (aka: Portal Silo) which is going to expand enormously from the existing tiny page to 3 or more full pages with many, many new images and photos accompanied by my usual dry blather and half-assed attempts at humor.  Keep yer' eyes peeled.

08/30/2009 - The "What the Hell is That Challenge" winner has been decided!!

I will be sending out an email confirmation to the person with the ultimate answer that was received the earliest, and which positively identified the mysterious item and provided objective proof.  I will post the answer and possibly the lucky person's name or initials and evidence provided once I have received a response from them.

 

Many thanks to all those who participated and spent their time and effort looking into this.  Some answers were quite simple and to the point, while others were quite detailed and technical.  I regret that there can be only one winner and only one prize (such as it is).  Thanks once again to all those who took the "WtHiT" Challenge!

 

Progress Report

My work on the guidance system has stalled while I research further and better prepare to illustrate the system (I'm learning vector graphics FYI), and so in the interest of not having the site be stagnant for another month or two, I will instead be moving on to updating the Entry Portal section (updates still pending) while I continue my research and preparation for that section.  Keep your eyes peeled for an update to the Entry Portal section soon.

07/29/2009 - Antenna Terminal Part III added - and The Challenge!!

Part III of the antenna terminal section is now complete.  More photos of the antenna silos than you can shake a stick at.

 

Take the "What the Hell is That?" Challenge!  At last, its here (prepare to be disappointed), oh joy!  Details inside.

 

Coming up: 

  • an illustrated tour of the Titan I guidance system

  • more documents

  • new photos and expanded sections

Stay tuned.

07/22/2009 - Antenna Terminal Part II added - still more to come - and a challenge!!

Part II of the antenna terminal section is now complete and peers into the past and present of the operational complex.  Part III of the antenna terminal section should follow swiftly on the heels of this update and will dig deeper-- well actually higher-- into the antenna terminal.  

 

Remember to click on photos to view them full-size.

 

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment where I pose the timeless question: "What the Hell is That?"

 

Who knows, maybe YOU can answer?

  • Big Prizes* (small actually, and only one prize really, but still-- A PRIZE!)

  • Big Fame** (not really, but you can proudly proclaim your achievement to anyone who'll listen!  Also, I will post the winner's name on the web site-- if desired.  Oh boy!)

  • Big Deal***-- if you can be the one (and only one, as I mentioned previously, there's only one damn prize!) to tell me: "What the Hell is That?"

* Big Prize is actually quite small.  Tough knobs.

** Big Fame, or even ANY FAME whatsoever not provided, defined or guaranteed in any fashion.  Too bad.

*** Deal actually not big, and in fact is immeasurably small to the point of non-existence.  However, the "What the Hell is That?" Challenge is no foolin' and there really is a prize and I will really award it to the first person who can provide a definitive and meaningful answer.

06/25/2009 - Antenna Terminal section updated - more to come!

The first portion of the newly-expanded Antenna Terminal section is complete and documents the nomenclature and construction of this very critical part of the complex.  Just about every image in this section is new to the site so if you've visited before, I urge you to take another look and see what's new.

 

"Where's the old photos dammit?"

 

The present-day photos that appeared in this section before will return, enhanced and expanded in the next update, don't fret.

 

The next update will continue looking at the antenna terminal as it once looked and as it looks now.  Expect this update around the 4th of July holiday.  Ultimately there will be at least 2 more parts to the antenna terminal section before it is complete.

 

A long-overdue addition to this update is the ability to Click for Larger Image (where available) on most images.  Nearly all images on the site are larger than displayed, but to format the web pages to a reasonable size, they have been compressed.  You could view them at full size by saving them and then viewing them outside the page but that's hardly convenient.  Well, now you can just click to get a better look.  Bout' time I did that!

 

I hope you will find the new update interesting.  Check back soon.

06/15/2009 - Antenna Tunnel section updated

While working on the antenna terminal section, I saw a that the Antenna Tunnel section could use a good updating as well and thought I would complete that first.  

 

In addition to many new photos, I have replaced the existing pictures with better quality images.  While a long tunnel may not be the most fascinating area of the Titan I complex, I felt compelled as always to go way overboard documenting this area.  I hope it will still prove interesting.

 

Look for more documents and the antenna terminal section update (which will be at least 2 separate links or more) that will be added soon.  Many, many new pictures and lots of overly-detailed information to come!

05/28/2009 - Three new documents added

Three more documents are now available in the Document Library section.  Two of these are quite large and detailed.  For those who can't get enough information on the Titan I system, this update has lots of interesting details.

 

First in the Operational Histories section:

 

BASE T-3 - MT. HOME AREA HISTORICAL SUMMARY - Army Corps of Engineers summary of the Mountain Home Area construction of the 569th SMS.  Contracts, construction details, contractors, labor issues, costs, delays, accidents and other history are detailed in this document.

 

Next there are 2 new new arrivals in the Martin Documents section:

 

MASTER ACTIVITIES PLAN - WS107A-2 OPERATIONAL BASES - Martin guidebook for the planning, construction, phasing, systems integration, installation and checkout, turnover and activation of the operational Titan I complexes and their support facilities.

 

TITAN II-A IN TITAN I SILOS - A preliminary feasibility report on the cost-saving concept of retrofitting Titan I bases for in-silo launch of Titan II missiles employing the 200% increased payload capacity of the Titan II-A booster.

 

I think these are 3 really interesting documents loaded with interesting facts, figures and details as well as photo-plates, (they are photocopies so the quality of the Mt. Home plates is lousy, sorry) diagrams and charts.  The files are big but I think you'll find them worth the download times.

 

Work continues apace on the next update to the Antenna Terminal section, which if you take a look, you'll see is woefully incomplete and, in my opinion, lacking.  A big update will be forthcoming soon.

05/21/2009 - Farewell My Friend

I want to take this opportunity to bid farewell to a good friend, Gary Leasia who died of  complications of diabetes and cancer the evening of Monday, May 18th.  He was 57.

 

Gary struggled with his illnesses for the past 7 years, losing his sight, his mobility and ultimately his hearing before passing very suddenly this week.

 

You are finally at peace Gary.  Farewell, you will be missed.

 

Gary Leasia

1951 - 2009

05/09/2009 - Equipment Terminals Part IV complete and 2 new documents added

Part IV of the Equipment Terminals section is now complete thus finishing the equipment terminals section.

 

Two new documents have also been added: one under the Other Contractors section and the other under the Martin Documents section:

 

Flight Test Evaluation for Mod II Decoy Subsystem - Titan V-1, Details testing of Ford Aeronutronics' Decoy Ejection Mechanism (DEM) and the decoy pods used to throw off enemy anti-missile installations.

 

DETAILED FIELD PLAN FOR BASE T-1 covers the integration of SAC personnel with construction contractors to facilitate check out and turnover of baser T-1 operational sites to the Air Force.

 

Next I'll be expanding and completing the Antenna Terminal section which through my own lack of organization has gone unfinished for the past few years.  After that is complete, I will be working on a new section covering the surface of the Titan I complex.  You've seen the underground, now find out what was on the surface!

 

My thanks to those folks out there who have pointed out mistakes, goofs, problems and other issues with the site.  Even if you just plain don't like the way something is arranged, set up or if you otherwise find my site confusing or poorly organized in some way, don't hesitate to send me an email and tell me.  It is invaluable to me that the visitors to my site find it easy to navigate and explore without broken links, poor organization or (heaven forbid) my obvious lack of an editor for the text on these pages.  My advance thanks to those who will show me the errors of my ways now and in the future.

 

This update brought to you by The Maharaja Imperial India Pale Ale and the Avery Brewing Company in Boulder Colorado (with whom I have absolutely no affiliation whatsoever save for drinking their product).  Damn good IPA I must say!

05/01/2009 - Equipment Terminals Part III added

Part III of the Equipment Terminals section is now complete and continues with levels II and III.  This is a big section so I hope you'll find the pictures interesting.  One more section to go and more documents coming up so keep checking back.

 

I also corrected a veritable cornucopia of typos and misspellings on a number of pages.  My spell-checker was out of commission for a while and I just fixed it today (and not a moment too soon!).

04/19/2009 - Two new documents added

Yes, two new documents have been added to the Document Library.  I hope you will find them interesting.  

 

First, under the Operational Histories section: Base T-2 - History of Titan I (850TH SMS), which details the construction history of the Ellsworth AFB Titan I Squadron in excruciating detail.  Want to know what the government paid for a Titan I equipment terminal?  Want to know how thick the silo walls were?  Find out in this document.

 

In an odd scanning anomaly which I am not qualified to explain, some pages in the Base T-2 document are in muted shades of red, blue and green.  The document I scanned was a photo copy and so was only black and white, yet the scanner somehow interpreted them as being in color.  This appears in several documents that will be added to the library in the future.

 

Second, under the Other Contractor Documents section: SLTF Flight Test Report, a feasibility study of the full-scale in-silo test launch of a Titan I missile.

 

Work continues on the Equipment Terminals section and there should be an update shortly.  There will be at least 2 more additions before it is complete so check back soon.

04/09/2009 - Equipment Terminals Part II added.  New document added

Better late than never I guess.  I had promised this update about 6 days ago, but photo editing and other work pushed it back a bit.  I am pleased to present Part II of the Equipment Terminals section which continues with construction and delves into the underground complex.

 

Also new in this update: another new document is now available in the Martin Documents section of the document library: Titan Destruct System.  This short document details how the range safety equipment was put together for both the Titan I and II missiles.  Some great photos of the test procedure are included.  Unfortunately, one page, Fig. 1, is missing from the original document.

03/25/2009 - Equipment Terminals section updated.  New document added

The Equipment Terminals section has been updated.  Visit section I to see the first new part of what will be at least 3 or more additions to that section.  The second part of the equipment terminals section is well under way and should be available in 7-9 days so stay posted!

 

A new document and a new section are available in the document library: Base T-1 Lowry Area History is now available under the Operational Histories section.  This this document details the construction history of Titan I base T-1 which was comprised of the first two Titan I squadrons, the 724th SMS and 725th SMS.

 

I will be traveling for a few days so please be patient with any emails.  I will get to them as soon as I can.  

03/08/2009 - New section added!  Site Map page re-worked

A new section is now available: Document Library.  This contains scanned Titan missile-related documents of historical and research significance.  A wealth of information for the missile-obsessed can now be found there.  For now there are 6 documents from the dash-1 to missile testing there.  Get some history.  Many more additions are forthcoming so keep yer eyes peeled.  Enjoy!

 

Also, I re-did the Site Map because I thought it was looking a bit fugly.  Work continues on the Equipment Terminals section.  Stay on alert!

02/14/2009 - Links section updated!

At long last I have added some great new sites to the Links page.

 

I am not one to self-promote, really, but recently I was interviewed by Jonathan Haeber about the Titan I system, my web page and the 3D model of the Titan I site.  He put together a great article about his experience visiting Titan I sites and our interview and posted some excellent photographs there and on his Flickr account which I urge you to check out, they are really great!

 

Jonathan Haeber's site, Bearings can be found here: http://www.terrastories.com/

 

Also new to the links section: 

I invite you to peruse these sites and enjoy (as I have) their interesting and intriguing offerings.

 

The links section has also been organized for (hopefully) greater ease of use.  Please feel free to criticize my efforts if you see need of improvements/changes.

01/25/2009 - Utilities Tunnels Section Completed!

The utilities tunnels section has been completed and includes newly added photos and illustrations.   I hope folks will find the new content interesting.  More to come!

 

I have also updated the LOX bays section to include one more blueprint image that better shows the structure of the LOX bays.

01/19/2009 - LOX Bays Section Completed!

The LOX bays section has been completed and includes newly added photos and illustrations.  This brings me one step closer to finishing the underground areas of the complex and to other areas yet to be addressed.

 

Still to come: 

  • The utilities tunnels

  • Equipment terminals

  • completion of antenna silos section

  • The Titan I missile

  • Surface structures

  • Site location map

  • revision and expansion of the tunnels, portal and other sections

  • Site re-org and re-design to improve navigation and menus

  • Titan I document library - Contractor documents, histories and Tech Order manuals in PDF format.


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