- Two new documents added. Plus, more excuses, etc.
holiday has arrived early! An update! Two new
documents which I think are very interesting indeed are now
available in the document library. One comes from the
library of Fred Epler and the other represents an insane amount of
effort on my part to present it to you in excellent quality.
in the Operational
Histories section of the Document
STRATEGIC MISSILE WING - OUTSTANDING
MISSILE UNIT 1963
recommendation by Colonel Julious Pickoff for the 451st SMW to
receive the Colonel Lee R. Williams memorial missile trophy for
outstanding performance in 1963. Included with the recommendation
is a detailed graphic summary outlining the accomplishments of the
451st crewmembers. This document provides lots of
interesting details, photos and insight into the day-to-day
operations involved in operating a Titan missile wing.
in the Tech Order
Publications section of the Document
21-SM68-2J-5-3 - RE-ENTRY
VEHICLE SYSTEM JOB MANUAL -
Job manual covering all phases of R/V handling at the launch area
including re-entry vehicle emplacement, removal and recycling as
well as safety and handling, hazards and corrective actions
associated with the Mark IV R/V pertaining to the Titan I weapon
Why do updates take sooo long? A quick look.
author of a site that, to my amazement, seems to have a sizeable
readership out there, I find myself faced with actual guilt
when I can't produce new updates in a timely manner. I know
there are folks out there at work on a Friday morning looking for
ways to be unproductive and craving something interesting to read
to pass the time. They run down their list of web sites
hoping for some good material and they get to my site only to see
there's still nothing new.
does it take so long, they wonder? Perhaps it seems I don't
care anymore? Am I too busy? Am I lazy? Am I
even continuing to work on the site?
does it take sooo damn long?
first let me say that on occasion I am indeed busy or lazy, but I
definitely care and I am definitely still working on the
site. In fact, not a week goes by when I don't spend
considerable time working on it. Currently, I have about 4
separate projects in the works: The Groundskeeper Pete Adventures;
missile documents soon to be added; an expansion of the existing
power house pages and another new section which for now shall
remain a surprise.
tasks go on around all this. There are videos in the works,
image scanning and editing is an ever-present and necessary evil
and the task of collecting, cataloging and organizing a growing
mountain of information on the Titan 1 weapon system is one that
will surely outlast my time on earth.
an example of how it can easily take a month or more to get an
can present a terrifically tedious and time-consuming job.
It isn't always as easy as feeding a stack of paper into a scanner
and waiting for it to finish. Once scanned, the document
must be checked to see that it scanned properly, that all the
pages are there and if not, pages must be re-scanned. Next
the pages may need to be reorganized into sensible sections and
files, water marks are added and the files then saved as .pdf and
format of some documents can be especially work-intensive.
Many documents have "fold-outs"-- long pages with
detailed drawings, schematics or other graphics that are oversized
and therefore folded up to fit in a normal binder or cover.
of these fold-out pages can be ridiculously long-- as much as 3
feet or more in some cases. Clearly, these pages do not fit
on a typical scanner, which can only accommodate a page about
8.5" x 11.5". If the average scanner were simply
12" on the short side, it would allow pages of pretty much
any length to be auto-fed length-wise, but for some reason, the
industry steadfastly avoids this size among the affordable
non-commercial models. A wide format scanner can easily
accommodate these folds-outs but they can cost from $1200.00 to
$25,000.00 or more.
what can I, with my old $400.00 scanner do about this? Well,
let me tell you:
this link for an informative and fascinating graphic
in mind that each fold-out page can take as much as 3 to 12
minutes or more to complete in this process. The
document I'm currently working on has 46 of these fold-out pages
which when scanned produced 174 separate images files,
each of which had to be put back together using the method
illustrated above. So far I have been working on this
document, completing pages in small groups, for almost 3 weeks. It is extremely time-consuming and labor intensive.
(This part of the task completed on
selecting, editing and optimizing photos for regular updates out
of hundreds and hundreds of images is also very time
consuming. Never fear, more updates are on their way!
have reorganized the Updates section by year to remove the clutter
and reduce load time for the page. All the updates are now
in their own year-spanning pages. Exciting, I
- The Adventures of Groundskeeper Pete - Part IV now online!
IV of the ongoing saga of silo-slogging and dark-delving at
Larson 568-C by
Walter and Pete, the duo of dankness and dereliction is now online.
links section has also been updated to add
a couple new sites (under the Urban
Exploration and Decay section) I thought were of interest
and also to cull and correct dead or changed links. Among them, www.siloworld.com,
which sadly disappeared quietly some months back and was a
great site, an inspiration for this site as well as one hell of a
resource for missile history. I know it is mourned by many
on the web, and hope it will return again one day.
new links, Off
Yonder Photography and Undercity.org
both feature Titan 1 photos and images of other intriguing
locations, most of which are subterranean.
correction has been made (just one of the hundreds necessary I'm
sure) to the control center
section, part III concerning the colors of the punch cards
used for each corresponding launcher. I had stated that the
card colors were red, white and blue, but in fact the colors were
really red, yellow and blue. My thanks to Mr. S.J. for
pointing out the error.
always, I encourage readers to point out my mistakes, no matter
how trivial. From my dubious use of punctuation, to my
lapses in fact checking, right down to my egregious (but
unintentional) tendency toward stating things that just plain turn
out not to be true, I urge you to please show me the errors
of my ways. My email is always
- The Adventures of Groundskeeper Pete - Part III and 2 new
Adventures of Groundskeeper Pete continues and Part
III is now available, though I was slower than I expected
getting it together. I would like to say my life is free
from distractions and challenges, but that would be complete
BS. Enjoy the damp, dark recesses of a ravaged power house
and venture into Unterland with me.
new documents sure to thrill and delight the collectors out there
are newly-available in this update. First,
in the Other
Contractor Documents section of the Document
Library, a short brochure on the Titan I:
- MISSION FOR DEFENSE -
Former AMF president Carter L. Burgess introduces this short document
on AMF's role in US defense with the then-new silo launch lift
elevator contract for Titan I and other missile defense projects
and training. There is a very nice silo photo included in
Burgess (Army) was previously the head of (now defunct) TWA
Airlines before his stint as president of AMF and had a very
distinguished military and civilian career. He died at the
age of 85 in 2002.
2nd document, in the Martin
Documents section of the Document
Library, I am pleased to present, from the inexhaustible
library of Fred Epler:
IN THE EARTH - Some of you may recall I lost a bid on
ebay for this little gem back in June (see below, June 02, 2010)
and was sorry I could not present it here. I appealed to the
world in hopes that someone might come forth and allow it to be
scanned for inclusion here.
never happened. Nary a peep was heard. I figured that
was that, but luckily it wasn't. Fred send me what could
well be described as a "sh*tload" of information on
missiles and their history (a metric sh*tload actually) and there
among it all was the Titans in the Earth brochure in glorious
once again to Fred whose resources and knowledge of the Titans
seem boundless. I hope everyone enjoys this great little
piece of Martin history brought to you by his industry and
more to come to the site as I get things done. The Larson
568 coverage will be taking up my time until it is completed or I
go nuts. Some exciting stuff (to me anyway) on the horizon
will include video, more documents, more photos of course and more
technical and historical information. Now just be patient
while I get it all done.
- The Adventures of Groundskeeper Pete - Part II
II is now available. Quick go read it before flooding
reaches all of Iowa! Part II
covers the main tunnel junction. There may be some talk
- Translation Added, Minor Tweaks Made
added the translation in the latest updates for the foreign
readers. I forgot to include it last night, sorry.
Also fixed some other items of no real consequence.
anyone has any problems with how the new pages (or any pages on
this site) display, please let me know
so I can try to fix it. I don't do extensive
browser-compatibility testing currently so results may vary.
- The Adventures of Groundskeeper Pete - Intro and Part I
promised, some new material here in the form of a new segment chronicling
some of my travels and travails to follow my obsession with Cold
War missile history. July 2010 took me to the somewhat arid
climate of eastern Washington state to visit Larson site 568-C
near Royal City. The latest updates take you along (sort of)
on that trip. I can only hope that I will be able to present
further adventures to other sites in the future.
have to excuse my complaining about air travel in the intro,
but really, the experience was far worse than I describe.
The Intro sets the stage and Part
One gets down to laying bare the 568-C site-- one which has
been thoroughly abused over the years. In any case, it was a
trip to remember and a site like no other. I hope you will
enjoy it and keep watch for the next updates which will follow
apologies to anyone who works in the commercial airline industry,
but really, why does it have to be so damn awful?
- Update's A-Comin'
tonight or very early tomorrow, I will finally have an update (or
maybe 2) so keep your eyes peeled. I'm working on it right
now. The drought is nearly behind us.
- That Sudden Damp Feeling
sudden water theme seems to have descended upon me lately.
Last week, just before a planned trip to visit a flooded Titan I
site in Washington state, I received a kind letter and this
photograph from Larry at Undersea
Adventures Dive Shop:
Me!" - Smooth Larry picks up chicks in the most unlikely of
was of course delighted to receive this great photo of a diver,
some 80 feet down against the monolithic backdrop of the submerged
launcher silo cribwork. Only days later, I would find myself
braving the dark waters of this same silo in a kayak. Sadly
I have no diving experience so I had to remain above the water,
but I did of course document the adventure digitally so I may
share it with you later. (at the cost of a dear digital
camera which sadly took a dip in the decidedly non-therapeutic
waters of propellant terminal #2. It will be deeply missed.)
if you want to see a Titan I as few have, and have been dying to
visit one yourself, then get yourself a dive certification and
contact the good folks at Undersea
Adventures to schedule a
dive. Oh yeah, you'll also have to get yourself to
thanks for the hospitality of the Undersea
Adventures crew for showing
me around and assisting with the incursion.
special thanks go out to Walter Silva for making the trip
possible, for being kind and generous beyond reproach, and for
hauling my fat ass around in the kayak while I juggled lights and
cameras and other accoutrements. Additional thanks to
Walter's girlfriend for her hospitality and boundless charity
which saved me from certain starvation. Thank you!
on the site continues amidst myriad tasks and tedious image
processing. Expect a brief blogular-style account of the
aquatic Adventures of Groundskeeper Pete
to whet your appetite for all things Titan in a swiftly (well,
maybe) upcoming update. Also included: A scathing indictment
of the airline industry whose motto should be "We Suck Now
More Than Ever".
- New Document Added
it is an update, though not a section update with lots of juicy
photos (which is forthcoming I assure you) but an update at any
In the Martin
Documents section of the Document
Library, a short brochure on the Titan I:
TITAN INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILE-
This document is simply a short blurb about Martin and the Titan
project with an accompaniment of photos showing the Denver Martin
facility and test stands, static testing and transport to the Cape
for launching. There are no operational base photos as the
document predates them. In short, it is a nifty little
artifact of the SM-68 program, really just a curiosity, but it
does have a few nice photos though some are commonly seen in other
to a silo near YOU!
no word on the other brochure (see image below). If anyone
has one of them, please
contact me, I would really
like to acquire a scan of this Titans in
the Earth brochure to post here on the web site.
- Status and a Heartfelt Plea
has been a few months with no real update to speak of and I feel
guilty that people are checking in only to find nothing new on the
site. However, this does not indicate that I am just sitting
on my ass-- oh no-- I have been busy with a myriad of activities
relating to the site: documents and photos and more. I have
even found myself distracted from one Titan-related task by one or
more other Titan-related tasks. Rest assured, before
long, I'll have something ready.
now The Plea:
I found the following nifty item for sale on eBay. It's a
small color brochure about how the Titan I and II missiles are the
latest and greatest (at the time) weapons ever made and what an
awesome responsibility it is that the US arsenal includes such
dread deterrents to war. It has a couple neat cut-away
diagrams of the two types of Titan missile sites and other general
information about them.
and You" - An informative pamphlet on nuclear deterrence and
I was outbid. Them's the breaks-- my tough luck
really. Items like this are really an interesting bit of
history to me as they are basically part of a PR campaign by the
various defense industry contractors and serve as both assurance
of US military might and capability as well as a sort of FAQ about
the weapon system(s) for the American populace.
hope was to include it in the library section on the web site
along with a couple other similar documents I've run across.
So I thought I would see if I could reach the new owner of the
brochure/pamphlet and see if I could ask them to send a scan of it
so I can share it here.
please, if you are the new owner, or perhaps know him or her,
please pass on this humble request for me please. My email
I hope we can get in touch. Thanks!
- Erroneous information corrected and a new memoir added
recently received an email from Mike Jackson, SMSgt, USAF (Ret)
pointing out a factual error on Entry
Portal Section Part III
where I stated that the insignia
worn by SMSgt. McMillan had
been changed during the 1960's from a 1-up, 6-down design to a
2-up, 5-down design.
change in fact occurred in 1991 and not in the 1960's as I had
come to believe. My thanks to Mike for having a keen
eye for details and not only notifying me of my mistake but
to corroborate his correction.
would once again like to urge anyone who spots an error on the web
site to please, please take the time to let me know. Drop
me an email and tell me where I've gone wrong! I know I
have made errors that are just waiting to be rooted out. I
try to avoid making assumptions and I work to ensure accuracy, but
let's face it, I'm just one man. So please, call BS on me,
show me the error(s) of my way(s), make an honest man out of me.
an embarrassing delay, I have finally posted a 2nd
memoir by former American Machine and Foundry engineer PNR,
who holds the distinction of being the developer of the Titan 1
flame deflector. He expands on his story of design and talks
frankly of the project, the company and of his contemporaries in
the early missile defense industry.
Brazilian Site Scrapers
again, I've experienced what appears to be a user in Brazil (200.203.xxx.xxx)
scraping my site,
basically vacuuming all its content using software. While I
appreciate that someone wouldn't want to miss anything or might
perhaps want to read the site offline, I would prefer not to be
scraped please. I don't want to start blocking IP
addresses. Thank you.
- Main Tunnel Junction Part IV and a new document added
final part: Main Tunnel Junction Part
IV, is now online, bringing that section to a close (until
further updates arise). Discover Tad and poke about the
inner spaces of T.J.#10 accompanied by my usual ramblings!
news for lovers of missile minutiae! New, in the Martin
Documents section of the Document
I CAPTIVE AND FLIGHT-TEST FIRING HISTORY -
This document compiles data from captive and flight-test firings
of missile lots A through VS from the Denver, Atlantic and Pacific
Missile Range stands.
what caused the firing-test failure of missile C-2 at Denver
test stand #4 on August 20th, 1959?
to know the why the troubled history of missile J-2 met a sad
end over the Atlantic Missile Range on July 1st, 1960 when it was
destroyed by the Range Safety Officer?
Missile J-2 on the launch pad.
courtesy of Art LeBrun
Flight-test of missile J-2 ending in a dramatic conflagration.
courtesy of Art LeBrun
out in this comprehensive history!
next for the site you may well ask? Well, it could be a
further expansion of existing sections such as the Power House,
Mezzanine level, Air Intake and Exhaust, Control Center et cetera,
or perhaps cover new ground. I'm still mulling it
over. Suggestions? Let
me know what you'd like to see.
- Main Tunnel Junction Part III and 2 new documents added
all my usual celerity Main
Tunnel Junction Part III is now online and 2 new documents are
in the Martin
Documents section of the Document
J-20 (XSM-68) OPERATIONAL SUMMARY REPORT -
This summary details the "discrepancies" and problems
encountered with the missile prior to its launch from Cape
Canaveral and the actions taken to resolve them.
the second new addition is in the In
The News section:
DIVE! SWIMMING TO ARMAGEDDON -
short newspaper article on Larson 568-A when one of its silos saw a stint as a
deep dive center. Read
will be one more section to round out the Main Tunnel Junction
before moving on to pastures new (or more likely revisiting
- Main Tunnel Junction Part II added, new document added
Valentine's Day missile lovers! Main
Tunnel Junction Part II is now up for your viewing pleasure
and looks at TJ#10 in old and post-operational photos. Two
more updates will follow to finish up the section.
new document has been added to the Martin
Documents section of the Document
MASTER COUNTDOWN - MISSILE
J-16 - This document is a
detailed countdown checklist for the launch of Titan missile J-16
from Cape Canaveral and shows the actions to be performed and the
person or system responsible for that task or action.
all for now but expect more soon.
- Main Tunnel Junction section completely redone, document added
late than never!
have to stop saying things like "should be up next
week". Every time I do, I am horribly late. In
lieu of an excuse let me just say honestly that tremendous effort
goes into this site in preparing the photos, researching and
writing my awkward, badly-edited text. It takes a lot of
work to sound sort of like I know what I'm talking about, believe
the first part of a major expansion to the TJ#10 section, the
entire section has been re-done and will ultimately consist of at
least 4 parts. Main Tunnel
Junction Part I covers the nomenclature and construction of
this complicated structure.
new document has been added to the Other
Contractor Documents section about a failed water stop seal at
Larson 568-C and it's repair.
section updates to the Main Tunnel Junction coming very soon with
many more photos. I'm finishing up on the next sections so
they will follow shortly. There will also be a few more
documents ready involving the Titan I missile.
- I'm not dead yet. I'm getting better.
just to let you know that the site's not dead or anything, I am
indeed working on the next update right now and it should be
online before month's end. Expect a couple documents and an
expansion of a section that is in dire need of more
information. Lots more photos coming up.