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Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility (MAF) and November-33 Launch Facility, Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site

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1965. 555 113½ Ave. NE, 4 miles north of Cooperstown; Hwy. 200, 2 miles east of Cooperstown
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The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site preserves and interprets the Cold War strategy of nuclear deterrence, and the lives of people who staffed isolated sites like this one. The historic site covers two locations, the Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility (MAF) and the November-33 Launch Facility. For thirty years, Cold War defense strategy kept crews in place for solid-fuel Minuteman missile installations based in Montana, Missouri, Wyoming, and the Dakotas to counter a similar program by the former Soviet Union. This is the best-preserved and well-interpreted missile site accessible to visitors.

The MAF consists of an aboveground Launch Control Support Building that housed an eight-person security and maintenance team and provided access to underground launch control centers (LCCs). Each LCC housed a two-person crew of missileers, working twenty-four-hour shifts, monitoring the missiles and awaiting orders 24/7/365. Two-person security teams, a flight security controller, a facility manager, and a chef rounded out the essential crew at each site on a rotational basis. The underground launch facility (November-33) consists of steel-reinforced, shielded launch control stations for ten missiles. An interesting display of artistic creations by missile control crews remains in place as part of the interpretation that is occasionally given by former missileers. With the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the missile at this site was removed and the silo filled in. An aboveground concrete blast door remains in place. All the single-warhead Minuteman II installations have been decommissioned, but Minuteman III missile fields, capable of delivering three warheads to widely scattered targets, are still operating in North Dakota, based out of Minot Air Force Base. Numerous aboveground Air Force command posts, often well signed and designated by combinations of letters and numbers, can also be seen in northeastern and north central North Dakota.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility (MAF) and November-33 Launch Facility, Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site", [Cooperstown, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 64-65.

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