Sunday, August 13, 2017


I've got a touch of a summer cold and it's not enjoyable. I'm not that sick, just kinda run down and lacking energy.

So bleh.

I had a great workout Friday. Haven't done a lot of formal working out since the great fencing challenge began, but on Friday I felt the need to push some iron and flip some tires. My improvement in strength and endurance was a bit of a surprise. When I first started the tire flips a couple of months ago three sets of six reps nearly did me in. Friday I did six sets of 10 and still had plenty in the tank. So there's that.


There seems to be a big uptick in activity in the missile fields lately. Quite a few more convoys on the road and escorting helos in the air. I didn't really pay the activity any mind. I like watching the helos and more flying means more opportunity for watching. That's as far as my analysis went.

Mom mentioned the increased activity the other day. I was chatting with her as she hung sheets out on the clothesline and she asked me what I thought about it. I opined that it was likely routine maintenance. As we talked a pair of November Hueys were rat racing at low level, which put a grin on my face as I remember days of yore when I used to get paid (!) for rat racing and other fun activities. It was all training, and good training to boot. Even landing behind the Burger Barn to pick up a big, greasy bag of burgers and fries. Sure, it was fun and exciting and delicious and at least a little bit non-standard, but it was great training. So I watched the Hueys having fun and smiled and hoped that no candy@$$ed civilians would be triggered enough to speed dial Warren and announce their victimization.

Mom said she thought the increased activity had to do with kim dong yum's posturing.

Hmmm. Hadn't thought of that, and here I am the acknowledged military and geopolitical expert of the family.

My mind flashed back to some of the recentish missile field problems which featured large across the interwebs. Cheating on tests, old equipment breaking down, hints of delayed and even gundecked maintenance.

"I wonder," I said, "if any of the missiles even work?"

"Me too," said Mom. "They've been having a lot of problems, haven't they?"


Speaking of missiles...

I think I've mentioned before that we've got a former Atlas-E site bang in the middle of the ranch.
The EJE Atlas site, circa 2017

The SM-65 program was a huge national priority as the 1950's came to a close and and a new decade began. It was the first successful ICBM developed and fielded by the U.S., and more than 100 launch complexes were built and became operational between 1960 and 1965. IIRC, the site on our ranch went operational in 1964.

But the Atlas wasn't the only ICBM project. There were also the liquid fueled SM-68 and SM-68B -- Titan I and Titan I -- as well as the solid fueled LGM-30 Minuteman series. By 1965 the Titan II and Minuteman missiles, which had gone into operational service concurrently with Atlas but were more capable, had made the SM-65 ICBM system obsolete. The Atlas sites were all decommissioned by 1965.


There were exactly zero Titan sites in this part of the world, however, this is where dozens of Minuteman sites went in. The influx of missile field construction crews made Kimball boom, sending the population soaring from less than 3,000 to nearly 10,000. It were good times in many ways. Kimball declared herself Missile Center USA and somehow arranged for an Air Force loan of a Titan I missile as a static display. The big missile was installed in Gotte Park sometime in the mid-60's as an emblem of Kimball's big player status on the ICBM stage. The missile was a constant as I grew up. It was kept shiny and well maintained, and it stayed that way long after the missile boom ebbed and the town began to decline.

Sometime in the mid-2000's the Air Force was required by law to either take back the missile or strip it of the heavy metal structural components. Someone told kongrass that heavy metals had radiation cooties and as everyone knows, radiation is bad. Kimball opted to keep the missile, and the Air Force removed the structural and highly racist metals.
Here's the way I remember the missile. Except it wasn't all blurry back then. To the best of my recollection.

Here you can see the missile as a backdrop to the county fair, circa 1975.
The Titan was re-erected in the park by local volunteers. A couple of days later the top stage fell off in a relatively light wind storm. Nobody saw that coming!

And here's what it looks like today.
The "not-so-100-foot" Titan I, August 11, 2017.

I have a cousin who got his head stuck between those bars. "Go get Aunt Helen!"

Missile motor stuff. The Titan I was fueled by LOX and RP-1(basically JP-4). The deuce used hypergolic fuel.

Yep, that's switch grass growing on the corroded missile.

Bet kim dong yum is shaking in his gold lamé shorts.


And speaking of the county fair, it's fallen on hard times.

Warshin' sheeps.

Pig collision.


Love to see the kids at fair, but where before there were hundreds, today there are perhaps 50.

Things fall apart.


  1. When the CINC wants to rattle the saber. It's up to the folks in the field who double check to make sure the saber will actually come out of the scabbard when needed.

    Probably not routine, but I have every confidence that the majority of those missiles work just fine.

    The media played that crap up big when there were instances of bad behavior. It happens. Is it endemic in the missile force? Absolutely not.

    Rule of thumb, if it makes the military look bad, then of course the MSM will run with it. It's what they do.

  2. Thanks for the post and photos. I echo OAFS.

    Paul L. Quandt

  3. Not fun to be stuck on Hwy 71 behind a bunch of Humvees doing 50 mph when you have a schedule to keep. Price of freedom?

    1. They used to do 90-100 in the old power wagons. Now it's all reflective belts and unconscious bias classes. Which begs the question whether anyone is polishing the missiles. Inquiring Norks and Rooshins and Chinamen want to know.

  4. Now THAT is a belt buckle! When I was a 5th grader, I had the Monogram US Missles kit. I remember the Titan's two engines very well.

    1. Yep, she'd never make it through the terrorism support association screening line. Both Titan and Atlas lofted a lot of stuff into orbit.