The first visitors began touring North Dakota’s Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site July 13 when the state opened the site’s former missile alert facility and launch facility to the public. The state plans to hold a grand opening event on July 31 and Aug. 1, according to a fact sheet on the State Historical Society Web page. Associated Press reports that the site is surrounded by wheat and soybean fields, looking much as it did during operation. About 30 visitors found the site, where they were able to take an elevator down to see the MAF where the Minuteman ICBM launch crew worked. Among those visitors, reported AP, was former ICBM maintenance technician Lari Helgren, who said, “I’ve slept in this site and eaten in this site, and I’ve worked down in this site many a time.” Both the Oscar-Zero MAF and November-33 LF are near Cooperstown and are the last of the former 321st Missile Wing’s (downsized in 1994 to a missile group and inactivated in 1998) facilities that were spread across 6,500 acres around Grand Forks Air Force Base.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.