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Equipment Terminals Part II

Construction photos of the equipment terminals proved fiendishly rare and I don't have much to offer from that part of the history of the Titan I, or from their operational period for that matter.  What I do have is almost all provided by Mr. F. Epler from his extraordinary collection, without which this site would be greatly diminished.


Bottom of an early equipment terminal's construction.  Workers applying gunnite (sprayed concrete) to the inside walls.  Several more concrete pours are yet to be added before the walls of this equipment terminal will be complete.

Photo courtesy of Fred Epler


Like most of the Titan I complex, the equipment terminals were constructed by excavating the site where a given structure or structures were to be built and then back-filling and compacting soil around the finished construction once it was complete.


This method was used in nearly the entire site with the exception of a few of the vent shafts and the missile silos.  Some vent shafts were actually drilled with auger-type boring equipment, whereas the missile silos were excavated to a depth of about 35 feet and the remaining 120 feet were simply dug out to their full depth and formed from poured concrete within the resulting shaft.


Photo showing the missile silo cap, propellant terminal (foreground) and equipment terminal (upper right) being constructed through a series of concrete pours to build them from the bottom up.  Here the roof slab forms are being built for the propellant terminal and the equipment terminal is under construction in the background.

Photo courtesy of Fred Epler


This photo shows a launcher area under construction before back-filling.  The structure in the foreground is actually one of the propellant terminals, but it illustrates the basic design used for the equipment terminal.  You can see the open access hatch in the roof slab.  The actual equipment terminal is visible at the top right and does not yet have a roof slab in place in this photo.  


The above photo shows the back-fill method used in construction of the launcher areas.  Once back-fill operations were complete, the propellant and equipment terminals would be well below the finished grade.  You can see black asphalt sealant that has been partially applied to the exterior surfaces.


Once the concrete had been poured, equipment and materials were lowered in through the roof access and work began inside.


Let's take a look underground...


The connecting tunnel to equipment terminal #1 at Lowry 724-C.  Yours truly, the silo gnome, guards the entrance with his 6V flashlight.


The approach to the E.T.s shown here is pretty typical: door removed, flooring removed, cable tray gone and piping and wiring gutted out.  The doorway (see below) sill plate is a hinged metal plate that simply rests over the gap left by the rattle space.


Cable penetrations in the steel bulkhead at the entrance to E.T.#1 were essentially air tight.  This was intended to attenuate any blast waves that might enter the complex and prevent extensive damage to the other launchers that could take them off alert status (meaning that they would not be capable of launch).  Notice how the door was installed to open outward.


This is the considerably-more-damp approach to E.T.#2 at 724-C.  There is a lot more corrosion and even some standing water in the tunnel here.


Moving closer to E.T.#2, you can see the rust and effects of the condensing moisture here.  


At Lowry 724-C E.T.#3 This area is usually flooded by water back-flowing into the tunnel from the missile silo which is flooded to a depth of about 100 feet.


Level I: Construction photo showing spring shock mounts for the large utility air compressor.  The compressor's large flywheel is visible in the top right.  Welding equipment stands by in the foreground.  This compressor operated valves and dampers in the AC/heating equipment and other pneumatic controls and systems.


Recent photo showing the absence of not only the utility air compressor but the platform upon which it once rested.  Let me tell you, those are some serious springs right there.  The black stripe in the background is the neoprene seal covering the rattle space between the wall and floor.


Construction photo showing newly-installed cable tray running down through the floor to the level below


Photo circa 2001 of 724-C E.T.#1 level III showing remnants of the inter-level cable trays.  Note the spring beams mounted to the wall on either side.  These are the beams from which the entire floor is suspended.  One of the vertical hanger assemblies can be seen near the top right in this photo.


This construction photo shows how the top 3 levels of the equipment terminals were suspended from above.  The steel sub floor shown here later had a poured concrete slab added on top.  The vertical hanger shown has pivots on both ends to allow the floors to move hoizontally.  Four such hangers per floor supported the entire weight for levels II-IV. 


Circa 1999: Mr. X inspects the spring beam and hanger supports on level IV at 724-C E.T.#1.  The vertical hanger can be seen on the right, attached to the heavy beam by pivoting connectors.


Level III, the Launch and Checkout level, used to be occupied largely by large logic racks like the ones in the following 2 photos.  Much of this equipment was probably far too sensitive and valuable to be left behind, and so far I have not seen any of the logic gear left behind at a site.  However, I have seen some test and checkout gear in private hands, so apparently not all equipment was removed by the Air Force after closure.


A1C Brannon at the logic racks for Control Monitor Group 2020 on Level III.  These racks controlled elements of the Propellant Loading and Pressurization System and the R/V subsystem monitoring and the fuzing system.  

Near Airmen Brannon's head you can finally get a good look at how the hanger pivots are put together.


Take a look at the large cables emerging from the tops of these racks.  Most of the equipment here runs on DC power which requires much larger cabling than AC for transmission even over short distances.  Its no wonder that none of that cable was left behind since it would have been quite valuable.


A1C Brannon, this time at the racks for Control Monitor Group 2030 on level III.  Control Monitor Group 2030 is comprised of the Accessory Supply Subsystem and the Radio Inertial Monitoring Equipment (RIME).

The Accessory Supply Subsystem controls and monitors electrical, hydraulic and AC services to the missile, launch and control checkout systems and provides backup DC power.  RIME monitors the airborne guidance system and its state of readiness.


A1C Brannon at the Missile Auxiliary Pumping Unit which served stages I and II of the missile among other systems.  This unit was located on level II.  Note the checklist in his left hand.

Photo courtesy of Fred Epler


Another look at the Missile Auxiliary Pumping Unit with A1C Brannon

Photo courtesy of Fred Epler


VIPs being shown around the equipment terminal. (level III)  I believe that is Colonel Proctor heading into the elevator.  He is followed by Under Secretary of the Air Force DR. Joseph V. Charyk. Date of photo is April 1961.

My thanks to Fred Epler for identifying Under Secretary Charyk.


Level II: The personnel elevator at 724-C E.T.#1 circa 2002


Up to this point, I've been jumping around with the pictures of the equipment terminal to make "then and now" comparisons, but from here on I will be going by floor, starting with level I.


Level II: looking down through the access hatch into level I.  This is E.T.#2 and you can see the effects of seasonal flooding on the walls and junk on the floor.  Everything on level I is badly corroded or has a layer of dirt/mold/scum on it.


Another view from above into level I.  The sections of steel grating were once used to cover a pipe trench carrying large hydraulic lines from the pumps which used to line the trench.


The equipment terminals at 724-C today are largely torn up like most of the complex, their valuable salvage was easily removed through the 10' equipment hatch in the ceiling.  #1 still has the hydraulic accumulator but not much else.  #2 has suffered a fair bit of flooding and is a mold garden.  #3 is flooded on levels I and II, making exploration difficult to say the least.


Level I: Hydraulic lines and connectors.  These lines ran up the wall to level II where they traveled through the utilities tunnel to service the missile and silo systems.


Hydraulic lines on Level I that once ran from pumps nearby up to Level II and out the utilities tunnel.  This area appears to flood on a seasonal basis and is horribly rusted out and covered with mold and mildew.


Level I: A view down into the sub-floor where a distasteful accumulation of really foul-looking water has condensed down to a thick, dark-red coagulation of filth.  On the surface floats a scabrous crust of unknown composition.  I suspect that the color may be from discarded hydraulic fluid or maybe just rust.  Either way, nasty-looking stuff! 


Level I: Another view of the sub-floor space showing horrifically-rusted hydraulic lines with scum-encrusted muck below.  Note the white speckles-- that is a large mold colony residing on the surface of the crust.


Level I: A most indispensable piece of equipment in any manned underground facility, this is the Sewage Ejector.  This vessel stored air pressure provided by one of the numerous compressors in the E.T., utilizing it to force sewage up and out from (I presume) another larger storage tank to the surface and into the sewage stabilization ponds.  Hope it never failed.  Not only could things get rather unpleasant, but it was quite a walk to the next latrine in one of the other E.T.s or back to the Control Center or Power House-- about a good quarter mile or more.


Level I: A discarded sign rests on the steel-grille flooring.  Its not hard to imagine four large pumps running in concert being quite loud inside a concrete and steel hat box.


Level I: This is the giant hydraulic accumulator-- essentially a large reservoir for hydraulic fluid.  It also heated and filtered the fluid as well-- a lot of it.  This unit stands over 8 feet tall and is about 8' x 6'.


Level I: The hydraulic accumulator viewed from the side.  The bowlers out there will likely recognize the manufacturer's logo from automatic pin-setters found in alleys all over the US and even abroad.  AMF, or American Machine and Foundry, has a long history of defense contracts going back to the beginning of the Cold War.  They used to be involved in the manufacture of everything from bicycles to nuclear power plants.  Known today as Qubica-AMF, the company is now focused only on bowling and recreation.

For more blather about AMF and its role in the Titan I system, see section I on the Missile Silos.

Level I: The control station for the hydraulic pumps and associated equipment

This control panel/station was quite large and sported a confusing array of gauges, indicators, knobs, buttons, dials and switches.

Level I: Another view of the hydraulic control panel showing how it was "dense" with gauges and controls


Level I: Hydraulic control panel - close-up


Level I: Yup, more of the hydraulic control panel-- this shot shows alarm and fault status indicators


Level I: One last look at the hydraulic controls


In the next section, you'll see levels II-III as they appear today.


Click the link below to see more about the equipment terminals or select another location from the map below.


Equipment Terminals Part III



Current Location: Equipment Terminals Part II

Blast Lock #1 Blast Lock #2 Main Map Launcher Area Air Filtration Launcher Area Air Filtration Fuel Terminal Power House Air Intake Power House LOX Bay #1 LOX Bay #3 Equipment Terminal #1 Missile Silo #1 Propellant Terminal #1 LOX Tunnel #1 Propellant Terminal #3 Missile Silo #3 Equipment Terminal #3 LOX Tunnel #3 Utilities Tunnel #1 Utilities Tunnel #3 Launcher Tunnels Launcher Tunnels Launcher Tunnels Launcher Tunnels Launcher Tunnels

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