- Late Breaking News!
All in the Family: Three Generations of Aerospace Engineering
This coming wednesday, March 8th, 2023 University of Denver will host a presentation in three parts, each given by men from successive generations of aerospace engineers from the same family spanning from 1950 to the present.
From the University of Denver web site:
Discover engineering passion across three generations from the 1950s to 2030 and beyond. Engineers Bill, Greg and Chip Bollendonk talk about achieving engineering balance to create new aerospace products, from early Titan rockets to manned spaceflight and deep space exploration programs. Learn how they apply technology and imagination to create new products and capabilities in the face of cost, schedule and resource constraints. Plus, see how their engineering day jobs overlap with automotive passion, and how they apply expertise to maintain and operate vintage sports cars.
More information HERE and HERE
I can't speak to whether the lecture is open to all, or only to students, but there are a limited number of seats available and the fee to attend is $25.
Personally, if I were able to attend, I surely would as Bill's supplementary material "Titan I ICBM Activation at Lowry AFB" (linked below) was completely fascinating to read. I was riveted as he told his story about getting the largest ICBM sites ever built ready to deliver to the Air Force on time.
You can read his story HERE
Sorry for the extremely short notice but I only found out recently myself!
11/20/2022 - Pete Sidelined (temporarily), A Nuclear Holiday, New historical photos up on the Overpressure Archive and a project in the works.
This update comes rather late as it was planned for a few months ago. Preparing for a surgical procedure and the resultant loss of mobility saw me far too busy to finish a lot of planned goals. I raced to complete tasks that were triaged to the top of the priority list and conceded defeat on many others in the short time remaining before I would go under the knife and be unable to walk.
And so I became a victim of podiatric surgery, something I've forestalled for decades until recently when it became unavoidable. And now I am largely inert as I allow myself to recover from the insult. I cannot walk unaided, and as I am compelled to keep my foot elevated to a relative level somewhere above that of my ass at all times (within practicality), even sitting at a desk to write these words is a challenge. But enough about me...
Thanksgiving On Alert
The holidays are upon us once again, like it or not, and no matter your feelings on Thanksgiving, for many, it means being together with family and friends. The missile combat crews worked long hours on alert (or off if something was awry) and their mission and its import could doubtless take a toll on moral with so many hours away from family, spouses, hearth and home.
While it was not feasible to issue leave to the crews on the major holidays, they were afforded time to share holiday meals with their spouses and children. That's right, the families were invited to dine with their airmen while on alert some 65 feet underground to ensure that missile defense maintained combat-ready status.
SAC bulletin to base commanders allowing crews' families to attend the Thanksgiving meal "...AT THE ALERT DINING FACILITY."
Sadly I do not currently have any holiday photos of the crews and their families dining together on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but if anyone has any holiday photos of the operational sites, I'd love to see them. Please contact me if you have any photos, or are aware of any showing holidays on alert in a Titan I underground complex. I'd love to see and share them!
As a diversion, here are some photos of the dining/kitchen facility:
A1C Brannon getting chow at Lowry 724-C in 1963.
A view of the kitchen and dining area showing the serving/prep area and the refrigerator and freezer at an unknown Lowry site.
A view of the kitchen and dining area showing the serving/prep area with sinks, stove/grill, vent hood and the refrigerator and freezer at an unknown Lowry site.
A view of the kitchen and dining area showing the serving/prep area and dining tables at an unknown Lowry site.
A view of the kitchen and dining area showing the serving/prep area, chilled beverage service and dining tables with extra tables stacked nearby at an unknown Lowry site.
New Photos Added to the Overpressure Archive
New photos have been posted (sporadically) to the Overpressure Archive showing the install of missile SM-11 into silo #1 at Vandenberg AFB 395-A, the Titan I OTF (Operational Test Facility). This continues a series that shows the missile's stages being unloaded from their trailers, rigged up and positioned over the launcher silo for installation on the missile platform. More photos from this series are forthcoming as I get them scanned.
Foolishly, I forgot to try and preserve the order in which the images should be presented from beginning to end. I hope to correct this soon so that the entire process can be viewed from proper start to finish.
Something else in the works...
A terrible accident occurred at Lowry Titan I site 724-A late in its construction. Until recently it was largely forgotten, and even now, few if anyone, knows the full truth of what happened on that tragic day of August 7, 1961.
This piece, when completed, will explore the events leading up to the accident and try to make sense of exactly what happened, given what is publicly known at this time, that day in 1961 that ended multiple lives, devastated families, and destroyed careers.
I cannot be certain when I will finish the story, but it will appear here when it is complete.
07/17/2022 - A very important video link, and an updated "Links" section.
A Casualty of the COLD WAR. The Donald E. Baker Story
Few people today likely recognize the scale of a defense inititive like the ICBM programs rushed into development and deployment in the 1950s. The Titan I, limited in scope by its own obsolescence, was small in terms of deployment compared to Atlas and Titan II's sheer numbers, but huge in terms of each site's physical size and the manpower required to build them.
Such a project could easily be expected to have a comparably-large human toll in terms of injuries and fatalities, and yet, Titan I was given an exemplary rating for an impressively safe track record.
Curiously, the statistics behind this glowing review omitted a few incidents completely, and those most-notably, were among the worst, most violent and horrific that would comprise the human costs of US missile defense.
Atlas and Titan II suffered terrible accidents and mishaps that took a shocking toll, and combined, claimed an astonishing body count measured against Titan I's fatal accidents. Atlas and Titan II's accidents seem far more familiar than one that occurred on August 7th, 1961 in Aurora Colorado.
All these decades later, it appears August 7th, 1961 is nearly unheard of-- another mote of history fading from all recollection in spite of the most horrific nature of the deadly and tragic event that would claim 4 lives and injure 8 more.
It is the memory of these men, the dead, and the survivors impacted so gravely by tragedy, that history exists to remember.
Donald E. Baker, the last victim whose broken body was recovered after 3 days of gruelling effort, would have a legacy of a widowed mother of 4 children, a fractured family, and a memory of a tradgedy that would soon fade from history.
Nik and his crew at Nuclear Bunker Living recently sat down with Thomas Baker, son of Donald E. Baker, to discuss his late father and the tragic accident that shook the Titan I site at the 11th hour.
Watch it at Nuclear Bunker Living's channel here:A Casualty of the COLD WAR. The Donald E. Baker Story
Links Section Finally Updated! A plethora of Atlas info added!
Long out-of-date, neglected and full of broken links, the Links section has been gone through to update or remove invalid links that are alas, gone or just simply changed.
Additionally, I should mention a significant number of new entries on the Atlas system by David J. covering well, pretty much All Things Atlas as one of the links promises.
David has set his sights very high as he aims to chronicle every aspect of Atlas missile history. I think you will be hard-pressed to find a better stop on the internet for finding information and history on the Atlas missile systems.
Coming Soon, More Historical Photos.
Keep your eyes peeled as I will be adding more historical images from the construction and operational phases of Titan I history.
The next set will likely include never-before-seen (on the internet) images of Titan I installation into the launcher silo, rare shots of the counterweights, silo doors, and more!
04/30/2022- After 6 years, Titan I Epitaph finally gets some updates!
Not gone, but nearly forgotten, Titan I Epitaph has been hibernating for 6 years without any meaningful updates. However, i've finally gotten up off my ass, thanks in large part to the emails and inquiries of readers asking "Are you dead? Did you die?" (mostly just joking there, but I can't fault anyone for wondering!) But mostly, it was time and things are going on and I needed to get back to business.
Does this mean daily, hourly, and up-to-the-minute updates? No way, but you can expect my usual random releases to resume-- the Phoenix has risen but likely will spend a lot of time perched in an asbestos tree!
This also means the broken links to the Overpressure Archive have been repaired and you can expect changes to be happening here and there about the site as I fix, change and correct things I notice I screwed up.
As always, I do encourage you to please alert me to any problems with the site as I may go blissfully unaware for years that a problem exists without anyone mentioning it. This brings me to another topic:
As always, I do encourage you to alert me to any problems with the site as I may go blissfully unaware for years that a problem exists without anyone mentioning it. This brings me to another topic:
The Horror of Link Rot
If you're not familiar with this unfortunate process, Link Rot is what happens when the World Wide Web, just like ourselves, starts to age, become forgetful, and yes, in some instances, even die.
You'll have to forgive the stretching of this comparision of the World Wide Web with a living being, but as it is tied to we mortals, it can, in a sense do just that.
I have many links throughout the site that take you to other sites. These can be videos, articles, photos and any other thing found online. These are helpfully linked to by myself to provide other sources of (usually) relevant information on or relating to the topic of missile defense.
As these external sources are owned and operated by someone else, I have no control over them and these sources of videos, images and text can be moved, deleted or edited at any time and may never come back, ever. I am helpless to prevent this except when a link changes, and I can update it to connect to the new link.
If not corrected, a broken link often yields the dreaded ERROR 404: STUFF NOT FOUND. That's it. It's not there anymore. It has ceased to be, joined the choir invisible, et cetera. Thanks for playing, but nobody's home. You're done. Bye bye now!
That's Link Rot. Not very satisfying.
A quick survey of my Links section revealed rot in its advanced stages with probably greater than 50% of external links being broken. Not so great. I will be working to recover as much of them as possible.
The point of this dull discussion on the matter of rotten links is foremost, to remind folks not to take the web for granted. You may have been visiting a site for years to read or view something there, perhaps even returning time and time again to view the same photo or text and share it with somneone else.
One day that article or video may be gone-- for good.
One day my site, may be gone-- for good.
The Wayback Machine/Internet Archive recognizes that cultural and historical web sites are subject to vanishing forever and has worked for decades to preserve and archive not just the Web from its infancy, but nearly all aspects of human creation that can be digitally preserved and stores them for all people.
This is comforting news, but I say to you, if you value it, save it. Download it, copy it if you can, because if you expect it to always be there, likely one day you will find it is not.
By the way, I have no ties to https://web.archive.org/ and the Internet Archive. The above is not a paid endorsement and I was not asked or compensated in any way by the aforementioned.
Now on with the show!
- Announcing Nuclear Bunker Living
At long last, a Titan awakens! Someone has recently acquired a site and is hard at work cleaning it up, pumping out the water and making big plans.
I've been waiting more than 20 years to see someone try to really tackle a Titan I. Now someone is poised to do just that. Prepare yourself for...
THE RISE OF THE TITANS
Nik stares unblinking into the abyss!
courtesy of Nuclear Bunker Living
Best of all, he is willing to share his adventures with YOU!
Yes you! You, the guy with the NORAD hat. You, the guy with and Strategic Air Command patch. You, with the propeller beanie and MCCC jumpsuit. You internet folks with a compelling curiousity about massive underground bunkers. Yes you!
Nik and his crew invite you to join them as they reveal places and spaces not seen for decades as they uncover the mysteries of a Titan I underground complex.
Watch as they lay bare the once-submerged recesses of the largest ICBM complex ever built by Uncle Sam...
See for yourself: Nuclear Bunker Living channel
There you will find many hours of video about Nik's site, Titan I history and the activities going on below and above.