A ground-shaking blast reduced the nation’s last workable Minuteman II missile silo to rubble Monday, bringing the final curtain down on a relic of the Cold War.
A small puff of smoke drifted into the air as the silo, once armed with nuclear-tipped missiles, imploded.
“This is really a wonderful day. In fact, this is a celebration,” Brig. Gen. Tom Goslin Jr. declared.
Some 300 people who had gathered on Jerome and Suzanne Bellinghausen’s farm to watch whooped and applauded as the sound of the explosion echoed across the pasture.
The silo was the last of 150 in Missouri that once contained Minuteman II missiles aimed at targets in the Soviet Union.
The missiles were deactivated and the silos ordered destroyed due to the signing in 1995 of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
In all, there were about 1,000 Minuteman II silos across the Midwest and the northern United States. All are now gone except for one that is to be turned in to a museum, an Air Force spokesman said.
The United States still keeps its triple-warhead Minutemen III missiles based in silos, as well as its Peacekeeper missiles. But these days they are aimed at sea rather than Russian cities, said Capt. Mike Busch who helped run the Minuteman II launch program.