Nekoma Safeguard Complex
The Nekoma Safeguard Complex is a unique place in the history of the US military’s anti-ballistic missile effort. A portion of the Wikipedia entry for this place:
The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard complex in Nekoma, North Dakota, with the separate long-range detection radar located further north near the town of Cavalier, North Dakota, was the only operational anti-ballistic missile system ever deployed by the United States. It defended Minuteman ICBM missile silos near the Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota.
It had reinforced underground launchers for thirty Spartan and sixteen Sprint nuclear tipped missiles (an additional fifty or so Sprint missiles were deployed at four remote launch sites). The complex was deactivated during 1976 after being operational for less than four months, due to concerns over continuing an anti-missile-missile arms race, cost, effectiveness, and changing political rhetoric.
We took these photos not a moment too soon… we were promptly thrown off the property by an angry man in a black truck. We went through two gates (they were standing wide open) to get these photos, and we missed one ‘No Trespassing’ sign which was partially obscured by a fence post. Apologies to the property owner. We meant no harm.
Although there were several facilities like this planned, including one under construction in Montana, this facility was the only one like it to go live.
This feature is occasionally referred to as “Nixon’s Pyramid”
In short, nuclear missiles would have been launched from this facility to intercept and detonate incoming Soviet ICBMs.
We featured the Stanley Mickelsen Safeguard Complex in our first book, Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 1.
This anti-ballistic missile defense facility was linked to other remote facilities in the countryside around Grand Forks Air Force Base. Terry’s dad took some photos of RSL #3 here if you’d like to see an example.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
Writers/Bloggers: Ghosts of North Dakota intellectual property and photo use guidelines can be found here.