Oscar Zero

Copyright 2009-2014, Scott D. Murdock
12 Oct 2010 - Added additional photos.

13 Jan 2013 - Updated information on SRMSC water booster stations.

5 Dec 2014 - Described stone markers as Medium Frequency antenna field markers.


I planned this trip as soon as I learned that the former Grand Forks AF Missile Site O-00 ND was now open as a historic site. Over Labor Day weekend, I flew to Grand Forks to visit the installation. This was my first time using Grand Forks International Airport (GFK). While I was in the area, I also visited some other former missile alert facilities in the Grand Forks missile field. And I accidently stumbled upon two of the three water reservoir/pumping stations of the SAFEGUARD system! All of the sites I visited on this trip are in North Dakota.

Saturday, 5 Sep 2009

My aircraft departed Denver at 0629, transiting MSP before arriving in Grand Forks at 1240.  A Toyota Avalon awaited me in the rental lot. My goal for the day was to find and photograph six Launch Control Facilities (sorry, I still haven't gotten used to the newfangled term Missile Alert Facility) and a long-range radar site before stopping for the night.

Grand Forks AF Missile Site K-00 (9881, JFXD)
(General view of Launch Control Facility (LCF) from access road)
(Launch Control Support Building (LCSB) viewed from gate)
(Vehicle garage)
(Hardened Ultra High Frequency (UHF) antenna)
(Obsolete USAF sign)
(Side view of LCSB)
(LCSB)
(General view)
(General view)

Finley Air Force Station (1444, GQYZ)
(Gate)
(General view of site)
(General view of site)
(General view of site)
(General view of site)
(General view of site)
(Radar tower)
(Radar tower)

Finley Communications Facility Annex (7298, GQZD)
(View of GATR building looking WNW)
(View of GATR building looking NW)

I observed the former location of Finley Family Housing Annex (4925, GQZM) but did not photograph it. The houses have been removed and the land was being used to park RVs and other vehicles attending a racing event adjacent to the former housing. I looked for, but was unable to find the location of Finley Water System Annex.

Grand Forks AF Missile Site M-00 (9580, JFYB)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(Hardened UHF antenna)
(Partial side view of LCSB)
(Partial view of LCSB showing pole for basketball hoop)
(Vehicle garage)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site L-00 (9612, JFXQ)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(Side view of LCSB)
(LCSB)
(LCSB)
(Access gate)
(View of LCF from helipad)
(Vehicle garage and unknown building)
(Hardened UHF antenna in distance)
(Helipad)
(General view)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site N-00 (9635, JFYN)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(Gate and vehicle garage)
(Hardened UHF antenna)
(Medium Frequency (MF) antenna field marker outside fence, LCSB in background)
(Closeup of MF antenna field marker)
(Side view of LCSB)
(LCSB)
(View of helipad from access road)
(General view)
(Vehicle garage)
(Hardened Intersite Communications System marker pole)
(Gate)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site I-00 (9525, JFWF)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(LCSB)
(Hardened UHF antenna)
(Vehicle garage)
(Corner of security fence with windsock frame)
(Side view of LCSB with obsolete USAF sign on security fence)
(View of helipad from access road)
(Gate and LCSB)
(View from road)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site J-00 (9574, JFWS)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(Sign on gate)
(General view)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(Hardened UHF antenna)
(Side view of LCSB)
(Opposite side view of LCSB)
(LCSB)
(LCSB)
(LCSB)
(Electric power poles)
(Medium Frequency (MF) antenna field "dipole field" with faded sign)
(MF antenna field)
(MF antenna field warning sign)
(LCSB and vehicle garage with obsolete USAF sign on fence)
(View of LCF from helipad)
(Vehicle garage)
(Vehicle garage)
(Obsolete USAF sign)
(Helipad)
(General view)

After 271 miles in 6.83 hours, I stopped for the night on Grand Forks AFB (3348, JFSD). My lodging room was very nice, and I appreciate the visitor map which was up-to-date, geared to visitors (rather than to assigned personnel), and professionally printed. Not the photocopy of a photocopy of an old map that a lot of bases still pass off as acceptable.

Sunday, 6 Sep 2009

I knew this was going to be a long day, so I got on the road at 0600.

Grafton Gap Filler Annex (P-29B) (3271)
(General view of gap filler building)
(General view of gap filler building)
(General view of gap filler building)
(General view of gap filler building)
(General view of gap filler building)
(General view of gap filler building)
(General view of gap filler building)
(General view of gap filler building)
(General view of gap filler building)
(General view of gap filler building)
(Gap filler building and footing for former radar tower)
(Closeup of two of the three radar tower footings)

Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex (SRMSC) Water Booster Station #2  This was one of three such installations that were part of the Army's Safeguard system; judging from the signage the property was transferred to the Air Force at some point in time, perhaps when the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Site was transferred to become Concrete Missile Early Warning Site (eventually, Cavalier Air Force Station).
(General view)
(General view)
(Obsolete USAF sign)
(Reservoir)
(Reservoir)
(Pumping station building)
(Pumping station building)
(Pumping station building)
(Pumping station building)
(Pumping station building showing facility number)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site C-00 (9633, JFTM)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(LCSB)
(Entrance gate)
(Hardened UHF antenna)
(View of helipad from access road)
(View of LCF from helipad)
(Vehicle garage)
(General view)

Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex (SRMSC) Water Booster Station #3  This was one of three such installations that were part of the Army's Safeguard system; judging from the signage the property was transferred to the Air Force at some point in time, perhaps when the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Site was transferred to become Concrete Missile Early Warning Site (eventually, Cavalier Air Force Station).
(General view)
(General view)
(Obsolete USAF sign)
(Obsolete USAF sign)
(Pumping station building)
(Pumping station building)
(Pumping station building)
(Pumping station building with current sign)
(Reservoir)
(Reservoir)
(Fire hydrant)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site A-00 (9790, JFSP)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(Obsolete USAF sign)
(Vehicle garage)
(Angled view of LCSB showing USAF sign)
(Hardened UHF antenna)
(Side view of LCSB)
(View of helipad from access road)
(View of LCF from helipad)
(Fence with sign)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site E-00 (9758, JFUK)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(Oblique view of LCSB)
(LCSB)
(Vehicle garage)
(Former location of hardened UHF antenna)
(View of helipad from access road)
(View of LCF from helipad)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site E-43 (9490, JFUN)
(View from road)
(Closer view of USAF sign)

Now it was time for the highlight of the trip, a visit to the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site. The Air Force inactivated the Grand Forks missile sites back in the 1990s, and while demolition of the silos and partial demolition at the alert facilities was the norm, this one alert facility was preserved. The State of North Dakota now operates it as a historic site.  I made advance plans for my visit with Mr. Mark T. Sundlov, Site Supervisor. At the site, I was guided by Ms. Dorreen Beaver. My thanks to Mark for arranging access and my thanks to Dorreen for patiently showing me around. I also made contact with Ms. Becky Meidinger of the Friends of Oscar Zero group; she explained that the Friends are a nonprofit entity that supports the development and ongoing expenses of the site.

If you are thinking, "I've seen the preserved Ellsworth D-01 missile alert facility in South Dakota, it's the same thing so I'm not going to Cooperstown." then study my photos carefully. The thing is, Grand Forks was the last of the six Minuteman missile wings to be built, and its Sylvania-built launch control centers are MASSIVE compared to the TINY Boeing-designed launch control centers you might have seen at the Ellsworth site (or at other Minuteman wings). I was prepared for the size difference based on my research, but it was so striking in person that I laughed out loud when I saw it for myself.

Grand Forks AF Missile Site O-00 (9637, JFYZ)
Outside the Fence
(Vintage USAF "O-00" sign on stop sign post)
(View looking down access road at facility)
(View of LCF from access road approaching parking area)
(Helipad with LCF compound in background)
(Current sign at entry gate)
(Vintage USAF signs at entry gate)
(MF antenna field marker)
(MF antenna field marker)
(MF antenna field marker)
Inside the Fence
(Satellite television receive-only (TVRO) antenna, sewage lagoon in background behind "Keep Out" sign)
(Ventilation air exhaust and intake)
(Ventilation air intake and exhaust)
(LCSB showing security lighting)
(Vehicle garage and fueling point)
(Fuel tanks and hard High Frequency (HF) receive antenna)
(General view of LCSB)
(General view of LCSB)
(LCSB and hard UHF antenna)
(Closeup of soft Super High Frequency (SHF) receive antenna)
(Base of SHF receive antenna)
(LCSB and soft SHF receive antenna and Very High Frequency (VHF) antenna)
(LCSB and vehicle garage)
(Closeup of hard UHF antenna)
(Detail on hard UHF antenna radome)
(Hard UHF antenna and hard High Frequency (HF) transmit antenna)
(Hard HF transmit antenna)
(Hard HF transmit antenna)
(Hard HF receive antenna)
(General view of LCSB)
(Hard HF receive antenna and satellite dish antenna)
(LCSB showing VHF antenna and soft SHF receive antenna)
Ground Level Inside the LCSB
(Common living area)
(Common living area)
(Common living area, note flashing red alert light on wall)
(Dining area, kitchen in background)
(Kitchen)
(Typical sleeping room)
(Site diagram used for visitor safety briefings)
(Security Control Center (SCC))
(SCC)
(SCC)
(SCC)
(SCC)
(SCC)
(SCC)
(SCC)
(SCC)
(SCC)
(Fire hose)
(Fuel card imprinter)
Transition Area
(Upstairs elevator access area with large exterior doors in background)
(Communications station in upstairs elevator access area)
(Artwork in upstairs elevator access area)
(Looking down emergency ladder from upstairs elevator access area)
(Looking down emergency ladder from upstairs elevator access area)
(Elevator equipment in upstairs elevator access area)
(Elevator car controls)
(Elevator car emergency hatch)
(Bottom of elevator shaft, emergency ladder to left)
(Bottom of elevator shaft while car is upstairs)
(View looking up elevator shaft)
Launch Control Equipment Building (LCEB)
(LCEB blast door)
(Looking into LCEB)
(Generator inside enclosure)
(Shock isolator)
(General view inside LCEB)
(Equipment)
(Equipment)
Launch Control Center (LCC) Periphery
(Looking into LCC)
(Hatch to emergency escape tunnel)
(LCC suspended within enclosure)
(Detail at front of LCC)
(Detail at front of LCC)
(Floor hatch for access to area around capsule within enclosure)
(View from LCC looking past elevator access area into LCEB)
LCC Interior
(View through blast door into LCC)
(Equipment racks)
(Deputy position, commander position in background)
(Equipment in center of LCC, bunk in background)
(Deputy position)
(Detail of shock absorber system)
(Commander position)
(Launch keys at commander position)
(Equipment with wall mural in background)
(Bunk)
(Restroom)
(Equipment racks)
(Equipment racks)
(Equipment racks)
(Equipment racks)
(Equipment racks)
(Lockbox showing two hasps for two locks)
(Lockbox)
(Supply cabinet above microwave oven)
(Overhead lights and copper grounding bar)
(Artwork above entrance portal as seen from LCC, restroom door at left)
(Status board viewed from commander position, deputy position to left)
(View above commander position)
(Equipment racks, shock isolator to left)
(Artwork on LCC wall)
(LCC blast door)
(LCC entrance)
(LCC far side)
(LCC far side)

The other component of the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site is just a few miles away. The below-ground portions of this launch facility were destroyed, but the surface features were preserved. Missile site afficianados will know that the Grand Forks launch facilities had a hardened Launcher Equipment Building as opposed to the earlier five Minuteman wings that had softer Launcher Support Buildings.

Grand Forks AF Missile Site N-33 (9614, JFYR)
(View from outside fence showing USAF "N-33" sign)
(View from outside Launch Facility (LF) fence showing current sign)
(General view of LF showing Improved Minuteman Physical Security System (IMPSS) antenna)
(Detail of IMPSS antenna)
(Launcher closure)
(Launcher closure)
(Launcher closure)
(Launcher closure)
(Access to Launcher Equipment Building (LEB))
(Access to LEB)
(Primary door and security pit door)
(Primary door and security pit door)
(Primary door and security pit door)
(Outer Zone (OZ) security system radar receiver antenna)
(OZ radar receiver antenna)
(OZ radar receiver antenna)
(Detail on OZ radar receiver antenna)
(Ventilation air intake and exhaust)

(General view of LF)
(General view of LF)
(General view of LF)
(Lanyard mounting point)
(Vent detail)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site H-00 (9515, JFVU)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(Vehicle garage)
(Hardened UHF antenna)
(View of helipad from access road)
(View of LCF from helipad)
(General view)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site G-00 (9724, JFVH)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(Vehicle garage)
(Angled view of LCSB)
(Hardened UHF antenna)
(View of helipad from access road)
(View of LCF from helipad)
(General view)
(General view)

Grand Forks AF Missile Site F-00 (9759, JFUW)
(General view of LCF from access road)
(General view)
(LCSB viewed from gate)
(Vehicle garage)
(Location of former hardened UHF antenna)
(View of helipad from access road)
(View of LCF from helipad)

Including the two I visited a few years ago, I have photographed alll 15 of the Grand Forks LCFs! When I arrived back at my room on Grand Forks AFB, I had covered 457 miles in 12 hours.

Monday, 7 Sep 2009

This was a lazy day, I didn't even depart lodging until 0900.

Grand Forks Defense Fuel Supply Point (JFSE)
(Gate)
(Gate and sign)
(Boarded-up building)
(General view)
(General view)

I only drove 36 miles in 1.15 hours, before turning in the car at GFK. The total was 764 driving miles on the rental car. I departed GFK at 1305 and made it home to DEN at 1806.


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