In today's world, it is difficult to fully grasp and appreciate the cultural and geopolitical climate that existed after the Allied victory in World War II. The rise of the Soviet Union, the lack of insight into actual military capabilities held by the Soviets, and the threat of nuclear annihilation were existential concerns for the United States leadership. Ensuring the nation's survival in this environment—particularly in the face of the war-weary mindset of the people—required tremendous wisdom and technical foresight. Developing a credible means to deliver a nuclear weapon to intercontinental distances on very short notice provided a powerful deterrent against aggression toward the United States. The men and women who eventually built these intercontinental-range rockets, as well as the ones who transformed nuclear weapons to be capable of launching on these rockets, deserve a key place in our nation's history. This book describes their struggles, both on the technical front and on the political front, as they pursued game-changing capabilities. From the early Atlas and Titan missiles to the Minuteman and Peacekeeper families of missiles, the prowess of our engineers and scientists was evident.
Chapter 1 - The Air Force Enters the Missile Age, 1945-1955 * The Air Force Shuns Ballistic Missiles * Ballistic Missiles Receive New Life * Eisenhower Faces the Threat of Surprise Attack * Trevor Gardner Energizes the Missile Program * Chapter 2 - Creating the Operational Atlas and Titan I First Generation ICBM Force, 1955-1965 * Establishing Force Levels * Developing and Testing the Atlas and Titan * The Development of Vandenberg (Cooke) Air Force Base * Atlas Operational Deployment: F. E. Warren Air Force Base Leads the Way * Titan I Operational Deployment: Lowry Air Force Base Leads the Way * Building the Missile Bases * Training the Operational Force * The Operational Force and the Reliability Issue * Phase-out of the Atlas and Titan I ICBMs * The Balance Sheet: Looking Ahead * Chapter 3 - The "Mighty" Titan II, 1963-1987 * From Titan I to Titan II * The Titan II Takes Flight * Deploying the Titan II * Building the Davis-Monthan Missile Complex * Into an Uncertain Future, 1964-1969 * The Titan Combat Crew Experience * Addressing Crewmember Morale * Bringing Women into the Titan Force * Deactivating the Titan II * Chapter 4 - The "Ace in the Hole" Minuteman, 1945-1991 * Colonel Edward N. Hall Envisions a Revolutionary ICBM, 1945-1959 * A Weapon System Takes Shape, 1958-1961 * The Minuteman I Takes Flight * Deploying the Minuteman I * From Minuteman I to Minuteman II and Minuteman III, 1962-1975 * The Minuteman Combat Crew Experience * SAC's Minuteman Education Program Initiative * Women Join Minuteman Crews * The Minuteman in Transition, 1980-1991 * Chapter 5 - The "Ultimate Deterrent" Peacekeeper, 1971-2005 * An MX Advanced ICBM Project Takes Shape * The Carter Administration Commits to a Basing Strategy * The Reagan Administration Pursues Another MX Basing Strategy * The Scowcroft Commission Establishes an Agenda * The Peacekeeper ICBM Takes Shape * The Air Force Selects F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, for the Peacekeeper's Home * The Site Activation Task Force Deploys Peacekeeper Missiles in Minuteman Silos * The Peacekeeper Becomes Operational * The Air Force Adopts Peacekeeper Rail Garrison Mobility * Arms Control Agreements Set the Course for Peacekeeper * The Peacekeeper Combat Crew Experience * Momentum Builds for Peacekeeper Deactivation * The Air Force Deactivates the Peacekeeper * Chapter 6 - The Once and Future Minuteman III, 1991-2011