Once again the Enderlin Lions Club took to the road for a tour of a local historic.
27 Lions and friends left the Enderlin Inn Motel parking lot 1pm Tuesday, July 22
in an EHS school bus driven by High School Principal Tim Michaelson. 85 miles
later they arrived at the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missileman Launch Center
(3 miles north of Cooperstown, North Dakota), which is now administered by the
State Historic Center.
This launch facility, most of which is underground, was staffed 24/7 during the
Cold War. From here 10 nuclear tipped missiles were targeted and controlled as the
ultimate deterrent against similarly armed countries.
The group was received by professional state tour guides and was given a walking
tour of the above ground structure. However, the key feature of the trip was an elevator
ride 50 feet down to the hardened and totally self-contained launch rooms where Air
Force personnel stood ready to let slip thermo nuclear war on direct command of the
President of the United States.
During the approximate 30 year use of this site (until 1997) no missiles were ever
launched but the site was always managed and controlled as a top-secret restricted national
Touring Enderlin Lions Pat Feist, Karl Stordalen, Andrew Albert Peterson, Jerry
Hanson and Maynard Torbenson had had military experiences during this time, with
Lions Hanson and Torbenson both in the Air Force and both stationed at the Grand
Forks Air Base (which
oversaw this launch center).
With the break up of the Soviet Union, our country’s nuclear arsenal began to
stand down and this launch facility is now open to all photography, any questions
and unrestricted access.
Following the hour plus tour the group stopped at a de-activated Minutemen
missile silo several miles east of Cooperstown and followed a self-guided trail of various
features. Supper was held at the Ashtubula Crossing and all returned to Enderlin
The following Enderlin/ Sheldon residents enjoyed the trip: Tim Michaelson (bus
driver), Willard Lee, Andrew Albert Peterson, Myrene Peterson, Ellen Gross, Les Schroeder,
Daryl Nellermoe, Ruth McCleerey, Terry Taylor, Marilyn Miller, Dorothy Larson, Jerry
Hanson, Dean Torbenson, Maynard Torben-son, Mark Bartle, Karl Stordalen, Ralph
Herman Oehlke, Pat Feist, Robert Ludtke, Tom Farnham, Gerald Sletmoe, Mike Martin,
Susan Dopp, special attendees from Colorado were the Craig, Peggy, Bryce and Curran