Your tour starts with a brief video explaining what you'll be seeing inside the missile silo and then you are led to the open area on top of the silo complex where a tour guide explains the mechanics of the missile itself, including its size, its propulsion system and fuels, the outer security systems and spoke about working there, as many of the guides are former employees of the base.
Then we walked to a metal staircase the led to a glass topped area that looked down into the actual silo for the now-deactivated Titan II missile. Unfortunately the glare of the sun on the glass meant I was unable to get a photo looking down into the silo. Those beige panels are the huge sliding sections of roof that covered the silo and that rolled open for launching the rocket.
Next we traipsed down 55 steps to the inner sanctum of the missile silo, entering through three ton steel doors that had to be opened with special codes that were once burned after they were entered. Our tour guide, Bob, explained the tasks and preparedness drills the staff went through on a daily basis and even showed a dry run of what a launching would have been like. Of course, no missiles were ever actually launched from any of the bases. Back in the 60s there were a total of 54 missile silos; 18 in Tucson, AZ, 18 in Little Rock, AR, and 18 in Wichita, Kansas. The silo here in Tucson is the only one still in existence.
The long hallway leading from the command center to the missile launch silo.
The halls weren't built for tall guys.
Looking down towards the base of the silo.
Bob, our tour guide, was a font of information about the Titan Missile base, the program and the mechanics of the rocket itself. If you are interesting in learning more I found a great site here. What I should have done was bring my small digital recorder because the amount of information given is vast and it was all fascinating. Unfortunately, I find that as I age I can look around and listen and process, but I can't always do all three at once.
After leaving the Titan Missile Museum we headed for the Mission San Xavier del Bac just a few miles north off Interstate 19. I've seen photographs of this history church on other RV blogs and wanted to see this "white dove of the desert."
There is a small museum and gift shop on the grounds, as well as a snack bar and a couple of shops operated by local Native Americans. In the parking lot you'll find several stands with local folks cooking tacos and Indian fry bread for sale while the music of a wooden pipe wafts on the breeze. It's only a recording coming from one of the nearby shops, but the sound is magical here in the desert standing in front of the white dove.