Skip to comments.Peacekeeper officially deactivated, marks end of Reagan's missile system
Posted on 09/19/2005 9:20:19 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
CHEYENNE - The Peacekeeper nuclear missile, credited by some with helping with the demise of the Soviet Union and winning the Cold War, is to be officially deactivated.
F.E. Warren Air Force Base here oversaw the only squadron of 50 Peacekeepers deployed in the United States. Each 71-foot-tall, 8-foot-diameter missile, deployed in the 1980s, carried 10 warheads.
Almost 15 years after the end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, the last Peacekeeper, also known as the MX, has been removed from its hardened silo. A ceremony was scheduled Monday at F.E. Warren to mark the deactivation of the missile.
In 2002 the first Peacekeeper was deactivated after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testified to the House Armed Services Committee that he and the Air Force felt the missile no longer was necessary. The missiles were taken out, one by one, stage by stage, and retired.
When the missiles first came to Wyoming, the United States was in the throes of the Cold War. The Soviet Union had been building up its nuclear arsenal, and the United States felt it needed an added form of deterrence.
President Ronald Reagan began pushing Congress to fund the biggest, most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile system the world ever had seen. Officially it was known as the MX, but he called it the Peacekeeper.
Unlike some other states, Wyoming welcomed the deployment of the missile.
Phil Roberts, associate professor of history at the University of Wyoming, said there was a different attitude here toward nuclear missiles.
After living with the Atlas, Minuteman I and Minuteman III, having a new missile system was nothing new for Wyoming.
"It was not such a big deal," Roberts said.
But it still faced opposition in Wyoming.
Lindi Kirkbride, of Cheyenne, fought against the Peacekeeper for years, arguing it posed a threat to people who had to live with them in their back yards.
She said she doesn't doubt the missiles served their role as a deterrent during the Cold War, but she is not willing to say they are the reason the Soviet Union collapsed.
But others say the missile did what it was supposed to do - deter all-out nuclear war.
"It served its mission; it won the Cold War," said David Robblee, a civilian who has worked on almost every missile system the United States has seen in the last 40 years.
After the Peacekeeper is deactivated, he will retire.
I think they deactivated them from pointing to Russia and they are now pointing to the middle east..... but that's just me.
these should be retargeted towards Iran and NK ,
it's nuts to do away with them.
We'll regret it
We should pay it tribute. But I guess that is not how democracy's handle things.
I wouldn't be so hasty in untargeting them from Russia.