Ellsworth Air Force Base, Delta Flight, 10 mile radius around Exit 127 off Interstate 90, Interior, Jackson County, SD
Significance: Ellsworth Air Force Base, Delta Flight (Minuteman II ICBM) is an important icon of the American participation in the arms race and the Cold War. When the Soviet Union began to expand its boundaries and increase its military strength after World War II, many American leaders ascribed these activities to a deep-seated and innately hostile Soviet expansionism which would not end until the American way of life had been destroyed, and the entire world had been converted to Communism. The United States planned to deter Communist aggression by threatening immediate and massive retaliation using nuclear weapons. As the nation mobilized to implement this strategy during the 1950s, the United States Air Force was called upon to develop and deploy an entirely new type of weapon capable of delivering a thermonuclear warhead to targets half a world away. This weapon was the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM); and the Minuteman ICBM weapon system was the culmination of that effort.
Survey number: HAER SD-50
Building/structure dates: 1961-1963 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1991-1993 Subsequent Work