Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Titan II ICBM Launch Complex 374-5 site
Titan II ICBM Launch Complex 374-5 site

TITAN II ICBM LAUNCH COMPLEX 374-5 SITE, SPRINGHILL, FAULKNER COUNTY

SUMMARY

The Titan II ICBM Missile Silo 374- 5 Site, which contains surface and subsurface remains, is exceptionally significant in that it is the best preserved of nine former Titan II facilities associated with the 374th Missile Squadron of the 308th Strategic Missile Wing. The number and quality of surface features, including support features such as the helicopter pad and theodolite siting marker, provide a high degree of integrity for the site. Coupled with the extensive intact below-ground components of the site, they make it eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A with national significance within the historic context Titan II ICBM Launch Complex Sites Associated with the 308th Strategic Missile Wing in Arkansas. Because of the nationally significant role the Titan II missile complexes of the 374th Strategic Missile Squadron and the 308th SMW played in the nuclear strategies of the Cold War, it also meets the “exceptional importance” requirements of Criteria Consideration G: Properties That Have Achieved Significance Within the Last Fifty Years.

ELABORATION

The 374th Strategic Missile Squadron, one of only six such squadrons nationwide to operate Titan II ICBM launch complexes, was activated on 1 September 1962. Its crews manned nine of the 18 launch complexes under the aegis of the 308th Strategic Wing for more than 20 years (one, Titan II ICBM Launch Complex 374- 7, was decommissioned earlier after being severely damaged in a launch duct explosion), maintaining the nation’s nuclear deterrent by servicing a high-yield nuclear weapon that the Soviet Union feared and respected. The 374th SMS was formally deactivated on 15 August 1986, just 17 days shy of 24 years of service.

Construction on Titan II ICBM Silo 374-5 began on 15 February 1961, the last of 18 sites for the 308th Strategic Missile Wing. The site was placed on alert on 26 December 1963. Launch Complex 374-5 was taken off strategic alert on 19 May 1986 after 22 years of service. Headworks demolition took place on 1 May 1987.

The number and integrity of site features at the Titan II ICBM Missile Silo 374-5 site show that the overall site has a high degree of integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association of the 26-year span from construction to demobilization. In fact, it is the most intact and least altered of the nine launch complex sites associated with the 374th Missile Squadron. As such, it meets the requirements for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A within the historic context Titan II ICBM Launch Complex Sites Associated with the 308th Strategic Missile Wing in Arkansas. Because of the nationally significant role the Titan II missile complexes of the 374th SMS and the 308th SMW played in the nuclear strategies of the Cold War, it also meets the “exceptional importance” requirements of Criteria Consideration G: Properties That Have Achieved Significance Within the Last Fifty Years.

The missile silo complexes of the 308th Strategic Missile Wing served in many ways as the front lines of the Cold War, and their deactivation under President Reagan’s arms modernization program is a key part in their history. The deactivated silos, as they appear today with their earthen mounds and concrete pads, reflect their entire history, which ultimately culminated in their demobilization and abandonment. Titan II ICBM Complex 374- 5 remains a silent and moving reminder of the days when the 308th SMW stood at the forefront of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“Ballistic Systems Division Management Data System Titan Master Schedule, March 1965.” Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. This document is classified SECRET. The information used is unclassified.

“Titan Deactivation Program, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas.” Headquarters, Strategic Air Command, Maintenance Directorate. Titan Missile Museum Archives, Sahuarita, Arizona.

“Histories of the 308th Strategic Missile Wing, 1963-1987,” Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. These documents are classified SECRET. The information used is declassified.