Atlas F Missile Bases
556th SMS - Plattsburgh, NY
My 2015 Summer Vacation - Daily Blog

I will start entries here the week of August 17th, 2015 documenting a 10 day trip to the Plattsburgh area.

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Day 1 - Departed at 08:00, Traveled 527 miles in 8 hours 36 minutes. Uneventful long drive to Erie, PA ariving at 4:36pm. Stayed at a Home2 Suites by Hilton, very nice hotel.

Day 2 - off at 7:45am  - Arrived Site 1 - Champlain at 3:00pm. 460 miles 7 hours 45 minute trip.
  • Staying on-site, in the Quonset hut.  Pitched inside and that is where I'll be 'camping' for the next 10 days or so.
  • Walked the site, nothing really to report on.

Day 3 – Champlain all day.  Temps in the mid to upper 80’s humid and hot top side.
  • Located several underground cable runs.  Put together a water pump.
  • Worked on the blast doors, one moves freely, the other rusted solid.  Helped sweep up level 1 of the LCC

  • The temp ‘downstairs’ is a comfortable 50-55 degrees, a well needed break from the topside heat today.

  • Went down in the air intake shaft to survey the work Fitz had done removing a blast valve.  Lugged up equipment.

  • Spent some time on Level 1 of the silo, very interesting perspective especially since the silo door is partially open – will need to take the good camera down for better pictures.

Day 4 – Site 1 - Champlain AM – Plattsburgh PM

  • Local Videographer interviewed 2 men who worked on the construction of site 1 and other.  Link to Video.

  • Flew the Phantom 3 around the site to see where the best aerial shots would be.  Decided along the tree line and at a moderate angle to get the best view of the launching site.  Will fly again probably on Thursday to get better video. High flyover video here and lower fly over video here.

  • Worked on the wiring for new pump – hopefully will get it installed on Thursday.

  • Trip to the local newspaper (Press-Republican) did not work as I had hoped.  The newspaper’s archives/photos were not able to be located.  The Editor (Lois Clermont) was very helpful in trying to locate the old photos. Found out later that it was typical that photographers would retain their pictures prior to 1969.

  • Weather was hot and humid during the day.  A brief thunderstorm moved through early in the evening and cooled things down a little.

Day 5 – 8/18 Site 7 - Riverview AM – Plattsburgh PM
  • Traveled to Site 7 – Riverview about 52 miles from Champlain.  Arrived at 9:20 and met with the owner to drop off a few binders that I had borrowed.  She mentioned that a neighbor of hers was cleaning out their attic and had found a few drawings of the missile site.  After reviewing the drawings, they are ‘as built’ underground utility/tanks/conduit engineering drawings for all 12 Plattsburgh launching sites.   I will be copying these and posting to the website after I return home.  I also took some quadcopter video of the site. Overall the site has not changed much as it is now a working farm

  • Traveled about 30 miles to the Plattsburgh Air Force Museum to pickup some poster boards for presentations to Swanton and Alburgh historical societies on Friday and Saturday.  

  • Met up with Doug Wolfe, a retired weather researcher who was at site 6 – Ausable in 1968 doing weather research.

  • Weather is still hot 90 degrees, expecting to cool down over the next couple of days.

  • Back to Champlain for the afternoon and evening. 

 Day 6 – 8/19 – Site 1 – Champlain

  • Had a few visitors stop by and toured the site.

  • Rain is expected tonight – this should be interesting since I’m sleeping in a tin roofed Quanset hut.

Day 7 – 8/21 – Site 1 - Champlain (a picture or two will be added later)
  • Rain was not bad, just like sleeping in a tin can! Fortunately the rain did not last long. 

  • Located a few more underground wires/conduit.  

  • Worked on blast doors to get them moving better.  

  • Traveled about 45 minutes to Swanton, VT for a presentation to the historical society about the missile silos. Met up with my friends John Stone and Dick Somerset for the presentation. About 35 people attended the 1.5 hour presentation presented by John, Dick and myself.

Day 8 – 8/22 – Champlain AM – Alburgh PM for presentation.
  • Worked on the blast doors, got both blast doors swinging again.

  • Traveled about 15 minutes to Alburgh, VT to give the same presentation as last night with Dick and John.

Day 9 – 8/23 – Champlain.
  • Slept in until 7:00 – nice cool sleeping weather finally. 

  • Spent most of the day mucking out level 2 of the LCC – Good hard work out for the day.

  • More flight time with the Phantom, maybe I’ll get this flying and videoing down to a science! 

  • An interesting note to other Phantom owners, when flying about 30 feet above the silo, the compass becomes non-operable due to the amount of steel used in the structure.

Day 10 – 8/24– 
  • Cleanup and bent/folded some steel paneling on level 2
  • Hauled out some of the steel
  • Plattsburgh in the afternoon to replenish some supplies

Day 11 – 8/25
  • Plattsburgh Air Force Museum in the morning to return some displays and meet the director.  I highly recommend visiting this museum they have done an excellent job of displaying the history of the Air Force Base.   

  • Day 12 – 8/26 Champlain

  • Located underground utility power lines.

  • Ron Plante from Bettendorf Iowa visited today.  Had a good exchange of information and stories with him. 

  • Robin Caudell and a photographer from the local paper, Press-Republican, stopped by to get a story about the silo.

Day 13 – 8/27 – Champlain and Vermont

Day 14 – 8/28
  • Last day on the site.

  • Continued to haul out steel paneling and other miscellaneous pieces of debris.

  • Packed car for start of the return trip home tomorrow.

Day 15 - 8/29 
Travel Day - Left Champlain at 5:00am arrived 10 hours later in Fremont, OH.

Day 16 - 8/30
Travel Day - Left Fremont at 6:00am arrived home at 11:00am (EST).  Good to be back home again.


It's not every day a person has the opportunity to stay two weeks at a historic site and do hands on research.  I am very thankful for my host Fitz for letting me camp out in the quonset hut on site.

I believe this is something everyone should do - take time to chase your dreams, have fun with a hobby and share the history and experiences with others.  I had 15 days with no TV, very little cell phone usage, and only checked in at the office in the evenings when I had time.  There was no schedule, no goals, just go and do - and most importantly for me, have fun! This was a great way for me to unwind, relax, get some exercise in and enjoy the company of others at a very relaxed pace.

I'll be posting more pictures over the next several weeks, so check the home page for 'what's new'.