America’s pyramid: Photos reveal the Egyptian-esque missile facility used by the U.S. military to detect and launch ICBM
Anyone traveling through Nekoma, North Dakota – a stone’s throw from the Canadian border on the way to the exact middle of nowhere – might be shocked to find an enormous pyramid jutting above the horizon. As well they should be – this is North Dakota, not Egypt.
But this American pyramid was once home to one of the United States military’s anti-ballistic missile defense system with the Cold War-era goal of shooting down Soviet missiles before they ever reached their intended targets – and likely killing thousands of Americans.
The Nekoma pyramid is part of a cluster of military facilities once known as the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, named after U.S. Army Air Defense Commanding General Stanley Mickelsen.
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Middle of nowhere: This pyramid was part of the U.S. missile defense system located in Nekoma, North Dakota
Operational: The complex, known as the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, became fully operation in 1975
Radar: The pyramid building at the Complex is a radar facility that scanned the sky for any incoming objects that could harm the U.S.
Armed and dangerous: While operational, the pyramid was armed with 30 Spartan missiles and 16 of the shorter-range Sprint missiles
Construction of the Complex was completed in 1975. The Complex’s pyramid served as its Missile Site Radar base that essentially scanned all directions in search of airborne objects that may pose a threat to the U.S.
The pyramid-shaped radar facility was complete with 30 Spartan missiles and 16 of the shorter-range Sprints missiles, all of which were held in underground launch silos.
The location of the pyramid is cryptically explained as ‘Northeast of Tactical Road; southeast of Tactical Road South’ – a sparsely populated section of one of the most sparsely populated states in the U.S.
As a whole, the Complex was armed with launch and control pads for 30 LIM-49 Spartan anti-ballistic missiles, and 70 shorter-range Sprint anti-ballistic missiles in support of the Army’s Safeguard anti-ballistic missile program.
Video from YouTube
Launch sites: The facility held ICBMs in several underground launch bunkers scattered throughout the Complex
General: The Complex is named for Stanley R. Mickelsen, a former commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Defense Command
On February 10, 1976, the site was officially deactivated – after less than a year of being operational.
The Library of Congress, however, has a stunning set of images that shows the various states of construction and completion.
The photos were taken for the government by photographer Benjammin Halpern and initially reported by Gizmodo.
In all, the complex provided launch and control for 30 LIM-49 Spartan anti-ballistic missiles, and 70 shorter-range Sprint anti-ballistic missiles
The radar and site remain in service today as the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Characterization System (PARCS), located at Cavalier Air Force Station
Short-lived: The complex was deactivated on 10 February 1976 after less than a year of operation.