Alpha 1 Launch Control Facility - Malmstrom AFB 1963
The Launch Control Facility and Launch Control Center are an integral component within the Minuteman Missile program.
The structure that you see pictured above is the Ace In The Hole, Alpha 1 Launch Control Facility. This LCF is assigned to the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron maintained by Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana.
The Launch Control Facility, the LCF, houses the living quarters, kitchen, bedrooms, security office and other associated features at the LCF. This structure is essential in making it possible for the men and women working at the LCF to perform their assigned duties. Underneath the LCF itself, buried at least 60 feet below ground is the LCC, Launch Control Center.
Pictured below is the schematic of how the LCF and LCC are laid out. Click on the image for a larger view.
The Launch Control Center is operated by a two person team that operate the LCC 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year. Whether there is a holiday, a death or someone is getting married, the Launch Control Center never sees a vacation.
This is where the serious business of nuclear deterrence takes place. It is a quiet vocation, no fanfare, no screaming and adoring fans waiting for the men and women as they return or arrive from or to their shift. Day in and day out, rain, heat, snow or shine, these men and women are there every day, every week, year after year. As the rest of America works, plays and sleeps, a two person team is always 60 plus feet below ground, constantly overseeing each launch control center that is connected to the world's most powerful weapon. This has been taking place for over 50 years.
It is important to note that in referring to the Launch Control Facility, the Air Force has changed their nomenclature with the name they have chosen to use in identifying the LCF. The Air Force is now referring to the Launch Control Facility, (LCF) as the Missile Alert Facility, MAF. The Launch Control Center identification remains the same. Throughout the remainder of this website, the author will be using the LCF, Launch Control Facility, name.
Below you will find links for additional information on the construction and layout for both the Launch Control Facility and the Launch Control Center. In referring to the image of the LCF and LCC schematic above, in helping avoid confusion, the Launch Control Facility, which is located above ground, is also referred to as the Launch Control Support building.