Titan II Missile Interpretive Site
Ironwood Forest National Monument, Marana AZ
On November 17, 2016 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U. S. Air Force dedicated a new destination for visitors to the Ironwood Forest National Monument! You will find the new Titan II Missile Interpretive Site just off Johnston Mine Road. The dedication was an inspiring event to showcase the new addition to the Monument and many dignitaries attended. Speakers included: Pamela Mathis, BLM Gila Associate District Manager; Ray Suazo, BLM Arizona State Director; Colonel Laurie Richter, 355th Mission Support Group, Davis-Monthan AFB; and Yvonne Morris, Titan II Missile Museum Director and former Titan II site Missile Combat Crew Commander. Also, former crew members once assigned to the 390th Strategic Missile Wing were in attendance. The Friends of Ironwood Forest provided refreshments for the ceremony.
The U.S. Air Force and the BLM partnered in the conversion of Titan Missile Site 570-3 into a historical interpretive site, this site is one of 18 across our state. The Titan II Missile sites were located in three places in the U.S. as a deterrent to nuclear war during the cold war period–Arkansas, Kansas and Arizona and they were manned 24/7 for 24 years, from 1963 to 1987. Each site was capable of launching a Titan II Missile in 58 seconds in case of attack on the United States. Green Valley is home to the Titan Missile Museum, a silo preserved in its originality for visitors to enjoy and learn more about this period in history. Now we have another site on the Ironwood Forest National Monument for visitors to experience this history in another way.
In order to establish the interpretive site the BLM led multiple work projects enlisting the help of many volunteers affiliated with the Friends of Ironwood Forest, Arizona Native Plant Society and others. The volunteers provided many hours clearing and preparing the site as well as installing signage at the site.
Visiting the Titan II Missile Interpretative Site on the Ironwood Forest National Monument is easy. Use Exit 242 from I-10 (Avra Valley Road) and travel west approximately 19.5 miles to Johnston Mine Road. Turn left onto Johnston Mine Road. You will find the road to the site in about .2 miles to the right. There is plenty of parking and easily accessible flat walking areas. The views of the Waterman Mountains are great and, if you are lucky, perhaps a Desert Big Horn Sheep or two will also be in view! Enjoy the experience!