Titan 1 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Base - Beale 851-C
The Titan-I, deployed in 1961, was the first missile launched from an underground base in the United States. The missile was 52 feet in length, weighed over 83 tons when fueled and was fired from a 165 foot deep launch silo, which was part of a complex underground base containing 3 silos and equipment rooms, a control room, sleeping quarters, a power station, antennas and approximately 2,000 feet of tunnels. Eighteen Titan-I Missile bases were built across the United States but not a single one was in operation for more than 4 years.
When the Department of Defense deployed the Titan-II and Minutemen in 1963, the need for the Titan-I decreased and eventually they were retired in 1965.
At this particular base, on May 24, 1962, a leak in one of the liquid oxygen lines of the Titan-I in the No. 1 silo was discovered and by the time the personnel made it to the top of the silo, it began to spew black smoke. Within minutes of all personnel arriving at the surface, the missile exploded, causing the blast doors to fly open and pieces of concrete to be projected into the air landing up to quarter mile away. Reconstruction began immediately and wound up costing approximately $20 million.