Malmstrom AFB..all about the Nuc’s

Malmstrom AFB..all about the Nuc’s

After our stay near Billings, MT we headed northwest to Great Falls, MT.  We are staying at Malmstrom Air Force Base which is on the edge of town, they have two RV campgrounds, one just outside the base and one inside the base itself.  The one outside was full, so we opted to stay in the smaller one on base.  The only downside is it only has 30 Amp electric, but that is not really an issue since it is not the blazing heat of the desert and our Tiffin has a great load controller, it senses what your hooked up to and won’t allow certain appliances to come on when it would exceed the power supply, like 30 amp. So if your drying clothes in the middle of the day and it is hot, it might not allow the second AC unit to come on.  We didn’t really notice anything different in the way we do things.  As to the cost, the weekly rate is $100, yep all of $17/day for full hookups.  I must say they do a great job of maintaining the base, it is well kept, grass everywhere that is mowed, newer building and housing that is well kept up.  We shopped at the Commissary (Grocery Store) and Exchange (Department Store), we got our prescriptions filled at the nice base pharmacy. We did use the saving’s on our site to make a massive purchase of groceries with the idea of stocking up as we will be going to Canada in a few weeks.  Malmstrom is one of the three Air Force bases that support the Air Force Ballistic Missile program, yep that means nuclear weapons.  All around the base and I mean up to 200 or so miles around is small 1 acre pots of Government land that is a missile silo for the Minuteman III missile.  They have 10 or so Launch Facilities spread around to control 15 missile silo’s.  Since I once was on a Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine that carried 16 Nuclear tipped missiles it was interesting to see what the Air Force does.  The base had a very informative museum that covered the based mission and how they manage, maintain and support the national defense with this part of our armed forces.

Here are some photo’s of the museum…

Minute Man III Missle Display
Minuteman II Launch Planel

Great Falls was discovered first by the native Indians who told Lewis and Clark what they would find on the Missouri River.  Lewis & Clark found five sets of falls around the area that would become Great Falls, MT.  The took out the boats and hauled them overland right through what is now the Air Force Base.  The National Park Service has an excellent Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center to visit that explains the entire journey and focus on the local falls, one of the major obstacles they needed to overcome.  I believe the total elevation change was around 500 feet for the 5 falls they have to get around.  It was an eighten mile detour and they encountered a hail storm of baseball sized hail while in wide open grasslands with no cover to protect them….

Photo’s of the actual Great Falls and the Interpretive Center…

The overall trail map, you can see the Great Falls was about the 1/2 way point on their journey, the next major obstacle was the Rocky Mountains…
example of the steep cliff’s they have to climb up while hauling all of their gear

Interesting note was during this time frame, the Indians were quite helpful and traded freely with the expedition, I would say vital to the success was the Native Americans and the assistance they provided throughout the journey.  But just in the span of a few decades, open warfare would erupt across the western states and we saw the results of that during our last stay at the Little Bighorn Battlefield…..

We took a drive to visit the actual falls…

You can imagine them saying “holy crap. I guess were going to just have to go around them….”

We also visited the C. M. Russel museum.  He was the artist responsible for the dramatic paintings and bronze sculptures that showed western life in the very late 1890’s and early 1900’s.

His Log Cabin studio were he produced most of his work.

Great falls was a great stopping point to get more of the history of Montana and get stocked up on our way further North.  We got some wonderful steaks at a local favorite steakhouse that were cooked to perfection.  The downtown has a neat restaurants, and if you like trucks, the used car lots and new dealer lots were overflowing with them, my bet is 1/2 of all the vehicles sitting on the lots were trucks…if you every wanted to shop for one, this seems to be the place.

Next up is the move to Columbia Falls, just outside of Glacier National Park which we will be spending a total of two weeks exploring before we head into Canada…

One thought on “Malmstrom AFB..all about the Nuc’s

  1. Interesting. The Launch Control Consoles looked strangely similar to parts of Poseidon and Trident consoles. Pretty parallel evolution in military contracting circles. But the missile interstage section didn’t bear any resemblance to the Navy missiles.

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