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Published January 21, 2012, 05:24 PM

Historic Missile Site shows Visitors the Air Force

Cooperstown, ND (WDAY TV) -- A historic missile site, north of Cooperstown, allows visitors to walk in an Air Force missileer's shoes.

By: Melanie Orlins, WDAZ, WDAY

Cooperstown, ND (WDAY TV) -- A historic missile site, north of Cooperstown, allows visitors to walk in an Air Force missileer's shoes.

The Ronald Regan Minuteman Missile Site opened in 2009. But just recently started giving in-depth tours to the public.

Mark Sundlov - Site Supervisor: "If you lived in this area of North Dakota during the second half of the 20th century, a nuclear missle was a stone's throw away."

The nuclear missiles in peoples backyard could cause a catastrophe many times larger than Hiroshima. Missile expert, Mark Sundlov, says the tours give people a chance to "meet their neighbor".

Mark Sundlov - Site Supervisor: "Come in and see what actually was going on here, what were the details, how did this place operate, how was this working."

Not only do they get to see how Oscar-zero worked, they hear it from someone who experienced it first hand.

Joe Conzo - Facility Commander: "I try to rack my brains to give them an accurate account of what was going on when I was out here."

50 feet below ground was a 2-men crew where all the action took place.

Mark Sundlov - Site Supervisor: "They were essentially waiting direction from the president should the order come to launch those missiles."

This is the launch control center where missile crew members sat 24 hours a day. In order to launch a nuclear missle both members had to put this key in the ignition and turn the switch at the same time, luckily they never had to do that.

But they did come close...Joe Conzo recalls a scary moment.

Joe Conzo - Facility Commander: "Got up in the morning and found out about it I was kind of a little bit shakey, I don't know if they would've called us downstairs or what. That was kind of scary."

Tourists learn the importance of the two-man team, and how these crew members protected the US during the Cold War

Mark Sundlov - Site Supervisor: "Takes on not only a regional or local importance but really an international importance."

Joe Conzo - Facility Commander: "I felt like I did a good job, I felt like I protected America."

And that, he did.

That base, offers those tours only during winter. It's open full time in summer.

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