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Titan 1 missile facility provides glimpse into Beale's Past

A blocked entrance to an elevator shaft leading to three decomissioned Titan 1 missile silos provides a glimpse into Beale AFB's past. The now deactivated 851st Strategic Missile Squadron, maintained the Titan 1 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Complex 4C near Chico, Calif., until 1965. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adam Hamar)

A blocked entrance to an elevator shaft leading to three decomissioned Titan 1 missile silos provides a glimpse into Beale AFB's past. The now deactivated 851st Strategic Missile Squadron, maintained the Titan 1 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Complex 4C near Chico, Calif., until 1965. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adam Hamar)

The main tunnel at the decommissioned missile complex near Chico, Calif., provides access to three identical missile silos, the generator room, command center, servers and living quarters.  The 851st Strategic Squadron, Beale AFB Calif., maintained this missile site and two others in the area until 1965. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adam Hamar)

The main tunnel at the decommissioned missile complex near Chico, Calif., provides access to three identical missile silos, the generator room, command center, servers and living quarters. The 851st Strategic Squadron, Beale AFB Calif., maintained this missile site and two others in the area until 1965. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adam Hamar)

A junction box in silo 3 is partially flooded by natural ground water at the decommissioned Titan 1 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Complex near Chico, Calif.  The now deactivated 851st Strategic Missile Squadron, Beale AFB, operated the ballistic missile facility until the 1960s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adam Hamar)

A junction box in silo 3 is partially flooded by natural ground water at the decommissioned Titan 1 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Complex near Chico, Calif. The now deactivated 851st Strategic Missile Squadron, Beale AFB, operated the ballistic missile facility until the 1960s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adam Hamar)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The history of Beale Air Force base can be traced back to the 1940s and the days of Camp Beale, an Army post and training site for the 13th Armored Division. Throughout the years, a variety of missions and squadrons have called Beale AFB home including the 851st Strategic Missile Squadron.

Activated in 1961, the 851st SMS was responsible for the maintenance and operation of three Titan 1 missile complexes located in the neighboring towns of Lincoln, Live Oak and Chico, Calif.

Staff Sgt Ben Herrington, 940th Wing Historian, had an opportunity to visit with the private owner of the Chico facility and tour the location.

"The 851st located at Beale oversaw day to day operations of the three facilities," said Herrington. "They are virtually identical, with three silos, a generator room, command center, living quarters and antenna bays."

Four years after the activation of the 851st, the weapon system would be phased out and the complex deactivated.

"This was supposed to be a step in the right direction to end the Cold War," said Herrington. "But by the time the facility was operational, the technology was obsolete."

To view more photos of the Chico, Calif., Titan 1 missile complex visit the slideshow here.