Hauling Down the Flag on a Famous Missile

Hauling Down the Flag on a Famous Missile: The Air Force on Monday inactivated the last serving Peacekeeper ICBM. The move officially ended the era of the mammoth weapon—the nation’s most accurate and powerful ICBM. Once, 50 of the 10-warhead weapons stood on alert in silos across the Great Plains. Now there are none. The endgame began in 2002 as a result of arms control agreements between the US and Russia which drastically reduced the number of land-based weapons in their inventories. It took airmen with the 90th Space Wing, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., about 17 days to deactivate each of the Peacekeepers. The Peacekeeper, in the eyes of some, was the weapon most responsible for ending the Cold War. Its deployment in the 1980s demonstrated US refusal to let the threat of accurate Soviet ICBMs drive the US deterrent off American soil and to sea. It also posed a major counterforce threat to Soviet ICBMs, which were central to Soviet strategy. It is thought that this threat convinced many in the Kremlin that it was time to work out a deal with the US.