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Del
01-04-2007, 05:41 AM
I'm working on another manuscript and am again in over my head. I need some authentic enlightenment on life in an underground military base. Would there be a fuel deposit? Do they store trucks? How do they get power if the line power is cut? How much food would be stored and what kinds? Is it outrageous to find a civilian physicist under contract and living in one? What are their quarters like?

I'm sure there wouldn't be more than a few thousand other questions if anyone can help.

If there is a base open to tours in the southern Arizona area I'd like to look into it. I do intend on visiting a recruiter but I'd like some base knowledge first.

Thanks

aliajohnson
01-04-2007, 06:06 AM
My dad is former military so I asked him for you. Here's what I've got so far.

His experience in underground facilities comes from Ramstein AFB in Germany and Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio in the late 70's through mid 80's. (if you've any interest in missle silo life, there's plenty of that I can get for you as well.)

They store MREs for 2-3 weeks for a full staff. Staff can vary from 100-300. There are sleeping quarters designed like camp style bunkbeds. Oxygen is supplied through vents to outside or a chemical process if required. All facilities are considered hardened therefore they have their own backup generator power with diesel fuel stored underneath for heat. They are not staffed twenty-four hours a day (physicist guy would need some serious explaining). They are only in use during excercises or drills. The Ramstein facility had a forklift in the hallway.

The facility in Cheyenne Mountain is an entirely different sort of place. It's enormous, you can drive a bus through it and it's staffed 24/7.

Okay--that's a few quick things. More details are available if you should like. :)

limitedtimeauthor
01-04-2007, 06:09 AM
Cool. Reading this is as much fun as watching a movie....

ltd.

Vanatru
01-04-2007, 06:20 AM
>> Would there be a fuel deposit?

Yes, size depends on the function of the base.

>>Do they store trucks?

Yes, among other things. I’ve seen tanks/APCs/and misc other vehicles.

>>How do they get power if the line power is cut?

Generators

>>How much food would be stored and what kinds?

Depends on the size of the base and it’s population and length of expected stay in case of bad things happening.

>>Is it outrageous to find a civilian physicist under contract and living in one?

Yes. I’ve never seen a civie doc at one. Always military medical people.

>>What are their quarters like?

Spartan. Biggest I saw was a 15 x 20 footer, with a separate bath/shower unit. Had it’s own walllocker, double bunks and a cable tv. Not to mention mini-fridge and microwave.

-Bill

Kentuk
01-04-2007, 09:28 AM
Once visited Corregidor in Manilla Bay. The place was utterly impressive yet totally inadequate. Stocking and manning a facility is much more difficult then you would think. There is a great deal of information available on the place unlike modern facilities. Your important scientist would be stashed in the most secure place available if the times are bad enough.

When I was a callow boy I explored tunnels on Okinawa and those where the most clastophobic least secure feeling places imaginable.

Cav Guy
01-04-2007, 05:52 PM
This depends totally on the time period and the intended use. Having been through the forts at Verdun, I can vouch for them being nasty places. At the opposite end is Cheyenne Mountain.

Kate Thornton
01-04-2007, 09:12 PM
As a former (1980s-90s) resident of an underground (Pacific) facility, I can tell you:

It was big. Vehicles drove through.
It was staffed 24/7 by joint forces and civilian contractors.
Most of the senior scientists were civilian contractors.

The cafeteria had a lighted overhead pavillion thing to simulate daylight and and indoor waterfall about 30 feet high with a small pond.

Apartments were like modern studio apartments. You went to work via a shuttle cart like a golf cart that held about 20 people.

The air was fresh but smelled funny as it was recirculated. Power was from huge generators. I don't know much about the water supply.

When married couples were assigned, they worked the same shifts and shared quarters. Three months was the standard time below ground. I never saw any children.

limitedtimeauthor
01-04-2007, 11:01 PM
Don't forget to save the cafeteria lady. :D

Okay, I'm kidding. I always want to add humor to everything. This sounds like a really interesting story, D. I love "end of the world" stories when they show the strength (and weaknesses that have to be overcome) of the characters.

Sorry I can't add much about military installations. But I do know that at least one missile silo (Kansas, I think) was turned into a private residence. So those people might survive too!

ltd.

Del
01-04-2007, 11:08 PM
As a former (1980s-90s) resident of an underground (Pacific) facility, I can tell you:

It was big. Vehicles drove through.
It was staffed 24/7 by joint forces and civilian contractors.
Most of the senior scientists were civilian contractors.

The cafeteria had a lighted overhead pavillion thing to simulate daylight and and indoor waterfall about 30 feet high with a small pond.

Apartments were like modern studio apartments. You went to work via a shuttle cart like a golf cart that held about 20 people.

The air was fresh but smelled funny as it was recirculated. Power was from huge generators. I don't know much about the water supply.

When married couples were assigned, they worked the same shifts and shared quarters. Three months was the standard time below ground. I never saw any children.

This is amazing, Kate. Exactly how I saw it. Except for the 30 foot waterfall. Can I use that? :D

I have my civilian physicist's apartment painted with clouds and sky up the walls and on the ceiling. Would simple personalization be permitted?

waylander
01-04-2007, 11:28 PM
Don't forget that in London the tube network would be used and could take thousands of people

limitedtimeauthor
01-04-2007, 11:30 PM
Oh yeah, that reminded me...

Salt mines. Some of them are huge, and hold archival copies of stuff. (The library you mentioned reminded me.) Anyway, they would be staffed. I don't know if it would be 24/7.

I like this. I feel like I'm already reading it!

ltd.

aliajohnson
01-04-2007, 11:35 PM
Your book sounds fascinating. I'll admit to being drawn to The End of the World stories. It sounds like there are a lot of different varities of bases out there and the newer ones are pretty nice. Poor dad got stuck with the quick stuff put together at the start of the cold war. :D It's also my understanding that not everyone is allowed access to every area.

Another quick thing--my dad's not here so I can't get his imput on this--but are there very different kinds of missile silos? I know he was a Missile Control Commander in the mid to late seventies in Eastern Montana, and his descriptions of the silos and command centers (I don't know if I'm using the correct terminology here-sorry) would absolutely NOT make a comfortable home--small spaces and lots of cement. I know there were houses built on top of the command posts so maybe that's it?

Best of luck on your MS. :)

aliajohnson
01-04-2007, 11:38 PM
Oh yeah, that reminded me...

Salt mines. Some of them are huge, and hold archival copies of stuff. (The library you mentioned reminded me.) Anyway, they would be staffed. I don't know if it would be 24/7.

I like this. I feel like I'm already reading it!

ltd.

Oh yeah! Definitely salt mines. I toured a few in Europe when I was a kid. One was deep in a mountain and had an entire lake in it. Huge and very cool. I'll see if I can't find the name of it for you soon.

AnnieColleen
01-04-2007, 11:52 PM
One was deep in a mountain and had an entire lake in it. Huge and very cool.

Was that in Poland?

I toured a salt mine in Poland that has statues carved out of the salt rock dating back I don't know how far (religious shrines, portrayals of local legends, an auditorium where they hold concerts!). They have to pump water out of it lest it fill up and destroy the statues. It's no longer a producing mine (except for what they get from the water). There's a section of it if I remember correctly where they house people with certain respiratory issues; apparently the salt rock acts as a natural air filter. So quite a few people could potentially be down there (workers, tourists, patients -- or I guess refugees, with some warning), but would have to get out after a certain length of time without power, or be flooded out.

(I'm also reminded of the limestone caverns here in Texas -- I think they go deep enough that there might be refugees or workers/tourists down there as well.)

limitedtimeauthor
01-04-2007, 11:52 PM
Another quick thing--my dad's not here so I can't get his imput on this--but are there very different kinds of missile silos? I know he was a Missile Control Commander in the mid to late seventies in Eastern Montana, and his descriptions of the silos and command centers (I don't know if I'm using the correct terminology here-sorry) would absolutely NOT make a comfortable home--small spaces and lots of cement. I know there were houses built on top of the command posts so maybe that's it?


This was something I saw on HGTV. (:D Yes, I admit it.) It was actually a missile silo, converted into a home. Round rooms, stairs, everything. Let me see if I can find a link. It was probably on that show called "Extreme Homes."

ltd.

limitedtimeauthor
01-05-2007, 12:05 AM
Okay, this is a good link with more good links. I didn't realize it, but there are many missile-silo-turned-homes! Some have houses on top, some are mostly underground. But here's the link: http://www.missilebases.com/

HTH. More than you wanted to know, probably. :)

ltd.

Kate Thornton
01-05-2007, 12:22 AM
This is amazing, Kate. Exactly how I saw it. Except for the 30 foot waterfall. Can I use that? :D

I have my civilian physicist's apartment painted with clouds and sky up the walls and on the ceiling. Would simple personalization be permitted?

Yes, use it all - and I suppose some personalization of quarters would be permitted due to you physicist's importance and the length of time in the quarters. The installation was very large - several thousand people worked in it. The cafetria could feed several hundred people at a time, and I believe there were several, although I was assigned to just the one. Few people had run of the place - you needed special clearance for different areas.

This was not a missile defense facility.

Other large-scale underground facilities exist in the government world, but some underground commercial sites are also interesting. Here's a link to an analysis of commercial underground facilities: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6285&page=30

Your story sounds interesting!

aliajohnson
01-05-2007, 12:40 AM
Okay, this is a good link with more good links. I didn't realize it, but there are many missile-silo-turned-homes! Some have houses on top, some are mostly underground. But here's the link: http://www.missilebases.com/

HTH. More than you wanted to know, probably. :)

ltd.

Ah! Yep, they're different silos. I think the ones shown (titan and atlas) are one command center and one missile silo. I guess the ones my dad is familiar with are the Minute man? missiles. Probably butchering names here, sorry. One command and multiple missiles controled by remote. I don't know if this will help you, but I know there were some design flaws in some of them (they were built in a hurry). The escape hatch thing (again, not the correct term there :D ) was affectionately termed the "deputy decapacitator" because whoever opened it would get their head taken off as it swung down.

I'd be interested in hearing how things have changed in the last thirty or so years.