Kiewit Corporation

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Kiewit Corporation

Founded 1884 (Kiewit Brothers)

Headquarters Kiewit Plaza / Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.

Key people Rick Lanoha (CEO)

Revenue $12,338.0 million USD (2012)

Net income $581.0 million USD (2011)

Number of employees 22,000 [1] (2017)


Kiewit Corporation is an employee-owned[2] Fortune 500 contractor[3] based in Omaha, Nebraska. Privately held, it is one of the largest construction and engineering organizations in North America.[4] Recent projects have included several bridge retrofittings in the San Francisco Bay Area, Interstate H-3 project in Hawaii, rebuilding the spillway at Oroville Dam, and building the world's largest geodesic dome at Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.[5] Along with significant mining and off-shore operations, the company also contracts small grading (dirt moving) projects for residential or commercial development.


The company was founded in 1884 as Kiewit Brothers Masonry Contractors by Peter and Andrew Kiewit, who were of Dutch descent. Their father, John Kiewit, emigrated from The Hague in 1857, where he learned the trade of brickmaking. John Kiewit established a brickyard in Omaha, Nebraska where his sons worked and learned the skills for their masonry business. Early projects included the seven-story Lincoln Hotel in Lincoln as stone masons and the Bekins warehouse as general contractor.[6][7]

The original brothers dissolved their partnership in 1904 and the founding Peter Kiewit would continue as a sole proprietorship. In 1912, two of his sons, Ralph and George Kiewit would join their father as partners in the firm. When the founding Peter Kiewit died in 1914, his son Ralph led the company. George and Ralph Kiewit would later leave the company.

The founder's youngest son, also named Peter Kiewit, joined the firm in 1919. He led the firm from 1924 until his death in 1979. This is the Peter Kiewit known for building one of the largest construction companies in the world. He was also very active in the Omaha area, including leadership of the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben.[6]

Notable projects in the 1920s by the firm, now known by Peter Kiewit Sons, included the Livestock Exchange Building (1926), the Burlington railroad depot (Lincoln), the Nebraska State Capitol Tower (1927), Joslyn Art Museum (1928), and Union Station (1929). In 1931, Peter Kiewit incorporated the company as Peter Kiewit Sons’ Co. The firm would begin building transportation projects during the Great Depression.[6][7]

Walter Scott, was also a key figure in the growth of Kiewit. Scott was initially hired to work on the tower project at the Nebraska State Capitol and spent the remainder of his career at Kiewit becoming chief engineer.[6] His son would not only work for Kiewit, but also rise to the position of CEO.[8]


Rick Lanoha is the current chief executive officer of Kiewit Corporation. His predecessors include Peter Kiewit, Bob Wilson, Walter Scott Jr. Ken Stinson and Bruce E. Grewcock. Prior to Grewcock’s retirement, on January 1st 2020, Lanoha had served as president and chief operating officer since 2016 and was elected to Kiewit’s board of directors in 2009[9]

Walter Scott, Jr. was first elected to the Peter Kiewit Sons' Incorporated board in 1964. In 1979, he was elected president. When Peter Kiewit died later that same year, Scott was selected to succeed him as chairman.


In 1963, Peter Kiewit bought the Omaha World-Herald to keep it locally owned. Under the terms of his will, the employees bought the paper in 1979.

Starting in 1985 (Kiewit built MFS in the early 1990s; Level 3 was built in the 1997 to 1999 circa), Kiewit also constructed a nationwide fiber optic network. This network was later spun off as Level 3 Communications, which became the formal successor corporation to the original Peter Kiewit Sons'.[10]

Other companies


kiewit and hanford

Kiewit - Nuclear quarrel



By Steven Greenhouse

July 13, 1984

Link - [HN00ZI][GDrive]

Although Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc. is not well known around the nation, the construction and mining company is the stuff of legend in this agribusiness center along the Missouri River.

On June 29 the company announced plans to acquire the Continental Group, a diversified packaging company based in Stamford, Conn., in a $2.8 billion deal. It would be the first major diversification for Kiewit, which was founded here one hundred years ago as a brick manufacturing concern.

The founder, Peter Kiewit, was the son of a poor Dutch immigrant. His youngest son, also named Peter, took over the company in 1931 and built it into one of North America's largest construction companies. In doing so, the younger Kiewit, who dropped out of college to join the company, became a millionaire hundreds of times over.

He died five years ago at the age of 79, and until two weeks ago the new management had closely followed the lessons he taught: Work hard and stick to the businesses you know best.

But with the deal to take over Continental, Kiewit management broke sharply with company tradition. And many analysts are wondering whether Kiewit is biting off more than it can chew.

Making Tough Decisions

''I don't know if at the age of 79, Peter would have done it, but he just might have at age 50,'' said Walter Scott Jr., the soft-spoken, 53-year-old chairman and president of Kiewit, in discussing the deal, which is expected to be completed this fall. Mr. Scott, whose father was the first engineer Mr. Kiewit ever hired, said that before making tough decisions, he often asks himself what ''Peter'' would have done.

''If you take the contracting business during the time Peter was involved, it was almost an uninterrupted period of expansion, but in the last five or six years that has changed,'' Mr. Scott said, in explaining the company's acquisition plans. ''Our primary businesses - mining and contracting - are now mature businesses. Although we expect to continue to be in them, we concluded that our greatest potential for growth was elsewhere.''

And elsewhere turned out to be Continental Group, which has almost twice the revenues of the acquiring company. Kiewit's financial figures are hard to obtain because it is privately held. But Donald L. Sturm, chief financial officer and senior vice president at Kiewit, said it had revenues of about $1.5 billion last year and earned ''more than $150 million.''

The company has about $1.4 billion in assets and seems to have recovered from a bid-rigging scandal that tarnished its reputation two years ago. Its financial strength was demonstrated by its ability to arrange a $2 billion loan package in just two days to cement the deal.

Mr. Sturm, a 52-year-old lawyer, said the company, which is owned by its employees, had accumulated $500 million in cash and was looking to invest. ''We were required to look beyond construction and coal because there was no opportunity to reinvest the funds on a profitable basis,'' he said.

So when David Murdock, the West Coast financier, approached Kiewit about acquiring Continental, he found a receptive audience. A week later, the deal was clinched, with Kiewit controlling 80 percent of the purchasing group and Mr. Murdock the remainder.

But there is little chance that Kiewit will keep Continental intact.

''They're taking on a big business,'' said Cornelius W. Thornton, an analyst with the First Boston Corporation. ''They're talking about $2.8 billion. It would suggest that even with Continental's healthy cash flow, they would want to shed some of that debt as fast as they can. I think they will want to sell off some parts of Continental.''

Mr. Sturm acknowledged that ''we are going to have to dispose'' of some of Continental, which has assets in packaging, insurance, forest products and oil and gas. Mr. Scott and Mr. Sturm said that they did not yet know which assets would be sold, saying that it would depend on which divisions received the best offers. In addition, they said they planned to leave Continental's management more or less alone because it was, in their view, doing such a good job.

Construction Challenges

Taking over Continental is only the latest in a series of challenges for Kiewit. Those have included taking just 90 days to build 760 barracks buildings, each housing 64 men, at Fort Lewis, Wash., in 1941. The company also marshaled 5,000 workers to build an airbase with a 10,000-foot runway in Greenland in 1951.

Its other projects have included the 63d Street subway tunnel between Manhattan and Queens, the seven- mile-long San Mateo-Hayward bridge over San Francisco Bay, and the mile-long, $425 million Fort McHenry tube in the Baltimore harbor.

A company spokesman said Kiewit has built $2.1 billion in highways and $825 million in tunnels since 1970. It has also built missile bases and parts of the trans-Alaska pipeline, as well as nuclear, hydroelectric and geothermal power plants.

In Omaha, moreover, the younger Mr. Kiewit, who started with the family company as a bricklayer, played the role of developer extraordinaire. He constructed many of the city's most ambitious products, leaving a personal stamp on the Omaha landscape.

He started with the Omaha Livestock Exchange, a brick, Romanesque tower finished in 1924. Later projects included Omaha's art museum, its most prestigious hotel, the Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company complex, and, coincidentally, a factory for the Continental Can Company, which was the Continental Group's original name.

Civic Participation

But the Kiewit reach extends far beyond construction in Omaha. In 1962, when he feared that outsiders were going to buy the city's major newspaper, The Omaha World-Herald, he moved quickly to buy it. His will provided for the sale of the newspaper to its employees. In addition, it provided for the establishment of a charitable foundation with a bequest of more than $100 million.

In the late 1960's, the construction company expanded into coal mining as a way of using its heavy equipment during the winter. It now mines more than 20 million tons a year in Wyoming and Montana. Mr. Sturm said coal accounts for a quarter of the company's revenues but half its profits, thanks to several long-term supply contracts it signed in the 1970's when coal prices were high.

Kiewit agreed in May to join the Occidental Petroleum Corporation in a $600 million venture to build a huge coal mine in China. Mr. Murdock, the partner in the Continental purchase, is Occidental's largest shareholder.

Expanding its energy interests, Kiewit has in the last three years bought 23 percent of Mapco, a coal, oil and gas company based in Tulsa, Okla. In another diversification move, it bought the Empire Savings, Building and Loan Association, Denver's largest savings and loan.

In Omaha, many think that the secret of Kiewit's success is hard work and employee loyalty.

''When you went to work for Kiewit, you dedicated yourself to Kiewit,'' said Warren E. Buffett, the Omaha investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. ''The workers identify with the company the same way Nebraskans identify with the Nebraska football team.''

To Mr. Sturm, growth was just a matter of shared self-interest.

''If you want the principal reason for the company's success,'' Mr. Sturm said, ''it's that we're owned by our employees. That makes everyone feel like an owner, which means that every one works harder, is more dedicated and is willing to go that extra inch.''

The stock is owned by about 900 of Kiewit's top managers and senior salaried employees. The company has an additional 1,800 salaried, white- collar employees and, depending on the season and the number of contracts, between 7,000 and 15,000 construction workers.

And thanks to the stock ownership program, dozens of Kiewit managers became millionaires when they sold their stock at retirement, as the company requires.

Costs Kept Low

Another key to the company's success has been its ability to underbid competitors for many big and profitable projects. The reason, industry experts say, is that Kiewit's costs are often lower than its rivals because it owns almost all the construction equipment it needs and has so much cash that it does not have to borrow for construction financing.

Even adversity has not derailed the company for long. Two years ago three low-level, regional executives were convicted of rigging bids. The company has taken pains, including the dismissal of employees, to insure that such a scandal is not repeated. ''We had a few people who got down to the low morals of their particular marketplace,'' Mr. Sturm said. ''We've taken measures to make sure that doesn't happen again.''

June 12, 1985 (June 12) - NYTImes - "20% Interest Sold In Kiewit-Murdock"

Source : [HN00ZH][GDrive]

Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc., the Omaha-based construction and mining company, has purchased David H. Murdock's 20 percent equity interest in Kiewit-Murdock Inc., an investment company formed last year to acquire the Continental Group, the packaging company based in Stamford, Conn.

Investment community sources said the Pacific Holding Corporation, a closely held Los Angeles-based investment company controlled by Mr. Murdock, sold its interest in Kiewit-Murdock for about $200 million.

In a telephone interview from Los Angeles, Mr. Murdock said the deal was amicable. He added that Peter Kiewit Sons', which is also closely held, would continue to do construction work for him and that he hoped to enter future joint investments with the company.

''I didn't turn sour on the can business,'' Mr. Murdock said, ''I just didn't see that I wanted to stay in the can business.''

He continued, ''In terms of day-to-day management, they said they wanted the whole thing, and I said, 'If you want it, you got it.' ''

Kiewit-Murdock Inc. said that Donald L. Sturm, a senior vice president and director of Kiewit, had been elected its chairman, president and chief executive. The company also said Mr. Murdock and Raymond H. Henze, a senior vice president of Pacific Holding, had resigned as directors.

Mr. Murdock learned that Continental Group was up for sale last year and persuaded his longtime business acquaintance, Walter Scott, Kiewit's chairman, to join him in a $2.75 billion bid, which was successful. Investment community sources said that Mr. Murdock had invested $150 million and Kiewit Sons' $600 million to purchase Continental, and banks provided $2 billion in loans.

1972 (Feb 25 - Missile Award to Kiewit

Feb. 25, 1972


The Peter Kiewit Sons Company announced yesterday the receipt of a $110.9‐million Army award for work on the safeguard ballistic missile system in Montana.


Kiewit Corporation

Contents [show]

The Kiewit Corporation is a Fortune 500 contractor business headquartered in Omaha. It is an employee-owned privately held company, founded in 1884 as the Kiewit Brothers.

In 1884, the brothers Peter and Andrew Kiewit, two bricklayers of Dutch descent, founded the company that would eventually become the Kiewit Corporation. For a large chunk of the 20th century, the company was headed by the founder’s youngest son – also named Peter Kiewit, and it was during his leadership that the business grew to become one of the world’s major construction companies.

A lot of landmark infrastructure in the United States has been built by Kiewit, especially in the western states. The Flaming Gorge Dam in Utah, the Garrison Dam in North Dakota, the Montecillo Dam near Sacramento, and the 152-mile Friant-Kern Canal that brings water to California’s Central Valley are just a few examples.

Many parts of the United States interstate highway system was also built by Kiewit, such as the Eisenhower Tunnel through the Colorado Rockies and the Fort McHenry Tunnel beneath Baltimore Harbor. Kiewit was also responsible for making the tricky sections of highway that runs through the Virgin River Canyon in Arizona and the Glenwood Canyon in Colorado.

Throughout is life, Peter Kiewit the younger was very devoted to his hometown Omaha and did for instance purchase the the newspaper Omaha World-Herald in 1963 just to keep it locally owned. Before he died, Kiewit left instructions in his will to ensure that the paper would remain locally owned, with a large part of the plan securing employee ownership.

Today, the Kiewit Corporation is one of the largest contractor companies in the world, and they have for instance build the world’s biggest geodesic dome for the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. Their fields of expertise include construction, welding, mining, and off-shore operations.

The Kiewit Corporation is subdivided into regional companies and divisions, that are then further divided into geographical districts. A lot of the administration is centralized to the corporate offices in Omaha.

Kiewit Plaza

Kiewit Plaza is where you’ll find the headquarters for the Kiewit Corporation. It is a modernist-style high-rise office building, erected in 1960-1961 on 3555 Farnam Street, at the corner of S 36th street.


The two brothers

In 1884, the brothers Peter and Andrew Kiewit formed a masonry partnership in Omaha and called it the Kiewit Brothers. They were the sons of a brick maker of Dutch descent who had moved to Omaha in the 1870s.

1889 is an important milestone in the early history of the Kiewit Brothers, since this is when they were contracted to build the 7-story Lincoln Hotel. At the turn of the century, the brothers ventured into general contracting, taking on responsibilities for the construction of the Bekins Warehouse.

In 1904, the partnership was dissolved, and Peter Kiewit continued the businesses as sole proprietor.

Peter Kiewit and his sons

In 1912, the 23-year-old Ralph and 21-year-old George joined their father Peter Kiewit as partners in the business. Two years later, Peter Kiewit died, and Ralph took over the leadership. Back then, the youngest son – also named Peter – was only 14 years old.

Another milestone was reached in 1924, as the now 40-year-old businesses landed its very first million-dollar contract: building the ten-story Livestock Exchange Building in the meat-packing district of South Omaha. By this point, Peter the younger had also become heavily involved in the firm, working as a project superintendent. 1924 was also the year when George left the firm, leaving it to his two brothers.

Ralph & Peter

After George’s departure, Peter took charge of the field operations while Ralph focused on supervising estimations and bidding activities. During the second half of the 1920s, the firm built several notable buildings, including the Nebraska State Capitol Tower in 1927, the Joslyn Art Museum in 1928 and the Union Station in 1929. For the Nebraska State Capital Tower project, Peter Kiewit recruited a man named Walter Scott, who would eventually turn out to be an very important man in the history of the business.

In 1931, Ralph left Omaha for California. Peter dissolved the family business and replaced it with the company Peter Kiewit Sons’, Co.

Peter Kiewit Sons’ starts making highways

When Peter Kiewit the younger formed Peter Kiewit Sons’, assets valued at $125,000 were put into the company. To avoid cash-flow problems, and to the make the staff more motivated, Peter decided to let key managers buy shares in the new company if they wanted to. Peter remained majority shareholder and was also president of the company.

Times weren’t easy for the new company, as the United States were going through the Great Depression and the house building sector was in a huge slump. Peter found a niche that could help them survive through the lean years: tax-funded highway construction projects. In order to carry it off, he assembled a core leadership group consisting of four men who all became directors and large shareholders of the company: Walter Scott, Homer Scott (not related to Walter), Ted Armstrong, and George Holling. Soon, Kiewit Sons’ were taking on highway projects not just in Nebraska but out of state as well, in places such as Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota.

In 1939, the company opened its first district office. It was located in Sheridan, Wyoming, and led by Homer Scott.

Military contracts

Being agile and capable of changing with the times had become somewhat of a hallmark for the company, and in 1939 they complemented their highway business with a $7.5 million contract to build army barracks. The project wasn’t just the company’s biggest one so far – it also had to be completed in 90 days and the barracks were to be built in Fort Lewis, Washington, far away from Nebraska. As if this wasn’t enough, the army changed their plans when work on the barracks had just begun in – they wanted to increase the scope of the contract to more than twice as many buildings, from 760 to 1540, but without moving the deadline. Kiewit Sons’ agreed, and this became the start of a series of lucrative army contracts for the Omaha company. It also kicked the company’s geographical expansion into high gear, as the army needed facilities built from the Pacific Coast (including Alaska) through the Rocky Mountains states and into the Great Plains region.

When the army needed something built rapidly and to standard, they knew they could count on Kiewit Sons’ to get the job done. Throughout WWII, the company created army bases, airfields and more. In their native Omaha, they built the impressive Martin Bomber Plant just south of the city. Before the war was over, Kiewit had done more than $500 million of military work.


Instead of just being happy with the military construction contracts, Kiewit Sons’ broadened their scope and started getting involved in mining. It was an offshoot to their military ventures, since coal from the Big Horn Mine in Wyoming was needed at the Hanford Project in Washington State. This was were the top-secret Manhattan Project was carried out.


With their previous experience from military work and dealing with the bitter Alaskan cold, Kiewit Sons’ was not a surprising choice when the U.S. Army needed to create a top-secret air base on Greenland in the early 1950s. To carry out the project, Kiewit had to hire and train 5,000 workers, and also handle perilous transports through icy waters.

Kiewit Son’s didn’t leave Greenland until the second half of the 1960s. Not only did they create an airbase on Greenland, they also made the enormous radar screens required for the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) and built radar domes on the ice cap for the eastern end of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line.


The $1.2 billion Gaseous Diffusion Plant Project at Portsmouth, Ohio was one of the biggest construction contracts ever awarded by the United States government. The plant was needed for the refinement of uranium for both military and civilian use. Who got the contract? Kiewit Sons’.

Air Force Plant PJKS

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For the differing FUDS for "Peter Kiewit Sons Co" (COD060613403)[1] at a different Colorado location from the namesake Air Force Plant (as in 1965 United States v. Peter Kiewit Sons' Co., 45 F. 2d 879[2]), see List of Superfund sites in Colorado.

Air Force Plant Peter J. Kiewit and Sons (AFP PJKS,[3] AFP #79)[4] is a Formerly Used Defense Site (CO7570090038) at the Colorado Front Range and used during the Cold War (1957-1968) to provide "rocket assembly, engine testing, and research and development"[2]) for the Titan missile complexes southeast of Denver (construction began April 1959). The 464 acres (188 ha) of former "Martin Missile Test Site 1"[5] was "deeded" to the USAF in 1957, was subsequently operated by the builder (Glenn L. Martin Company), was listed on the EPA's National Priorities List on November 21, 1989; and remained USAF property until transferred to Lockheed Martin in February 2001.[2] The site is used by, and entirely within, the secure Lockheed Martin/United Launch Alliance Waterton Canyon facility of 5,200 acres (2,100 ha)[2] that produces Titan IV launch vehicles and the GPS III space vehicles. Entirely within the East Fork Brush Creek watershed,[6] the former USAF firearms ranges used by PJKS military police remains along the creek, is managed by the Skyline Hunting and Fishing Club,[7] and is used for periodic Jefferson County police and local Boy Scout training.

HGM-25A Titan I ICBMs were liquid-fueled rockets using LOX/RP-1 propellant which required the missiles to periodically be removed from the launch silos for servicing. Environmental sites at PJKS include 59 within six operable units (e.g., OU1, OU4, & OU6), and there are six areas of concern (12 of 14 underground tanks have been removed). Groundwater contaminants include trichloroethene (TCE), hydrazine, vinyl chloride, benzene, and nitrate. In fiscal year 1996, "technical work groups were formed with EPA, the State of Colorado, USGS, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support RI site characterization and risk assessment."[8]


"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2013-05-31.

title tbd (PDF) (proposed plan). Environmental Protection Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-05.[permanent dead link]

"Scott's List of Air Force Plants".

"ALERT" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-12. Retrieved 2013-05-31.

Parsons (1999). title tbd (Report). (cited by EPA AF-000230_ProposedPlanRev3_final.pdf)

"Skyline Hunting & Fishing Club".

"Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2013-05-31.


Series: Minuteman Missiles and the Nuclear Arms Race


A Silo A Day

A South Dakota missile silo under construction


On September 11, 1961, the groundbreaking ceremony for Ellsworth AFB's Minuteman installations took place at Site L-6 near Bear Butte. The festivities started with a bang. While the Sturgis High School band played, representatives from Boeing, Kiewit, the Corps of Engineers, and Ellsworth AFB set off an explosive charge to begin the excavation.

Despite extreme cold, high winds, and heavy snowfall, construction proceeded at a furious pace through the winter of 1961-62. In mid-December, the Corps of Engineers told reporters that "men are working seven days a week, three shifts a day on Minuteman construction.'' A Corps spokesman said that crews were "able to dig five silo emplacements simultaneously. Each takes from four to ten days . . . " The first squadron, near Wall, was well underway, said the Corps, and work ,on the second squadron, near Union Center, had already started.

In February 1962, General Delmar Wilson told the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce that despite an ongoing labor dispute between Peter Kiewit Sons and the Ironworkers Union, South Dakota's ICBM deployment suffered fewer work stoppages than any missile program in the Nation. "We're all out . . . to assure that our way of life is maintained," stated Wilson. "This missile project ... is the number one project in the country today. If this guy in Russia wants to start a show, we'll be there to put a hole in him to the best of our ability. "

By early summer of 1963, the steel fabrication was finished at all 165 South Dakota sites, and crews were completing the silos at the rate of one per day. On the last day of June, the first 20 silos were turned over to the Strategic Air Command. On October 23, the Nation's second wing of Minuteman ICBMs was fully operational. The work was completed nearly three weeks ahead of schedule.


(note - pictures here : )

3 part 1


Minuteman MissileHistoric Resource Study

Section II — Life on the South Dakota Plains: Before, During, and After Minuteman

Chapter 3:

Minuteman Missile Sites in South Dakota (1960s-80s)

In the late 1950s the Air Force chose South Dakota as one of the locations to base the nation's nuclear arsenal with the installation of Minuteman missiles. The Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) began surveying sites throughout western South Dakota by the fall of 1960, and subsequently began negotiating with landowners for rights-of-entry to construct Launch Facilities (LF) and Launch Control Facilities (LCF) on their property. The Minuteman I Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) construction program at Ellsworth Air Force Base progressed rapidly. Under supervision of the Army Corps , Peter Kiewit and Sons' Inc. (Kiewit Company), the Boeing Corporation, and their subcontractors began construction of the 150 LFs and fifteen LCFs during the fall of 1961. Their work, both in construction and then in activation of the Minuteman I, furthered the nation's defense program, but also affected western South Dakota economically and socially, an influence that remained through the Minuteman's deactivation.

Site Location

The Air Force's policy on site selection in South Dakota was multifaceted. Sites were primarily selected by balancing a variety of criteria, including maximizing Minuteman operations, minimizing each sites' vulnerability to sabotage, using the taxpayers' money wisely, and adapting individual sites to construction and operational needs, all with an eye to unique qualities of individual locations. [204] Other factors that contributed to the selection of sites were the physical features of the land, including the geology and terrain of the area, the types of soil, and the amount of available ground water. [205]

For cost and efficiency, the Air Force located missile sites near the existing Ellsworth Air Force Base in order to provide logistical support to the facilities. The missiles were located within an area approximately one hundred miles east and north of the base, in an expanse covering approximately 13,500 square miles of western South Dakota. The three Minuteman I ICBM squadrons at Ellsworth Air Force Base, each consisting of five LCFs and fifty LFs, were located in the vicinity of the communities of Wall, Union Center, and Belle Fourche. [206]

The Air Force positioned each missile flight (one LCF and ten LFs) in the same geographic area, but individual LFs could not be directly adjacent to another LF or the LCF. Minimally, the Air Force required LFs and LCFs to be geographically separated by an area large enough to withstand a ten-megaton explosion at an adjacent facility. Air Force specifications also required that the sites be separated so multiple facilities could not be targeted together. [207] The Air Force additionally attempted to select sites that would have the least adverse effect on nearby communities and private property. [208]

Land Purchase

The Air Force selected LF and LCF sites based on the surveys completed by the Army Corps, Omaha District Office. Prior to construction of the missile sites in South Dakota, right-of-entry, easements, and land purchase agreements needed to be made with hundreds of property owners. The acquisition for the 150 LFs, fifteen LCFs, and approximately 1,732 miles of Hardened Intersite Cable System (HICS) connecting the facilities included three phases. The first phase was securing right-of-entry for survey and exploration of proposed sites. Next, the Air Force worked with landowners to obtain right-of-entry for facility construction. The final phase included negotiations for land purchase or permanent easements and compensation for damages during the construction of the facilities. [209]

Phase one began in the fall of 1960. The right-of-entry Air Force representatives inspected potential sites throughout western South Dakota to assess the soil, geology, terrain, and ground water for suitability for site construction. [210] By early 1961 the locations for the LFs and LCFs were identified and HICS routes mapped. Following site selection, the Army Corps solicited landowner's signatures for right-of-entry to commence construction of the LFs and LCFs on their property. For the construction of each LCF or LF the Air Force required temporary construction easements of between four to six acres for construction equipment and dirt removed from the silos. [211] Following the right-of-entry for construction, the Army Corps negotiated with landowners to purchase the land. In land purchase and easement negotiations, the government was required to provide just compensation, defined as fair market value. [212]

In addition to land purchase, the government obtained permanent easements at the LF and LCF sites. It needed these easements in order to restrict land use in the area surrounding each LF and LCF to certain types of construction and agricultural activities. [213] The government also obtained permanent easements for the access road at both the LF and LCF and for the azimuth markers at each LF site, which were located outside of the fence and used to site the missile. Following construction the land was inspected by a real estate representative of the Army Corps and through negotiation an agreement was made with the owner for a cash settlement of any damages. [214]

Army Corps representatives negotiated with several hundred more property owners for easements for the underground HICS connecting the LFs and LCFs. These cables, installed four to eight feet below ground and used to transmit data between missile sites, required a temporary construction easement of thirty-five feet in width for approximately 1,732 miles between all 165 sites. After construction was complete, the government obtained a permanent easement for a path sixteen and one-half feet wide. [215] Following installation of the HICS, landowners could return to using the land above the cable for normal ranching or agricultural activities.

Such large-scale construction was not without its inconveniences, and to address some of the issues pertaining to land acquisition during this initial period, the Army Corps real estate field office distributed a pamphlet to property owners in western South Dakota titled "Facts About Minuteman Land Acquisition." The pamphlet promised landowners that the government would negotiate for the purchase of property and address any damages and losses. The pamphlet reminded the property owners that the Constitution permits the taking of private property for public use as long as the landowner was paid "just compensation." [216] Even with the issue of national security at stake, policymakers had no desire simply to confiscate land. If the landowners and the government could not agree on compensation, however, the government had the right to acquire the land through condemnation. A declaration of taking was filed and compensation was deposited with the court for the property owner. Negotiations continued and if an agreement could not be made the condemnation case would be brought to trial.

Minuteman Missile Area Landowners Association

While construction crews built some of the Minuteman sites in South Dakota on land already owned by the government, such as LF Delta-09, contractors constructed most of the sites on private property. During the site-selection process, some landowners did not feel that the Army Corps provided enough information to sign rights-of-entry to their property. To ensure that the government took landowners' rights into consideration during site selection and fairly compensated landowners, a group of farmers and ranchers formed the Minuteman Missile Area Landowners Association (MALA) in the early 1960s.MALA disseminated information to area landowners, believing that working collectively would aid the defense effort while safeguarding their private interests.

Members paid a minimal fee of one dollar to participate in the organization, primarily to cover the cost of postage and mailings. The MALA's first president was Eugene Pellegrin of Enning, South Dakota, and the first vice president was Cecil Hayes of Elm Springs, South Dakota. Eight additional members, including Burle Dartt, Ray Naescher, Ben Paulsen, Tony Oergerli, Robert Simpfendoerfer, Delbert Paulsen, Ferdinand Schroeder, and Leonel Jensen, served as directors to assist in collecting and distributing information. [217] In addition to nearly 150 MALA members supporting their cause, United States Senator Francis H. Case also attempted to assist negotiations between the landowners and the Air Force and Army Corps. Although Case was a longtime proponent of strong national defense and a supporter of the Minuteman I missile program at Ellsworth Air Force Base, he often corresponded with the landowner organization and the Army Corps concerning the project and advocated for fair and timely compensation. [218]

Most landowners understood that the national defense program required the installation of Minuteman missiles, and the technical reasons why the Air Force required use of their land. Prior to signing any agreements, however, MALA members wanted the government to address the disadvantages of having a LF or LCF constructed within their property. Many landowners were concerned that the location of the proposed sites would disrupt irrigation systems, take irreplaceable land, or interfere with agricultural operations. While their primary stated goal was to obtain a reasonable settlement for land and construction damages, the group also wanted to minimize the effects of the missile system upon nearby schools, roads, and the local police force. [219]

Prior to signing rights-of-entry needed for construction, the MALA voiced their concerns with Air Force and Army Corps personnel at several meetings in Rapid City in 1960 and 1961. MALA members questioned how the Air Force selected locations for the LFs and LCFs. Individual MALA members desired to know if selected sites could be moved to sections of their property less desirable for agricultural purposes. [220] In early April 1961, an Army Corps real estate representative explained that the missiles were part of an interrelated system and the location could not be altered aside from minor changes. [221] One property owner offered to donate the land if the Air Force would move the proposed LF to a corner of the wheat field instead of in the middle. His offer was rejected, and, in this case, the Air Force did not alter the proposed site for this facility. [222]

MALA members also pressed the Air Force at these meetings for further information about compensation for their land and losses. Many wanted to know what assessment they should expect for their property, and if they would receive compensation for damages incurred during construction or from decreases in land value due to the presence of the missiles in the area. [223] Army Corps officials responded that landowners were entitled to fair compensation for their losses and that the dollar value would be reached through negotiation between the government agency and individual property owners. Compensation for damages would be negotiated in much the same way. [224] Although many landowners received compensation for their land and losses, some felt the settlement offered was inadequate. [225]

After months of meetings and negotiations, seventy-five percent of the property owners of proposed missile sites signed rights-of-entry agreements by July of 1961. At the same time, approximately ninety percent of landowners involved with the underground cables had also signed agreements. [226] MALA president Pellegrin stated in a newspaper article that many of the property owners who refused to sign the agreement were negotiating for damages unique to their property. [227] In some cases, property owners never signed the rights-of-entry agreement needed to begin construction and in these cases, the Army Corps filed declarations of taking and deposited money with the court for the property owner. The Army Corps based the compensation on the government's original estimate of fair market value for the property. [228]

Despite efforts of the MALA to protect their rights and obtain compensation for their losses, some members of the public and government criticized the organization's members. They condemned landowners for slowing the defense effort, termed them unpatriotic, and accused them of holding up new business created by the influx of construction workers and additional Air Force officers. [229] The Air Force and Army Corps often reminded members of the MALA and other residents of western South Dakota of the importance of the Minuteman I ICBM program to the security of the United States. For example, the land acquisition pamphlet distributed to property owners stated, "like its prototype, the Minuteman of 1774, this immensely-important project for our national defense is authorized by the Congress of the United States." [230] Criticism aside, however, not every delay in Minuteman construction could be pinned on reluctant landowners. As late as March 1961, Congress had not yet fully appropriated the funding for the Minuteman I ICBM missile program at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Therefore, property owners did not stall construction of the sites in South Dakota or the nation's defense effort. [231] In reality, the land acquisition and construction of the Minuteman I missile facilities in South Dakota was an accelerated program that exceeded many expectations. Approximately one year after Army Corps representatives started testing soil and mapping missile facilities contractors began construction. After the construction of the LFs and LCFs in western South Dakota the MALA disbanded. The organization remained inactive until the early 1990s when the Air Force began the deactivation process of the Minuteman II ICBMs and a new generation of property owners worked together to disseminate information and provide support.

Chapter 3:

Minuteman Missile Sites in South Dakota (1960s-80s) (continued)

Site Construction

In 1960 the U.S. Army established the Corps of Engineers Ballistic Missile Construction Office (CEBMCO) as an independent organization to supervise missile site construction across the country, including Ellsworth Air Force Base. With the new agency, the construction of ICBM facilities fell under uniform and centralized control. [232] The commanding officer of CEBMCO appointed weapon system directors to manage the construction of Minuteman facilities at Ellsworth Air Force Base, as well as other ICBM construction sites. These directors worked at area offices, such as the one at Ellsworth Air Force Base, to directly supervise the construction of numerous contractors for the multiple phases of the construction process. [233]

CEBMCO originated with a staff of twenty-seven to supervise the construction of the missile facilities throughout the United States. That number grew to three thousand employees working in seventeen states by the mid-1960s. In South Dakota, CEBMCO appointed Colonel Sidney T. Martin to direct the construction project, while Lieutenant Colonel George V. Svoboda was named deputy engineer, Lieutenant Colonel James M. Gale assistant engineer, and Warren Withee served as the Chief of the Construction Branch. [234] At the time, constructing missile facilities was one of the largest construction projects undertaken by the Army Corps. In the 1960s CEBMCO and its predecessor agencies supervised the construction of 1,200 missile facility sites nationwide, including the 165 sites in South Dakota. [235]

Although CEBMCO staff at Ellsworth did not physically design or construct the LFs or LCFs, they were responsible for soliciting bids, selecting contractors, and reviewing plans. After supervising contractors during construction, CEBMCO aided the Air Force site activation task force in fitting the silos with operational missiles. [236]

In the summer of 1961 the Home Office Special Projects District at Kiewit Company in Omaha, Nebraska, won the bid to construct the Minuteman I ICBM silos for Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. The Kiewit Company bid estimate of $56,220,274 was nearly $10 million less than government projections. [237]

Using the designs developed by Parsons-Staven, a Los Angeles architectural-engineering firm, Kiewit Company was the primary contractor for the Minuteman I ICBM facilities in South Dakota. [238] The contract included preparing sites for facility construction and installing facilities using prefabricated parts. They were also responsible for negotiating with landowners over damages caused by the storage of excess dirt excavated from the silo shaft.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the construction of the Minuteman I ICBM silos in South Dakota took place on 11 September 1961 in front of a crowd of approximately two hundred on-lookers at a site later known as Lima-06, located just north of Sturgis. Instead of the traditional shoveling of dirt to symbolize the start of construction, a small explosion signified the power of this immense undertaking. The ceremony theme was "Partners for Peace." [239]

To make for a more efficient construction process, contractors assigned crews specific tasks, which they then performed at numerous sites. Crews assigned to the Minuteman construction project in South Dakota varied in size from four to thirty, depending on the complexity of their task. [240] The first step in constructing the LFs was the excavation and grading at each site. The construction crew assigned this task used a bulldozer and clam shovel to create a circular cut that they then excavated to a depth of approximately thirty-five feet. After this task, the crew moved on to another site to complete the same task until all 150 LFs were excavated. A second crew moved in and proceeded to dig the shaft for the silo using a large auger. The shaft was a circular hole with a diameter approximately fifteen to eighteen feet and extended over eighty feet below the ground. The next task involved a third crew that poured a concrete deflector plate into the bottom of the shaft. After this crew secured the bottom of the hole, steel contractors lowered a twenty-five-ton, sixty-two-foot prefabricated steel liner into position. The liner, which formed the skeleton of the silo, included a quarter-inch steel plate and rings of reinforced bars. Contractors then poured concrete around the exterior of the steel liner, forming a twelve-inch-thick wall. Additional crews constructed a lower equipment room around the silo and a support building adjacent to the silo, both of reinforced concrete and below ground level. Once this stage was complete, crews backfilled the sites with dirt originally excavated for the silo and facility. [241]

Kiewit Company subcontracted much of the work to other firms. For example, Summit Construction Company was responsible for the initial site grading, excavating to the approximate thirty-five-foot level, and storing dirt from those tasks. The Gustav Hirsch Organization installed electrical conduit and backfilled the area around the conduit. Natkin and Company installed mechanical pipes and was responsible for the backfill and compaction around them. For the installation of the HICS, Kiewit Company retained American Bridge Design—United States Steel Corporation. [242]

The construction procedure involved moving nearly twenty million cubic yards of dirt for the 150 LFs and fifteen LCFs. In addition, contractors poured nearly one hundred fifty thousand cubic yards of concrete and used thirty-five thousand tons of steel to reinforce the underground facilities. [243] Although the numbers appear large, constructing Minuteman I ICBM LFs was much less challenging than the construction of earlier Atlas and Titan LFs. Minuteman I LFs were smaller than earlier ICBM facilities and they used prefabricated parts and standardized construction techniques. Furthermore, the Minuteman I LFs did not require the elevator that positioned the missile for launch or the complex loading system that burdened earlier missiles. [244]

Despite steps taken to minimize costs and speed deployment, Minuteman construction did not always proceed smoothly. In some instances, work stoppages, weather, and injuries delayed construction of the 165 Minuteman LFs and LCFs in South Dakota. The famously unpredictable plains weather affected the construction of the sites with dust storms, heavy rains, snow, and even severe cold temperatures. Moreover, work at the missile sites in South Dakota stopped on several occasions due to labor difficulties. For example, on 6 June 1962 the American Bridge Company millwright workers went on strike for two days to protest the Kiewit Company's assignment of the setting anchor bolt task to ironworkers, which they believed to be their task. One week later Gustav Hirsch electricians protested the Kiewit Company's requirement that they report for work directly to LFs instead of a central point. [245] Contractors and workers dealt with such problems using "policies, procedures, and methods of adjustment" developed by the Missile Sites Labor Commission, the eleven-person agency appointed by President Kennedy in 1961 to aid in resolving labor disputes at missile and space sites quickly, and therefore without delay to the national defense program. [246]

Worker safety was an important issue at the missile construction sites and the Kiewit Company required employees to wear hard hats. During the two-year intensive construction period employing thousands of workers, sixty-two injuries and two fatalities were reported at the missile facilities in South Dakota. [247] In comparison, Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota experienced thirty-six construction-related injuries and two deaths, while Malmstrom Air Force Base suffered twelve injuries and one fatality. [248] Clearly this was dangerous work, as with all heavy construction, though the Kiewit Company received the National Safety Council's Award of Honor in 1962 for its missile construction efforts. During the second half of that year, the company logged over eight hundred thousand accident-free work hours, offering a safety record due in part to regulations set forth by the Army Corps. For example, the Army Corps required that any excavations at the sites had to have a slope on its bank so it would not cave in on anyone working inside the hole or shaft. [249]

Despite delays and unfortunate incidents, construction in South Dakota was completed by the fall of 1963, in less than two years. Construction of Delta-01 had been completed the previous year on 29 November 1962 at an estimated cost of just over $800,000 and construction of Delta-09 was completed on 26 November 1962 at an estimated cost of $354,500. The final costs for the construction of the Minuteman missiles in South Dakota may have been as high as $75.7 million. 250]

Missile installation

While Kiewit Company and other contractors worked to construct missile facilities throughout western South Dakota, the Boeing Company assembled the actual missiles, and developed much of the ground-support equipment, such as the launch control system, and the security system. More importantly, Boeing ensured that the missiles worked through testing, installed the missiles beginning in February 1963, and maintained them before transfer to the Air Force in the summer and fall of 1963. [251] Delta-01 and Delta-09 were turned over to SAC on 30 June 1963, making them among the first Minuteman sites to be activated at Ellsworth.

The emplacement of the missile in the silo employed skilled crews using a Transporter Erector (TE). After operators backed the TE into place, the missile container was raised to a vertical position over the silo opening. The missile was then freed from its restraining harnesses and a large hoist lowered it into the launcher. Once the missile was in the silo, technicians attached the reentry vehicle on top of the guidance and control system. After installing the reentry vehicle, the missile was aligned and oriented to the North Star and a targeting team set the arming and fusing system. [252] After Boeing finished installing all 150 missiles, the Air Force Systems turned the LFs and LCFs into operational facilities and SAC declared all three Strategic Missile Squadrons (SMS) combat ready on 1 November 1963.

Site Activation

The 44th Strategic Missile Wing (SMW) at Ellsworth Air Force Base was activated on 1 January 1962. Air Force personnel assigned to the 44th Missile Wing began training even while construction and development of missiles for the South Dakota Minuteman program was underway. Ellsworth Air Force Base received its first Minuteman I in February 1963. [253] The Air Force placed the first total flight of Minuteman I ICBMs at Ellsworth Air Force Base on alert status in July 1963 when Base commander, Colonel Kenneth W. Northamer, handed over the keys for the flight to Colonel Virgil M. Cloyd, commander of the 44th SMW. [254] By November 1963, the 66th, 67th, and 68th SMS of the 44th SMW were ready for combat. [255] Each squadron was responsible for five flights of ten missiles, totaling 150 Minuteman I missiles.

Economic and Social Impacts on the Region

Economic Boost to the Region

Like earlier ICBM programs, the Minuteman program had many lasting effects on western South Dakota. The immediate and lasting impacts of the Minuteman missile program on South Dakota and its people are clearly a part of the missile story and were described by former missileer, Craig Manson,

"It is a world historical event as well, ... the communities, the people who lived in those communities—they are all part of the story, too. Wall Drug, where many, many, many missile crews had breakfast and lunch, that's kind of part of the story. The Diamond Caf` in Newell, South Dakota, I don't know if it is even still there, but that is part of the story because it would not have been there long if it hadn't been for the missile crews, you know; Bear Butte in western South Dakota, Spearfish and Belle Fourche and towns like Philip and White Owl in the north central part of the state, and all of these communities are part of the story, too, and the way the people in these communities felt, whether they liked it or whether they didn't like it, however they felt about living in the shadow of those missiles." [256]

The large influx of construction workers in the early 1960s and the presence of additional Air Force personnel over the following thirty years affected local communities both economically and socially. Construction of the Ellsworth Air Force Base Titan facilities outside of Sturgis, New Underwood, and Hermosa beginning in late 1959 boosted the local economy and real estate market by providing jobs and demands for housing and goods and services. [257] This trend continued with the construction of the Minuteman I facilities in western South Dakota. Rapid City and smaller communities near the bases and missile sites benefited economically. Examples of increased economic activity brought by the expansion of the staff at Ellsworth Air Force Base are described in the following paragraphs.

The Kiewit Company alone employed nearly three thousand workers at the missile construction sites. [258] The Army Corps and Boeing Company also employed large numbers of staff in South Dakota during the early 1960s. While some of the employees were transient and moved to South Dakota to work on the project, many area residents found work on the construction, therefore stimulating the local economy. [259]

The employment opportunities offered to local residents during the construction of the sites was a significant impact on the local economy. When local resident Gene S. Williams was asked about how the public felt about the missiles being placed in South Dakota, he stated: "Well when they first were being constructed, you know, I think there were a lot of people that looked at them as jobs. It was very good to the local economy. There were high paying jobs, there were a lot of people that had an opportunity to work on the missile sites that, you know, that was probably as good a paying job as you could have gotten anywhere at the time. There were people that picked up skills associated with working on them that have used them the rest of their life." [260] In another case, Thomas Wilson, a Kiewit Company worker who had relocated to South Dakota, was asked about his feelings constructing missile sites, he simply stated, "I figured I had a job." [261]

By some estimates, the influx of new South Dakota residents, most of them union members, helped decide one of the state's closest elections, George McGovern's 1962 Senate victory. As activist Jay Davis recalled: "they were outsiders, they weren't from here, they didn't stay here long but they voted in that George McGovern the great spokesman for peace may have owed his very election, as close as it was, to the workers who were building the missile silos to further the nuclear arms race." [262]

The missile sites themselves brought increased staff to Ellsworth Air Force Base to operate and support the facilities, while the crews and their families became a permanent part of the area's economy and social fabric until the program's deactivation a generation later. "It brought more people into the area," Wall Drug owner Ted Hustead recalled. "There have been a lot of men that were stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base during the '60s and even today, that found their bride in western South Dakota." [263]

Employment in the area increased not only from direct employment for missile construction, but through the industries that supported the influx of workers. Housing surrounding Ellsworth Air Force Base was needed to accommodate the temporary workers, for example, and Boeing planned three trailer parks in 1961 to accommodate 120 units each. [264] Housing construction and an increase in demand for basic day-to-day needs, such as food and clothing, was an economic boom for the area.

Many local businesses, such as Wall Drug, benefited from the increased population during the Minuteman construction phase. Although the business did not permanently expand due to the presence of construction crews, the workers did have an impact on the business in the early 1960s. During this time Wall Drug would open its doors at 4:30 in the morning to prepare breakfast for the construction crews and pack box lunches. [265] Wall Drug also experienced business from missileers and other Air Force personnel during the years Minuteman I and II ICBMs were on alert status in South Dakota. Many times, LCF personnel would stop at Wall Drug to pick up food for barbeques or personal essentials needed for their three-day alert tour that they may have forgotten on base. [266] With the introduction of new Air Force personnel regularly traveling through the area, Wall Drug began advertising free coffee and donuts for Minuteman missile crews. This eventually led to free coffee and donuts to all veterans, truck drivers, hunters, snowmobilers, and honeymooners. [267]

The local economy continued to benefit from the presence of the Minuteman at Ellsworth Air Force Base into the later part of the twentieth century. During the Force Modernization Program begun in 1971, the Air Force upgraded the Minuteman I missiles of the 44th SMW with Minuteman II missiles. The project continued until March 1973 and employed over three hundred local residents. Local businesses benefited from the sale of supplies for the project. [268] Rapid City, as a regional center in the state, can be attributed in part to the number of people that were stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base over the years to work at the base and the missile sites.

Public Improvements

In addition to the economic boost, public utilities were also improved during the Minuteman I construction phase. In the spring of 1961 the Air Force initiated an accelerated program to improve 327 miles of roads. Contractors needed improved roads throughout rural, western South Dakota to move heavy equipment to the missile sites, and the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, Defense Fund provided funds that Congress allocated for road improvements. [269] Many of the improved roads to the missile sites were paved, which was a significant improvement over the area's typically unpaved rural roads. During the missile site construction in South Dakota the federal government designated specific routes for construction crews to follow to the sites. The government contracted with the involved county to conduct road repairs for damage from trucks hauling equipment or materials. In some cases, however, contractors did not follow designated routes, and their crews and equipment inadvertently damaged additional roads. Pennington County billed the government some $150,000 in 1962, to cite one example, to offset the cost of road damage on undesignated routes caused by missile construction. [270] Over the years of Minuteman I and II activation in South Dakota, the road networks continued to be maintained through federal, state and local funds to accommodate Air Force personnel and maintenance activities of the sites.

Many schools also felt a direct impact from the Minuteman construction phase in the early 1960s. The Rapid City schools grew by about one thousand additional students from the nearby Titan project. The Rapid City Journal in January 1961 reported that it was anticipated that a similar number of students would also enroll in the Rapid City schools as a result of the Minuteman site construction. [271] It is unknown how much enrollment increased as a result of the influx of Minuteman workers' children during the two years of construction.

Race Relations

The influx of workers during the construction of the missile sites and Ellsworth Air Force Base personnel over the years included people of various ethnic backgrounds, including African Americans. Racial inequality and discrimination, both on and off base, were not isolated to Ellsworth Air Force Base and the Rapid City area, but rather are likely a window into the racial tension and discrimination being experienced by the rest of the country. Rapid City and the region around the base were not very racially diverse, and as a result, African American base personnel pointed out the lack of social centers and ethnic opportunities off base.

Alan Gropman's book, The Air Force Integrates, 1945-1964, reports that African American airmen at Ellsworth Air Force Base "were rejected by the local communities, and base officials seemed to be indifferent to their plight. Many business establishments were closed to blacks, all taverns were segregated, and housing for blacks was extremely limited, substandard, and exceptionally expensive." [272] Initially, some members of the Air Force opposed becoming involved in integration issues within the communities outside of the bases, feeling this was outside of their realm of control. The passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act opened public accommodations to African Americans and allowed the Air Force to take more initiative in integration measures within the communities outside its bases. [273] Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act, some racial tensions continued to some extent both on and off base for air men of different cultural backgrounds.

Oral interviews with past personnel of Ellsworth Air Force Base during the late 1960s through the early 1990s offered varying opinions on the degree of racial tension between African American and minority Air Force personnel and the surrounding community. Ken Bush, an African American stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base during the mid-1970s and 1980s, stated that "I can honestly say that I was never mistreated anywhere I went." However, he did recall an isolated incident from the 1980s where he and another African American were refused service at an establishment in Rapid City. The matter was taken to the Rapid City Council and the two did not pursue further action. [274] Lieutenant Colonel Robert Wilson stationed at Ellsworth stated that race relations were not a problem on base, but that there were significant problems outside the base community and was surprised how African Americans and Native Americans were treated. [275]

In the Rapid City area there has historically been racial tension between the descendants of Euro-American and Native Americans, but based on the oral interviews collected to date, there is no evidence of significant tensions between the military community at Ellsworth Air Force Base and the surrounding Native American residents, at least in terms of affecting base operations.

Living Next to the Missiles

As is often the case, the presence of a large military base has a significant impact on the region. Ellsworth has become an important fixture in the community. In these ways the Minuteman program left a lasting social and economic imprint on western South Dakota, and not only in ways typically measured by statistics and numbers. An amateur baseball team in Sturgis has adopted the name Titans, referencing the Titan missiles that were once deployed a few miles east of Sturgis. In another example, several streets in Rapid City now bear names reflecting the history and heritage of the base, including Minuteman Drive and Atlas Street.

Initially the missiles brought jobs and money to the area, but as time went on the residents had to learn to deal with nuclear weapons in their backyards. Local rancher Gene S. Williams recalled that a lot of the people that had missiles sites put on their land were from an era that had traveled by horse and buggy or could recall this time, "and now you're putting a hole in the ground for a missile that could launch and go, you know, fifteen thousand miles and blow up millions of people. I mean, these types of things I think were hard for people to even put their arms around." [276]

For the children growing up amongst the missiles and Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, the Cold War was a part of every day life and evokes vivid memories. Tim Pavek, an environmental engineer at Ellsworth Air Force Base, recalls from his childhood hearing the B-52s. "...I remember when I was a, a little boy in bed here on a hot summer night with the windows open and I'd hear the distant rumble of the B-52s here at Ellsworth taking off. And, and, almost lay in bed shaking wondering if that was a practice mission and they'd come back or if this was the real thing and within a few minutes we'd see the fireballs of, you know, nuclear weapons over western South Dakota. So, having lived next to this Air Force base, you know, we knew that we were a big red-and-white bull's eye on the Soviet map, or that was my perception at the time." [277]

Tim Pavek recalled another childhood memory of the Cold War told to him by a gentleman who grew up in South Dakota, "... he says 'I remember sitting down at the kitchen table with my parents and having a very frank discussion over what we should do with regard to this, the threat of nuclear war. Um, whether we should build a bomb shelter—the people down the street were building a bomb shelter. How we should prepare ourselves for this eventuality.' " [278]

The missiles also perhaps left emotional scars. "And here you're sitting with a thermonuclear device, that is a half mile from your house," local rancher Gene S. Williams commented, "and you know well somebody punches the wrong signal code in or turns the wrong key and you're just vapor. You don't want to dwell on that too much but you also recognize that it wasn't just the enemy that was going to blow you up, you could blow yourselves up." [279] Paradoxically, the missiles themselves, and their LFs and LCFs, were less physically imposing on the state's landscape.

The Cold War Continues

The domestic and local impact of the Minuteman program in economic, political, and even psychological terms, all occurred in the context of sweeping movements within the international system. Whereas the program had begun in an era when only the two superpowers possessed nuclear weapons, by the close of the 1960s at least three nations (Britain, France, and the People's Republic of China) publicly possessed this ultimate power. Other countries, Israel and South Africa (clandestinely), and Pakistan and India (publicly) would join the nuclear club within a generation, while at the time of this writing, North Korea appears on the brink of doing the same. What once was the domain of only superpowers clearly has grown in scope. Minuteman was designed largely for a total global nuclear war, as a deterrent of awful destruction useful for warding off the complete devastation of a large-scale nuclear exchange. Whether such a system would and could help control this new era's increased risk of limited nuclear exchanges remains to be seen.

The superpowers responded to growth of the nuclear club with alarm, and with a surprising amount of cooperation. Each led collective military organizations by the mid-1950s, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact in Europe most famously. Each also believed their own nuclear sword sufficient for defending theirs and their allies' interests. American policymakers thus hesitantly approved of Britain's development of an independent nuclear capability in the 1950s, believing their objection would do little to halt Britain's nuclear program in any event, and loudly criticized France's nuclear program (and subsequent withdrawal from NATO) the following decade. For each of these new nuclear nations, possession of the ultimate weapon symbolized power in a changing world: the power not only to hold its own against lesser foes, but also the power to stand up to Washington or Moscow. "We must rely on the power of the nuclear deterrent," British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan declared, "or we must throw up the sponge!" Moscow proved more adept at halting nuclear development among its allies (who largely lacked the technological and financial resources to develop such expensive weaponry in any event), save for China, which joined the nuclear club only after its break with the Kremlin in the early 1960s. During their 1961 Summit in Vienna, Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev even obliquely discussed launching a joint air strike against China's embryonic nuclear program, as both leaders considered an Asian nuclear bomb a threat to their individual and collective interests. Realizing such a move would lead to war, they pursued other paths. [280]

By the 1970s, therefore, the bipolarity of the international system seen in the first Cold War years had given way to a world of multiple points of power. Moscow and Washington remained the two largest powers—and possessed the two largest nuclear arsenals by far—but they were no longer wholly dominant. They retained the power to impose their will on others (as in 1954 in Guatemala or in Hungary in 1956 for the United States, to name only two cases), though as the Soviets would learn in 1968 in Czechoslovakia, and the Americans in Vietnam throughout the 1960s, the use of force often carried negative consequence that far outweighed the potential gains of proving hegemony. In recognition of these changes, and of their profound implications for Asian security in particular, President Richard Nixon slowly developed the practice of what his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger termed "triangular" diplomacy. By warming American relations with China, including development of formal diplomatic and trade ties, Nixon hoped to gain leverage in Europe over the Soviets, forcing them to the negotiating table and towards the lessening of East-West tensions known as dètente. The ongoing quagmire of the Vietnam War and domestic crises such as Watergate ultimately limited Nixon's diplomatic options, but the point of his effort remained: that the second half of the Cold War was far different than the first. There were more nuclear powers, and they possessed even greater stocks of nuclear weapons than before. [281]

Some argued the world was a safer place because of these developments. Others saw the breakdown of Soviet-American relations by the close of the Presidency of James Carter as foreboding and a new and more dangerous phase of the Cold War. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, prompted in part by fear of the new Islamist government in neighboring Iran that drew its power at least in part by anti-Americanism, sparked a new crisis in superpower relations. Washington condemned Moscow's move, which if successful would have given the Kremlin new influence in a region pivotal to the world's oil trade, and American leaders spent heavily to arm Afghan resistance forces in their battle against the Red Army. Ironically, these same forces spawned anti-American Islamist movements such as the Taliban and Al Queda, groups that each began as Mujahadiin fighters, armed by the United States for their battle against Communism. [282]

Carter's final year in office saw renewal of Cold War tensions. Contemporary critics such as Ronald Reagan, who won the White House in 1980, and later conservative historians and pundits eager to give Reagan credit for "winning" the Cold War, harshly rebuked what they perceived to be Carter's tepid opposition of and even tacit acceptance of Communism. Such biased interpretations are largely incorrect. Carter accelerated America's military build-up, and withdrew the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II (SALT II) from the Senate (where it lacked the votes to pass in any event). He embargoed American wheat and technology exports to the Soviet Union, and even withdrew American participation from the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Like President Truman thirty years before, Carter announced his own "Doctrine," vowing American intervention—most likely nuclear—against any Soviet threat to the vital Persian Gulf. The Cold War was on once more. [283]

President Reagan continued these policies of military strength and tough diplomacy against the Soviets. His rhetoric, and his long-standing visceral opposition to Communism more broadly, helped change the tone of the Cold War. Carter promised opposition to further Communist expansion. Reagan wanted to see Communism's collapse. He called the Soviet Union an "evil empire," and later declared that "Marxism-Leninism" was destined for "the ashheap of history." He refused, in 1981 at least, to meet Soviet requests for arms reductions. By the mid-1980s, the Soviet economy could no longer support the country's competition with the West. When Reagan announced plans for an expensive new space-based missile defense system termed "Star Wars," or officially the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), Soviet leaders knew they could not afford to keep pace. Most analysts believed SDI to be technically infeasible. The very fact that Washington seemed willing to spend the money to find out, coupled with their inability to do the same, pushed the realization among Soviet leaders of the necessity of change. They had by 1985 only fifty thousand computers in their entire country, compared to America's thirty million, and youthful reformers such as the energetic Mikhail Gorbachev began a series of radical changes of the Soviet system, with glastnost (openness to the West) and perestroika (economic reconstruction). Reagan wanted more. "Mr. Gorbachev," he declared in Berlin while overlooking the most visible symbol of the East-West divide, "tear down this wall." Gorbachev could not, at least not without prompting a right-wing revolt at home. The forces he set in play, however, those of change and of modernity, swept through Europe. In November of 1989, Berliners both East and West tore down the wall that had divided them for more than a generation. [284]

The Cold War was not officially over—it had never officially begun—but it was clearly at an end. It would be up to democratic reformers such as Russian President Boris Yeltsin (Gorbachev was a reformer, but he was no democrat) to move the remnants of the Soviet Empire into a new day of cooperation with its neighbors and the world. Political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously declared the progress of history to be finally at an end. With the close of the Cold War, "political liberalism" had finally won out over totalitarianism. The stability of democracies would thereafter reign. As events have sadly shown, the post-Cold War world did not bring the stability promised, leading some pundits to publicly long for the security the bipolar Cold War system offered. The threat of global thermonuclear war might have lessened after 1991, the very threat Minuteman was originally developed to counter and deter. But the world may be no less safe for it. To the question of who "won" the Cold War, while most evidence points to the West, as responsible historians we can only answer as Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai did when asked the significance of the French Revolution: "it is too soon to tell." [285]



remember - " "


Instead of just being happy with the military construction contracts, Kiewit Sons’ broadened their scope and started getting involved in mining. It was an offshoot to their military ventures, since coal from the Big Horn Mine in Wyoming was needed at the Hanford Project in Washington State. This was were the top-secret Manhattan Project was carried out.

Hangar B was the first hangar erected by the U.S. Bureau of Yards and Docks with the Sound Construction and Engineering Company; its construction lasted from October 1942 to mid-August 1943. Meanwhile, the first airship arrived in February 1943, but, with no hangar to protect it, the blimp was shredded in a late March coastal storm. The second structure, Hangar A, was built much more rapidly, in just 27 days (July to August 1943) since the engineering challenges had been sorted out in the construction of Hangar B. The hangars each required 2 million board feet of lumber, most of it from Oregon, which was supplied by 50 local lumber mills. Even the gutters and downspouts were wood, and as a result more than 2,000 tons of steel were conserved per hangar.

Kiewit in Canada !! Very helpful

oct 06 1940




Kiewit Corporation traces its history to 1884, when Peter and Andrew Kiewit formed Kiewit Brothers, an Omaha, Neb., masonry contracting partnership.

What began in 1884 with two hardworking brothers has grown into a construction, mining and engineering powerhouse.


In 1889, Kiewit Brothers was awarded its largest masonry contract, the 7-story Lincoln Hotel.


The brothers ventured into general contracting in 1900 with construction of the Bekins Warehouse.


They dissolved their partnership in 1904, and Peter continued the business as a sole proprietor.


In 1912, two of his sons, Ralph and George Kiewit would join their father as partners in the firm.


The senior Pieter Kiewit passed away in 1914, and his two sons, Ralph and George Kiewit, renamed the company, Peter Kiewit Sons.


1919 After attending Dartmouth for a year, Kiewit returned to Omaha in 1919 to work at his family s general contracting business.


By 1920, the youngest of the Kiewit children, also named Peter, left Dartmouth College in his freshman year and joined the company as a foreman.

Meanwhile family members began to pull out of the company, a move begun by George Kiewit in the mid-1920s.


In 1924, the company reached the 40-year mark and landed its first million-dollar contract the 10-story Livestock Exchange Building in the South Omaha meat-packing district.

Also in 1924, George Kiewit left the company and Ralph and Peter Kiewit jointly managed the company.


In 1930 Peter Kiewit suffered the obstruction of a blood vessel resulting from the chronic inflammation of his veins--a condition called phlebitis.

Around 1930, many of his family members began leaving the business, and it appeared that the Kiewit legacy nearly 50 years in the making was coming to an end.


When Ralph Kiewit moved to California in 1931, Peter dissolved the family firm and reorganized as Peter Kiewit Sons', Co.


Starting in 1939, war construction started to build, and Kiewit successfully bid on a 7.5 million government contract to build 760 barracks and related facilities in Fort Lewis, Washington.


1944 While Peter constantly strove to educate himself and develop better business practices, he similarly pushed his employees to learn and grow.

His process of building better men and women through company training sessions formally began in 1944 with the first annual meeting of Peter Kiewit Sons . Peter said, Better trained men will perform more and work better and will do so in a safer manner.


1949 In 1949, Peter purchased Pawnee Springs Ranch near North Platte, Nebraska, the second ranch he came to own in addition to the X-Bar-X in northern Wyoming.


In 1950 the United States Corps of Army Engineers approached Kiewit for assistance in a joint venture to construct bomber and housing installations in Greenland.

The 1950 s saw many other development projects in which Kiewit was actively engaged.


In 1952, the Atomic Energy Commission awarded Kiewit the contract for the construction of the 1.2 billion Gaseous Diffusion Plant at Portsmouth, Ohio.


1954 Because of Peter Kiewit s deep commitment to his community, he served on the Ak-Sar-Ben board of governors for 16 years, beginning in 1954.


In 1958 the United States Army awarded Kiewit a 5 million contract to build Alaska's first nuclear facility.


1959 In Omaha, as the city s downtown waned, Kiewit became instrumental in revitalizing the area, serving on the Omaha Development Council and the Omaha Industrial Foundation.


The United States Air Force awarded the company a 68 million contract in 1961 for the construction of Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile launch bases near Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.


1965 Later in his life, Peter became more philanthropic and donated millions of dollars to charities and institutions that he admired.

One of his first sizeable public donations went to Creighton University in 1965 for the construction of Kiewit Hall, a women s dormitory.


1967 Recognizing Peter s focus on workplace safety, the National Safety Council awarded Peter Kiewit Sons its highest accolade, the Award of Honor, based on the company s record of 21 million man-hours of safe work.


In 1969, Peter turned the presidency over to Bob Wilson, and Peter remained as chairman.


In the 1970 s, Kiewit became one of Canada s leading contractors through its participation in the building of the dam and powerhouse facilities on the La Grande and East Rivers in Northern Quebec, as part of the massive James Bay hydro-electric project.


In 1971 the company was awarded a 50 million contract by the United States Army to begin preliminary work on building facilities at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana for the Safeguard anti-ballistic missile program.

He was chairman of the building committee for the latter, and saw to the construction of the original hospital building, which was dedicated in 1971 before an audience that included President Richard Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan.


The company gained an even greater share of the coal market in 1976, when Black Butte Coal Co., a joint venture with Rocky Mountain Energy, landed contracts to supply three million tons of coal annually to Idaho Power Light Co. for 25 years, and to Commonwealth Edison Co. for 20 years.

1976 The Jesuit community at Creighton awarded Peter its Manresa Medal for inspirational and enduring achievement and the University of Nebraska Medical Center presented Kiewit with its Distinguished Service to Medicine award.


In 1978 Kiewit won yet another contract from the army for 245.3 million to build a powerhouse at the Bonneville lock and dam in Washington State.

1978 Peter was recognized as an Honorary Founder of Creighton University, only the second time in the school s then 100-year history that the honor was given.


Peter Kiewit Foundation opened its doors in 1979 with a 150 million endowment.

Black Butte, a southwest Wyoming coal mine, began production in 1979.

In November 1979, Peter Kiewit died as a result of complications following the removal of a tumor on his left lung.


By 1983, however, high interest rates had begun to severely limit the number of large public building projects.


By the time Kiewit celebrated its centennial in 1984, the company had district offices throughout the United States and Canada, and was performing nearly all types of construction work.


Kiewit initially owned 80 percent of Continental, but fully acquired the company in 1985 after purchasing Murdock's stake.


After enlarging the breadth of its investments, the company was reorganized in 1986 to better reflect the more diverse nature of its businesses.


Kiewit found a buyer for Continental Can in 1991, and the company returned to a more concentrated pursuit of its specialty--construction.


By 1993 the average construction contract was for 5.3 million, with a typical year bringing in 200 to 300 contracts.


Bruce Grewcock, Kiewit s president and CEO, has steered the company to excellence since 2004.


In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands.


In 2012, Grewcock was chosen as chairman of the board.

Kiewit had 2012 revenues of more than 11 billion and consistently ranks among the top five contractors by Engineering News-Record.


Kiewit had 2018 revenues of 9 billion and consistently ranks among the top ten contractors by Engineering News-Record.




Omaha, NE

Minuteman at Minot Air Force Base

Built in the mid-1950s to host a Semi-Automatic Ground Environmental (SAGE) complex and Air Defense Command fighter aircraft, Minot became a Strategic Air Command base on July 1, 1962, pending the imminent activation of Minuteman I-B missile launchers.

The Corps of Engineers Ballistic Missile Construction Office (CEBMCO) oversaw the construction of the 150 silos and 10 launch complexes spread over a 12,000-square mile area. The prime contractor was the Peter Kiewit Sons' Company, which received the contract on December 22, 1961, with a bid of $67.8 million. At the peak of construction, Kiewit brought in 6,000 men with 1,100 vehicles and 115 cranes to ensure on-time completion of the contract. Relations between management and this work force were amicable as there were only two work stoppages that cost 58 man-days lost.

To manage the project, CEMBCO used a "critical path" method, which is essentially a daily charting of progress geared to project future needs. However, despite improved management techniques, CEMBCO and the contractors faced challenges from the severe weather and logistics support for the remote locations. Recordbreaking spring rains turned roads and work sites into quagmires, making excavation and transport dangerous. Severe winter cold with temperatures as low as -35 F tested worker endurance. In the autumn, dust storms made travel hazardous.

Despite these challenges, Peter Kiewit Sons' Company used accelerated construction procedures and completed the project 51 days ahead of schedule. Two workers died in construction-related incidents and there were 36 disabling injuries. Four private citizens died in various traffic accidents with project construction vehicles.

With construction under way, the Air Force activated the 455th Strategic Missile Wing and component 740th Strategic Missile Squadron on November 1, 1962. During the following 2 months, the 741st and 742nd Strategic Missile Squadrons administratively came into existence.

To preserve the continuity of units with distinguished histories, on June 25, 1968, the 455th Strategic Missile Wing was redesignated as the 91st Strategic Missile Wing. The 91st had organizational roots dating from World War II and had gained recent fame as a B-52 wing operating over Vietnam.

The first Minuteman III missile to arrive in the field was accepted by the 91st Strategic Missile Wing on April 14, 1970. The following August, the first Minuteman IIIs were placed on alert status. By December 1971, the switchover to the new missile was completed.

In addition to Minuteman ICBMs, Minot AFB hosted another type of strategic missile. Assigned B-52H bombers were modified to carry Air Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCMs).

Look here for general information on Minot AFB