We held another “Crew Commander’s Tour” this past Saturday (January 21, 2012). These recurring tours have proven very fun, educational, and successful. We hold the tours during our winter months (Nov-Feb). Because the site is only open by appointment during these winter months, we have the time and opportunity to offer these in-depth tours of the site to a limited number of guests. The long-length tour (about 2.5 hours) enables a relationship to develop between us and our guests and that relationship really opens up the dialogue. Because the site is otherwise closed during the tour, we can dedicate the site strictly to that tour—in other words, we have the place all to ourselves. But, perhaps the real highlight is the presence of a former Air Force member who joins Site Supervisor Mark Sundlov (himself a former missile crew member) to act as a second tour guide. This past weekend, former Facility Manager Joe Conzo joined Mark on the tour. Joe supported the site when it was an operational Air Force site and he has also been helping the site since its earliest days of becoming a historic site. Joe shared a number of great stories this past weekend from his unique perspective as a former Facility Manager (FM). It’s always a real treat to see guests light up when Joe nonchalantly tells of his days at Oscar-Zero and his time as FM NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge) in the 448th Strategic Missile Squadron. After all, how often do we get to visit a historic site where the first person interpretation is not provided by a costumed guide but by the actual first person? What a cool experience!
Another great aspect of the “Crew Commander’s Tour” is the follow on lunch that the Friends of Oscar-Zero host at the Griggs County Museum. This collaboration helps highlight the activities of the GCM including their newly established Northern Plains Cold War Interpretive Center. It also gives the Friends of Oscar-Zero another opportunity to directly fulfill their mission of supporting Oscar-Zero and the GCM. This weekend the Friends hosted a very tasty lunch catered by “Wooden Gardens”—a great little coffee shop, gift shop, and lunch spot in Cooperstown.
This past weekend, Melanie Orlins from WDAZ, Channel 8, in Grand Forks joined us on the tour and then reported the story on the Saturday evening news. It always feels good to have the media on site to help spread the story of the site and the preservation work that the State Historical Society of North Dakota has been doing here. Here is the link to that video…
Remember—the Crew Commander’s Tour is not the only way to see the site. We transition to our spring hours on March 1 and then to our summer Hours on May 16. If you’re interested in visiting the site, click on “The Historic Site” tab at the top of this page for the fine details or just call us at 701-797-3691 or write to the Site Sup (Mark Sundlov) at firstname.lastname@example.org