Out of the Woodwork: The Graffiti of the Pershing Launch Site at Green River, Utah

Author(s): Rachel Feit; Drew Sitters; William Godby

Year: 2014


Between 1962 and 1979, the U.S. Department of Defense tested long range Athena and Pershing Missiles from a test site in Green River, Utah. Part of the White Sands Missile Range, the facility consisted of the launch sites themselves, as well as control centers, weather stations, camps and other infrastructure to support the operations. In 2013, Archaeologists documenting the missile testing facilities came across an impressive earthen and wood blockhouse at the Pershing missile launch site. Scrawled on the walls inside the blockhouse were the names, service dates and hometowns of hundreds of soldiers stationed there between 1972 and 1979, as well as other messages that attest to chronic boredom, homesickness, or frustration. The graffiti is a compelling record on many levels about the men who served with the Pershing program in the 1970s, a time when America was still at war with Vietnam. Graffiti from German soldiers also attests to the international partnerships surrounding the Pershing program. Follow up research and oral histories have unlocked rich personal narratives embedded within America’’s nuclear missile testing program during the Cold War Era.

Cite this Record

Out of the Woodwork: The Graffiti of the Pershing Launch Site at Green River, Utah. Rachel Feit, Drew Sitters, William Godby. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436715)

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Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-14,13