Vandenberg Air Force Base is ready to reopen its doors to the public for the first time since Sept. 11.
Prior to the attacks, tours offered Wednesdays at 10 a.m. showed the public various sites and facilities within the base. Now, almost a year and a half later, Media Relations Chief Lt. Kelly Gabel said the terrorist threat has diminished enough to allow the public within Vandenberg’s walls again.
“We were forced to re-evaluate our tour program following the September attacks,” Gabel said. “The base was placed on heightened alert, and we were on orders not to reopen until we could ensure that we had taken the appropriate security measures.”
The tour, which will resume Feb. 12, will remain largely unchanged, as the security measures taken will not affect the activities offered in the past. Visitors are taken through the North Base gates, past now unused launch pads and testing sites to a “museum in progress.” Inside, models of control silos, rocket engines, peacekeeper missiles, and even workers’ apparel are on display. The tour may also feature a missile launch, depending on the day.
Gabel said she feels the public tour is vital to the base and is an important means for informing the public about its place in our military.
“The public is very curious to know what our mission is and what the base is like,” she said. “We have an obligation to show the public what we do here.”
Reservations for the tour are required, and appointments are recommended at least three weeks in advance. For more information, visit www.vandenberg.af.mil.