Rantoul's Minuteman missile to be torn down

Rantoul's Minuteman missile to be torn down

RANTOUL — The famed Minuteman missile, the most visible vestige of Rantoul as the former home of an Air Force base, will be dismantled.

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith said he has been told by the Air Force that the village will not be able to buy the Cold War-era relic and keep it intact.

It has stood at the corner of Borman Drive and Doolittle Boulevard on the former Chanute Air Force Base since being erected in the mid-1960s, but has weathered over the years.

Ken Morrison, the Whiting, Ind., man who has been dismantling the military planes on the former base after winning the contract rights, had offered to sell the missile to the village for $1,500.

But Smith said the Air Force indicated Morrison did not have the right to sell the missile.

"The missile is going to be destroyed," Smith said.

The Air Force sent documentation that verifies the missile cannot be sold "because it's been sold to this gentleman, and he does not have the right to re-sell it."

Currently, Morrison also does not have the right to dismantle it — at least in the village's eyes.

The village ordered him to stop dismantling the former military planes on the base in the wake of three fires involving the planes in recent weeks — the latter two happening this week.

It is unknown how much longer the missile — erected near the west gate — will stand.

Smith said he will recommend to the village board that a commemorative marker be placed near where the marker stood.

"Since we aren't able to keep the missile, at least there will be a commemorative marker remembering what we had as a symbol of our past," Smith said.

Dave Hinton is editor of the Rantoul Press, a News-Gazette Media community newspaper. For more, visit rantoulpress.com.

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