Sunday, October 17, 2021

Underground Bases and Tunnels: What is the Government Trying to Hide ?...Oh Yes, They're Real!...The Military Underground

Underground Bases and Tunnels: What is the Government Trying to Hide ?...Oh Yes, They're Real!...The Military Underground

Underground Bases and Tunnels: 

What is the Government Trying to Hide ?

By Richard Sauder Ph.D



Persistent rumors of secret underground bases and deep underground tunnel systems have swirled through the field of UFOlogy for some years now. 

These underground installations are variously said to be constructed, staffed and operated by covert human agencies (either part of the military-industrial complex or various federal government agencies), or by extraterrestrial or alien beings (the so-called "Little Greys" often mentioned in the UFO literature), or by both covert human agencies and aliens working together in secret, underground installations. 

I will say at the outset that my research has not revealed whether or not Little Greys even exist, much less whether or not they are living and working in underground installations. Perhaps the Little Greys really do exist; perhaps they do not. But since I cannot definitively answer the question one way or the other, I will not deal with it to any great degree in this report. Neither will I discuss reported cases where abductees have been taken into purported underground installations, where they have allegedly seen and experienced many strange things, including bizarre medical procedures and biological engineering experiments. Though I have both heard and read such stories I cannot testify as to the veracity of these reports, so I will not concentrate on them here. These anecdotal accounts are interesting, however, and I am keeping an open mind about them. 

What I do know for certain is that there are many underground installations here in the United States. 

I also know that the military-industrial complex and various federal government agencies have constructed, and are working in, many of these installations. 

I also know that throughout virtually the entire post WW II period (and perhaps before) the United States government has been actively planning and constructing underground facilities and installations, some of which are very deep underground, quite sophisticated and capable of accomodating large numbers of people. I have documented quite a number of these facilities and will describe them, to the extent that I am able, in this book. I have also been told of many other underground facilities that I am presently not able to document. For that reason, most of them will not be discussed here. 

I have been able to find considerably less information about the much-rumored tunnel system said, by some reports, to crisscross the United States. This does not mean that it does not exist. It may simply be that its deep underground location (if it really exists) gives it a natural cover that is hard to break. Or maybe it really does not exist! I don't know for sure one way or the other. Whatever the case, I will present what information I have uncovered about tunneling technology and tunnel systems - the kind of information that may well form the popular basis for the rumored underground tunnel system. 

My approach to the tunneling and tunnel network issue is the same as to the underground base question: I will present for my readers reports, information and facts that I have discovered and leave them to draw their own conclusions. I trust that most of what follows will be as  new and intriguing for others to read as it was for me to discover. 

I understand that some readers may object to the publication of information about military facilities. However, it is my feeling that the aims and ideals of representative democracy are poorly served by secrecy in government, especially in the policies of the armed services. 

History teaches us that when a country has an exceptionally powerful military, and when that military carries out secret policies and agendas like the U.S. military does (think of the illegal Iran-Contra affair, of super-secret nuclear bomb testing in Nevada, of the astronomical amounts of money given to the Pentagon every year for so-called "black projects"), then there is an ever present danger of that military taking control of the government. That control could be taken quickly -- or gradually. Noisily or quietly. But dictatorships are born when power is usurped by the military. God forbid that a military dictatorship should ever march under the stars and stripes of the United States of America. Protection against that ever happening begins with the exercise of our First Amendment right to speak freely. 

So, in that spirit, and in the hope that some of what follows will help peel away the cover of excessive secrecy that shields too much of what the Pentagon does from public scrutiny, I offer solid documentation of underground military installations, as well as official plans and documents pertaining to the construction, operation and planning for such installations. 

I would like to briefly relate an unpleasant incident involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In December 1992, while researching this book, I filed a Freedom of Information Act Request with the U.S. Army Corps of 7 Underground Bases and Tunnels Engineers. My request sought information about the Corps' involvement in underground base and tunnel construction and maintenance. As it happens, I was at that time a PhD candidate in political science working on my doctoral dissertation. After getting no substantive response to my request, I called the Pentagon and was referred to the Army Corps' Freedom of Information Office. I subsequently called that office and complained about the Corps' noncompliance with my request. A few days later an attorney for the Army Corps of Engineers called my dissertation advisor to complain about me. He informed my dissertation advisor that if I wanted to get bureaucratic that he would show me what "bureaucratic" was! 

Subsequently I received a letter from the Corps denying my request for a fee waiver and stating that I would have to pay all fees related to searching for and providing documentation on their subterranean construction and maintenance activities. Needless to say, this could easily have run to thousands of dollars. 

As a result, that information is not in this report. However, I still found plenty of other information relating to the U.S. Army Corps' underground construction activities and it is all discussed in detail in the pages that follow. So the Army's attempt at suppressing my First Amendment rights was not entirely successful. The free press lives! 

Chapters 7 and 9 of this book were first published in UFO Magazine, edited by Vicki Cooper. 

Readers are welcome to forward information to me concerning underground installations or tunnels of any sort. The more specific and detailed the information is, the better. Clear photographs, with accompanying details about when and exactly where they were taken, as well as what they depict, are also welcome. Sending photographs 8 Foreword or information to me constitutes permission for future publication or use by me, at my discretion, without further obligation or compensation to the sender. Please request anonymity if you want it. My address is: 

Richard Sauder 

c/o Adventures Unlimited 

Box 74 

Kempton, IL 60946 USA 

Now, let's go underground -- and see what's there! 


January 1995 

Chapter One 


Do secret, underground government installations exist? The answer is absolutely, positively - yes. They are real. 

In 1987, Lloyd A. Duscha, the Deputy Director of Engineering and Construction for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, gave a speech entitled "Underground Facilities for Defense -- Experience and Lessons." In the first paragraph of his talk he referred to the underground construction theme of the conference at which he was speaking and then stated: "I must deviate a little because several of the most interesting facilities that have been designed and constructed by the Corps are classified." Mr. Duscha subsequently launched into a discussion of the Corps' involvement, back in the 1960s, in the construction of the large NORAD underground base beneath Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado (See Chapter 3 for a more detailed discussion of the NORAD installation). And then he said: "As stated earlier, there are other projects of similar scope, which I cannot identify, but which included multiple chambers up to 50 feet wide and 100 feet high using the same excavation procedures mentioned for the NORAD facility."1 

I submit that you will probably not find a more honest admission anywhere by a military officer that the Pentagon has, in fact, constructed secret underground installations. 

Given such an explicit admission, within the context of the paper trail that the military has left over the last 35 years (set out in this book in considerable detail), and the stories that I have heard from other individuals, I consider it an absolute certainty that the military has constructed secret underground facilities in the United States, above and beyond the approximately one dozen "known" underground facilities listed elsewhere in this book. 

Just a few of the many places where these underground facilities are alleged to be are: Ft. Belvoir, Virginia (home of the Army Corps of Engineers); West Point, New York (site of the Army's officer training academy); Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base, in southern California; Groom Lake or Area S-4, on or near Nellis Air Force Base, in southern Nevada; White Sands Army Missile Range, New Mexico; under Table Mountain, just north of Boulder, Colorado; under Mount Blackmore in southwestern Montana and near Pipestone Pass, just south of Butte, Montana. I would be glad to hear from individuals with information about any of these alleged facilities. 

But not all underground installations are secret military projects. Many underground tunnels and facilities have been built that are not covert in any way. There are numerous highway and railroad tunnels, and many major cities have extensive subway systems. There are also miles of utilities, such as water lines and sewer tunnels, with accompanying pumping stations. 

Some of the most complex, non-covert underground facilities that have been built are for hydroelectric powerhouses. The rooms and halls in these kinds of plants can be hundreds of feet below the surface and quite huge in some cases. For example, the powerhouse at Portage Mountain Dam in British Columbia, Canada is 890 ft. long,  66.5 ft. wide and 152.5 ft. from top to bottom. Of special note is the method used to deliver concrete to the powerhouse chamber during construction. An 8-in diameter pipe was run 400 ft. from the ground surface down to the construction area, and the concrete was delivered through the pipe.2 

But if such extraordinary human ingenuity and effort can bring into being the tunnels through which we freely drive our cars, and the power stations which deliver electrical power to our homes, it requires no great stretch of imagination to suppose that installations of similar, or even greater, size, complexity and depth could have been built underground, perhaps covertly, by agencies of the United States government and huge corporations. As this book reveals, our government - and the contractors with which it works ~ has the personnel, technical know-how, machinery and money to plan and complete mammoth underground construction projects. 

Where are the bases? 

In the pages that follow I will list, one by one, as many of the known underground facilities in the United States and Canada that are operated or maintained by United States government agencies and major corporations as I can presently document, reporting as much information about each one as possible. For some, I can report only that they exist; for others, I can say a good deal more. As it happens, there are many similar deep underground facilities in other countries. Sweden, Switzerland, France, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Russia are known to have sophisticated underground installations -- and, presumably, yet other countries have them as well. In this book I will restrict my discussion only to North American facilities. 

So there is no question that secret underground bases  exist. But how do they get there? How is it possible to plan, build, and operate them, all in secrecy? As it happens, it is easier than the average person might suspect. 

In 1985 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a report entitled Literature Survey of Underground Construction Methods for Application to Hardened Facilities. The report concluded that, "Since adequate technology is available to construct hardened underground facilities under virtually any ground conditions, the main constraint in construction projects remains economic viability rather than technical feasibility." In other words, with enough money, underground facilities can be built almost anywhere. Given the huge buildup in military budgets under the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush one cannot help but think that "economic viability" -- money ~ may not have been a drawback at all, especially for projects done beginning in the early 1980s. 

In very general terms the Army Corps report discusses a variety of types of underground facilities and construction techniques. Two of the types of underground facilities it discusses are (1) deep shaft structures and (2) tunneled structures in mountainsides. 

Inspect Illustration 1.3 Notice that tractor trailer trucks are depicted as entering both kinds of structures. In the mountainside facility the truck appears to drive in through a tunnel. In the deep shaft structure truck entry appears to be via an access building and some kind of vertical hoist or elevator that would seem to be implicit in the layout of the facility. The deep shaft structure is also shown with an accompanying ventilation shaft to the surface, which has its topside terminus in a "protective enclosure." 

How To Hide An Underground Base 

To illustrate just how well hidden such underground  facilities -- and the entrances that give access to them - can be, consider the examples of two actual, underground installations. One of them is in England, the other in Sweden. First, the Swedish installation:

In central Sweden there is an underground factory excavated deep into a granite mountain which employs nearly 3,000 workers and manufactures diesel and gasoline engines, agricultural machinery, and various machine tools. As you approach this installation, the only man-made structure apparent to the unaccustomed eye is an innocent looking Swedish farm house, located at the foot of a hill. However, when the hinged walls of this house swing open, much like large garage doors, there is an opening of sufficient size to accomodate large trucks.4 

Consider that these words were written in 1949, during the immediate post-war period. If in the 1940s the Swedes could disguise the entrance to a major, underground, industrial facility as an ordinary farm house, what might the Pentagon be capable of today? Clearly, the possibilities are extensive. 

Now for the English example. Until 1989 the War Headquarters of the British Army's UK Land Forces Command was situated in an underground bunker 50 ft. below a field in Sopley, Hampshire. When it was active the sign in front of the installation identified the place as a "training area" for the "No. 2 Signals Brigade." (This is more than a little reminiscent of the two U.S. Army "Warrenton Training Center" stations mentioned later.) The English bunker has now been replaced by a newer facility elsewhere, but the interesting thing about the now abandoned Sopley facilities is how nondescript the entrance is. 

On the surface, only a guardhouse and two ventilator shafts now stand in an empty, but fenced-off field ... A shaft concealed at the back of the innocuous looking guardhouse gives access to a stairwell and underground tunnel -- at the end of which is a two-story bunker with about 50 rooms.5 

I strongly suspect that the designers here in the United States have been at least as ingenious as their counterparts in Europe in disguising and concealing entrances to underground installations. Virtually any house anywhere, or any building, large or small, is capable of concealing an entrance to an underground facility. This is not the same, of course, as saying that every house and building that one sees is, in reality, a disguised underground base entrance. Still, as the above examples show, some houses and buildings certainly can be disguised entrances for such facilities. Since they don't have signs on them advertising the fact, the hard part is figuring out which ones they are. To say that this is not easy is an understatement. 

Starting Construction: One Case History 

So underground bases do exist and they can be hidden. But how do underground construction projects get underway in the first place, without being noticed? 

Consider Kennesaw Mountain, just outside of Marietta, Georgia, in the late 1950s, and Green Mountain, on the outskirts of Huntsville, Alabama. 

Two articles in 1957 reported that the Army was planning to build a huge underground rocket factory inside Green Mountain. The project was to have been undertaken jointly by the American Machine and Foundry Company, the Redstone Arsenal and the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. In addition to the missile plant, the facility was  also slated to have a "sort of subterranean 'junior Pentagon' where elaborate headquarters would be installed to direct the defense of the southern U.S. from enemy attack." A local group bought 200 acres along the Tennessee River for docks from which a company called Chemstone would ship the limestone excavated during construction to market.6 This same group, comprised of members of the Huntsville Industrial Expansion Committee, also engaged in a nearly two-year "series of obscure real estate transactions" in which they purchased, "in their own names or through proxies, various parcels of land scattered about ... Green Mountain"7 for the construction of the underground, military-industrial facility. 

I don't know if this base was ever actually built (if you do, please contact me). But whether or not it actually moved to the construction phase is beside the point here. It is fascinating enough to see how a site is selected, bought and prepared for construction. 

The preparation and preliminary work proceeded in a most interesting fashion, in that, even though it was to be a combination underground "junior Pentagon" and U.S. Army missile factory, the land for it was actually purchased not by the Department of Defense, but by private citizens, acting on their own or as proxies for others. The plan for the facility is also intriguing in that, as of 1957, it clearly showed the kind of military-private industry cooperation that has today become commonplace. In this case, it involved the U.S. Army and the American Machine & Foundry Co. 

So already in 1957 the Pentagon - and local business interests -- showed themselves capable of coming together to plan the construction of a major underground military facility, to be built inside of Green Mountain, in the southern Appalachians, just outside of Huntsville, Alabama. That nexus of interests was comprised of (a) big business; (b) military agencies; and (c) private individuals who were in on the deal (and who very likely benefited from insider speculation in the local real estate market). Underground base researchers would do well to look for this nexus of interests and pattern of activity elsewhere, as similar groups are likely to have played key roles in planning and constructing underground facilities in other places. 

Here is the way I see the actual construction scenario playing out: military agencies desire to construct underground facilities as secretly as possible. The Army Corps of Engineers can supervise the actual construction and draw up the plans, but special expertise and equipment will often need to be supplied by private industry. And specific or highly technical industrial operations will likely need to be conducted by private companies as well. Although the Pentagon and other federal agencies (notably the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Land Management) control huge tracts of land in the West, in other parts of the country most of the land is owned by private citizens. So if a military agency wishes to secretly construct a base on a piece of land that it does not own, in order to avoid drawing attention to its plans, it might covertly employ a sympathetic group of private citizens or businessmen to handle the real estate transaction(s) for it. In this way, the military gets its land, but without unwanted publicity and fanfare. 

The Air Force Times announced in 1959 that the Air Force was on the verge of agreeing with the U.S. Department of the Interior to place an underground SAGE radar facility inside of Kennesaw Mountain (the mountain was, and is, a National Park owned by the Interior Department), on the outskirts of Marietta, Georgia. Construction was projected to last two years and to cost about $15 million (in 1959 dollars). The facility was to be a "semi-automatic Air Defense Center" for the surrounding 13 state region.8 I do not know if this installation was ever built. The mountain is only a few miles from Dobbins Air Force Base, so it would have been possible to drive a tunnel the short distance from Dobbins AFB and excavate the inside of the mountain without disturbing the surface of the national park in the slightest. All of the heavy machinery required to build the facility could have entered and exited the underground construction site via Dobbins AFB. 

Whether this was in fact done I do not know. But even if neither the Kennesaw Mountain nor the previously mentioned Green Mountain underground facilities were ever constructed the mere fact that plans to do so were announced demonstrates that the Pentagon, as of the late 1950s, was actively planning for underground bases in the southern Appalachian region. Not only that, but the plans were in an advanced stage of preparation. (Turn to Illustration 2 to see how military planners in the late 1950's were visualizing their underground bases.) 

So even if these two particular facilities were not built (and I do not know one way or the other) my research leads me to believe it is likely that others were built in northern Alabama and Georgia, and in the Carolinas, and perhaps in Tennessee as well. Of course, major underground projects would probably get underway in much the same way in any other state or region of the country. 

Supplying Power to Underground Military Facilities 

A primary consideration in the construction of deep underground facilities is obtaining sufficient power for operation once the installation is built and functioning. By the early 1960s the U.S. military had decided that "... either of two prime power plant systems would provide suitable sources of electrical power for hardened, underground Command Centers. These two are the diesel power plant and the nuclear power plant."9 While it may seem possible to plug into the commercial network that services most of the country for the electrical power needs of underground facilities, a 1963 Army report concluded that the power requirements of these installations can be sufficiently unique, due to "stringent voltage and frequency requirements which may be imposed by special electronic equipment," and due to the necessity of power self sufficiency under emergency conditions, "that it is far more satisfactory, and in many cases more economical, to provide a generating plant within the installation itself to serve all the load and to eliminate any connection to a commercial power source." 

The 1963 Army report concluded that "...nuclear power plants appear to be advantageous for use in underground installations." And it effectively endorsed their use in underground military installations: "...Nuclear power is the only field tested, non-air breathing system with sufficient electrical generating capacity to support an underground installation of the size and type envisioned." The report then proceeded to discuss the pros and cons of various power plants, most of them conventional, before concluding with a list of the various nuclear power plants already built, under construction or being designed for military use.10 However, the report unfortunately did not specify for what size and type underground installation these power plants were intended, or where the facilities may be located. But the very existence of an Army Corps of Engineers manual entitled Utilization of Nuclear Power Plants in Underground Installations means it is entirely possible that underground military facilities may be powered by self-contained nuclear power plants. 

In the case of diesel power plants, during emergency "button-up" periods when the installation would be sealed from the outside world, there would be a so-called "closed cycle" system in operation. This system would utilize sodium hydroxide for disposal of carbon dioxide in the exhaust produced by the diesel engines; liquid oxygen stored in cryogenic tanks for combustion of the diesel fuel; and fuel oil to power the diesel engines, stored in an underground depot, and replenished as needed from tanks on the surface.11 

Other proposals that have been advanced to generate independent power economically are detailed in Chapter 5. The secret underground bases exist; they can be well hidden; and they can be independently powered. 

In the next chapter I take the reader on a guided tour of underground bases throughout the United States. No doubt the locations of some of these bases will be a surprise to many!  

Chapter Two 



It is important, first of all, to realize that the United States military has been heavily involved in underground construction for decades. I will set out for you as many of the locations where the various military agencies have actually constructed major underground facilities as I can presently document. I have been told of, and have read of, many others. While I think it highly probable that at least some of these other secret installations may exist I will not discuss most of them in this report, because I cannot presently document them. 

I will also discuss at some length planning documents generated by various military agencies pertaining to construction and operation of underground bases and tunnel systems. These planning documents are real. They were written over a 25 year period beginning in the late 1950's and continuing up to the mid-1980's. The reader will have to be the judge of whether any of the underground facilities discussed in the planning reports have been constructed. I personally have not been in any underground military facilities and am not privy to classified information; however my hunch is that some of the facilities mentioned in these reports and studies probably were built.

The Air Force and Project RAND 

One of the most prominent names in the early history of U.S. government planning for underground bases is Project RAND. The RAND Corporation became operational in November 1948. It actually grew out of U.S. Air Force Project RAND, which was established in 1946 to carry out long-range research projects of interest to the Air Force. The mission of the RAND Corporation was to work on cutting edge problems in the realms of engineering, economics, mathematics, physics and social science. 

In the late 1950s, one of the problems that the RAND Corporation was working on was the question of underground base construction for the United States military. Accordingly, Air Force Project RAND and The RAND Corporation held a symposium on this topic, on 24- 26 March 1959, to which they invited a wide variety of technical experts from the public and the private sector. According to the chairman, the purpose of the symposium was to discuss "the problems of protecting military installations located deep underground or under mountains" in the event of nuclear war. 

He went on to say that for the two years previous (since 1957) The RAND Corporation had been "actively investigating the need for a small number of superhard deep underground centers" that could withstand the fury of a massive nuclear attack.1 The two-volume report itself is made up of dozens of papers about tunneling, underground excavation, geology, engineering technology and the like. Most of the papers are quite general. 

The major importance of this RAND Corporation symposium, however, is that it reveals that already in the 1950s the U.S. government was actively planning for the construction of underground bases and installations. (In fact, as I shall show later, already in the 1950s the United  States government had constructed a number of secret, deep underground installations.) 

Also noteworthy is the way in which the groundwork for the move underground was prepared: The RAND Corporation called on experts from military and nonmilitary government agencies, from the corporate world and from major universities. Chairmen for the individual sessions were drawn from Princeton University; RAND Corporation; Colorado School of Mines; Army Corps of Engineers; University of Illinois; National Bureau of Standards; Ballistic Research Laboratories; Brown University; and an assortment of independent consultants and private firms. This pattern of collaboration on underground construction projects between university researchers and university engineering schools, private sector industry and the military and other government agencies is one that has continued right up through the 1980s. 

In 1960 the RAND Corporation published a study under contract to the Air Force in which twelve specific locations across the country were selected as possible sites for deep underground installations. In this RAND Corporation report, all installations are assumed to be more than 1,000 ft. underground.

One of these sites, on the Keweenaw Peninsula near Calumet, Michigan, was selected for its location under places where previous hard rock mining had occurred. The theory expressed in the report was that in the event of a nuclear attack, seismic waves from the detonation of nuclear weapons on the surface would be attenuated and deflected by the previously excavated shafts, tunnels, drifts, rooms and chambers of the copper mine workings, thereby shielding the underground installation from the full brunt of a nuclear explosion. In the cases where such mine workings did not already exist, so-called "umbrellas" could be excavated above the installation. These are open spaces in the rock that would serve the same purpose of protection as mine workings.3 

Another site where a facility was proposed was under an abandoned iron mine near Cornwall, Pennsylvania.4 Other sites proposed for deep underground military installations were Mohave and Coconino Counties, Arizona, under the Grand Wash and Vermilion Cliffs; a limestone mine near Barberton, Ohio, about 8 miles from Akron; The Book Cliffs near Rifle, Colorado, where the federal government already has excavated an oil shale experimental mine; the area near Morgantown, West Virginia; the area of McConnelsville, Ohio, between the towns of Marietta and Zanesville; the northwest corner of Logan County, Illinois, about 25 miles south of Peoria; an indeterminate location in southwestern Minnesota; the thick diatomite strata of Santa Barbara County, California; and lastly, and perhaps most interestingly, under the glacial ice and rock of the Kenai Peninsula in southern Alaska. In the last two cases, it was felt that the chalk-like diatomite and the glacial ice would help absorb the considerable force of a nuclear blast and thereby afford a greater measure of protection to the deeply buried facility.5 

While I do not know if the Air Force has constructed underground installations at the 12 locations specified in the RAND report, there is no question that the Air Force does have underground installations that can be documented. One such facility, little known, is in operation near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The site is referred to as the Kirtland Munitions Storage Complex by the Air Force, which for years would not comment on what was there, though speculation was rampant that the complex was a nuclear weapons storage area. 

In 1949 the Air Force dug into one of the ridges in the foothills of the Manzano mountains near Albuquerque and began to fill it with tunnels and caverns. 

One of the miners who helped excavate the complex personally told me of blasting out large chambers underground, 40 ft. wide, 30 ft. high, and 100 ft. long. Security during construction was so tight that as soon as his crew completed a tunnel or chamber they were pulled out and sent away to excavate another portion of the mountain. This was compartmentalization of the most literal kind, intended to ensure that not even the miners who built this underground base would be familiar with its complete layout. 

The miner further told me that this facility contains a covert, subterranean, nuclear weapons assembly plant. Another man I have spoken with who has been inside the facility told me that it seemed to him that the mountain contained miles of tunnels. This second man also said that there was a secret nuclear weapons assembly plant inside the mountain (See Illustration 3). 

Security at the facility, which is clearly visible a couple of miles to the south of 1-40 on the eastern outskirts of Albuquerque, is extremely tight. The 3,000 acre base, actually a separate base within the Kirtland AFB/Sandia National Laboratories complex, is ringed by a 9.5 mile concentric band of four, tall, chain-link security fences, the third of which carries a lethal electrical charge, and the fourth of which is topped by coils of razor-sharp concertina wire.6 Entrance to the facility is via secure blast doors set into the mountain. Until recent years, armed police in jeeps patrolled the perimeter around the clock. 

In 1989 the Air Force began construction of a second underground facility within sight of the Manzano Base. The new facility, completed in June of 1992, is also on land  controlled by Kirtland Air Force Base. 95% of the new, 285,000 sq ft. bunker is below ground. 

I was told by one of the Marine guards at the new facility that in addition to more prosaic security measures such as magnetically coded ID cards there are also devices that scan the palm print and retina of the eyes of each person seeking entry. But he would tell me no more about the facility than that. 

According to the Air Force, whatever used to be in the Manzano complex has now been transferred to the new underground bunker. However, this sheds little light on what was transferred to the new bunker since Air Force officials have never in the first place discussed what used to be in the Manzano complex. And although the Air Force may have announced that it has vacated the mountain, it is hardly empty. A recent report indicates that the Department of Energy (DOE) now occupies 50% of the Manzano bunker complex. But like the Air Force before it, the DOE is not commenting either about what it is doing in the Manzano base. Nuclear arms experts speculate that nuclear weapons are being stored in both the new bunker and the old Manzano base.7 And they may well be right. 

On the other hand, even supposing that nuclear weapons are in either or both of these underground bunkers, it is still entirely possible that something more than weapons storage is happening below the surface at Kirtland. Indeed, if my two sources are correct there was in the past, and still may be, a secret nuclear weapons assembly plant underground, beneath the foothills at Kirtland Air Force Base. 

Knowing from published newspaper accounts in the local Albuquerque Journal that the Department of Energy (DOE) had moved into 50% of the large underground facility on Kirtland Air Force Base, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the DOE's Washington, DC office. I asked for information about the underground facility at Kirtland. I also asked for information about other underground facilities rumored to be operated by the DOE at Los Alamos, New Mexico; the huge Pantex nuclear weapons factory near Amarillo, Texas; the Rocky Flats nuclear facility in Colorado; and an unusual electronics facility called "ICE STATION OTTO," located in a very rural area a few miles north of Moriarty, New Mexico on Highway 41. 

My request was sent to the DOE's Albuquerque office at Sandia/Kirtland. (Sandia National Laboratories, run for decades for the Department of Energy by AT&T, are now administered by Martin Marietta. Sandia Labs are located on Kirtland Air Force Base.) In their initial response to me, DOE denied that they have any records of underground facilities at any of these sites. Or, in DOE jargon, "no responsive records to your request were located." 

Well, that's an interesting response, because the local newspaper has reported actual underground facilities at Kirtland AFB that are fully 50% occupied by the DOE. Once again, a government agency has refused under the Freedom of Information Act even to release information that is readily available in the public domain. 

I have been told that there are underground facilities and tunnels at Los Alamos National Labs as well. But the DOE response to my request said that there were none. When I received this response I called up the appropriate DOE personnel and informed them that the FOIA office at Los Alamos was not forthcoming. In reaction to my phone call the DOE again queried the Los Alamos FOIA office. Within a couple of days the DOE at Los Alamos provided a badly blurred photostatic copy of an article by Earl Zimmerman entitled "LASL'S Unusual Underground Lab," which describes an underground laboratory built in the late 1940s (See Illustration 4 for a photograph taken from inside this mysterious facility).8 But the DOE included no information as to when, or in what magazine or journal the article appeared. At my request the Sandia office again called the Los Alamos DOE office for more information and was told they did not know the facts of publication of the article and that they had no other information about this underground facility.


Isn't it interesting that Los Alamos' first search found no records responsive to my request, but the second search did? As best as I can make out from the barely legible text in the photostat of the article about the LASL, the facility was constructed in 1948-49 by the huge fabrication company of Brown & Root, Inc., of Houston, Texas. The main tunnel was designed by a company called Black and Veatch, of Kansas City, Missouri. It was bored into the cliffside of Los Alamos Canyon, at a place called TA-11 or perhaps TA-41 (owing to the poor quality of the xerox the numbers are indistinct). Opening off of the main tunnel, which was quite large and could accomodate a large truck for nearly 250 feet of its length was a thick vault door, behind which was a high security room, containing five more, thick, vault doors containing multiple combination locks, of the sort that banks have for their vaults. Behind each of these doors was a walk-in vault. The whole complex was "lined with reinforced concrete, equipped with three sources of electric light and power, modern plumbing, forced ventilation and air conditioning." The climate control called for a "constant humidity of about 50 percent and a temperature that remained between 40° and 60°." A spur tunnel led to another room that contained an emergency diesel generator, to supply power in the event that outside sources were cut off. In an emergency batteries could also provide lighting. The complex was located beneath the Noncommissioned Officers Club. 

The complex was reportedly originally built to store nuclear materials, and later converted to a fallout shelter, designated as Shelter 41-004 (here again the numbers are indistinct). In an emergency it contained supplies to take care of 219 people for two weeks. According to the article, construction details of the 6,000 sq ft. underground facility were declassified in 1959. 

Interestingly, the article says that its vaults are "still used as vaults and security is just as strict as ever." And the article alludes to the facility's use as a "pure physics" laboratory. The article also mentions that the complex was associated with something called "W Division." 

In subsequent communications with the DOE I received information indicating that this facility was in active use as recently as the mid-1980s. 

The existence of this facility raises many questions. The most logical is: are there other tunnels and other high security suites of vaults and rooms deep under Los Alamos? And in light of persistent rumors of captive "EBEs"9 held hostage at Los Alamos, was this high security, climate controlled, plumbing equipped suite of vaults really dug into the mesa as a storage site for nuclear materials - or was that just a cover story? Was this complex, instead, actually intended as a high security jail for alien prisoners held against their will, incommunicado behind thick steel doors, deep underground? Certainly the time frame of 1948-1949 is suggestive, since that is the approximate time when one, possibly more, UFOs were rumored to have crashed and to have been retrieved, along with some of their occupants, by the U.S. military. 

But perhaps the only secrets being protected here  really did revolve around the infant nuclear industry. After all, in the late 1940s the nuclear age was still in its infancy and Los Alamos was the place where the atom bomb was developed and first produced. So it would have made perfect sense to have a local, high security, underground facility for storing nuclear materials. 

Something Old, Something New 

Yet another provocative underground Air Force installation has recently been reported in the heart of California's wine country. 

Within the last couple of years a secret underground installation has allegedly been covertly constructed near Oakville Grade, not far from Napa, California. Aerial photographs of the entrance to the supposed underground facility, located in rugged, mountainous terrain, show "large cement bunkers with large concrete doors, a new road, freshly graded." There are also eight to ten microwave dishes pointing straight up into the sky, evidently providing satellite communications links. There has been heavy helicopter traffic to the facility, evidently to outfit and provision it. When asked about the flights the Air Force responded that they were a "classified operation." According to a local newspaper the new facility is an "elaborate underground complex designed to hold government officials, scientists and other high echelon personnel in the event of an emergency."10 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 

A big player in the underground installation business is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- and the "regular" Army itself. 

Given the RAND Corporation symposium in 1959, it is no surprise that in the years 1959-1961 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a five-part series of training manuals entitled Design of Underground Installations in Rock. I cannot possibly condense the entire contents of these documents here, nor will I cite them all. But suffice it to say that the tone of the series assumes that there already were underground military installations, as of the late 1950s. The manuals are clearly intended for use by military engineers training for the construction and maintenance of underground facilities. Judging from the manuals, the facilities in question were intended for use as command and control centers and survival bunkers for the military brass, in the event of nuclear warfare. 

Citing the failure of the Germans and Japanese to recognize early enough in WW-II the strategic importance of placing crucial facilities underground, the Army Corps concluded that it was imperative for the United States to construct vital facilities deep underground. This decision was lent extra force by the destructive power of nuclear weapons which made previous installations obsolete. Significantly, one of the reports in this series, issued in 1961, says, "Vital governmental installations have been placed underground, as exemplified by the Ritchie project."11 

The Ritchie project is a large, underground, military facility on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border which is discussed in some detail later in this report. The interesting thing here is that already in 1961, in a publicly available document, explicit reference is made to governmental installations (plural) already having been placed underground. 

Examples of the sorts of facilities the military was discussing placing underground were: communications centers, fortifications, air raid shelters, staff headquarters and offices, research facilities, shops and factories, and storage areas; and hospitals, kitchens, lavatories and sleeping areas for the use of the personnel stationed underground. According to the Army Corps, some facilities were to be relatively shallow, while other, "more important equipment and facilities essential to defense may be installed in deeper workings" that "are likely to be long and tunnel-like," occupying "one or several stories." According to the report, such deeper facilities may be several hundred feet underground. Several kinds of facilities are discussed: (a) a simple installation with a single shaft or tunnel; (b) a simple installation with two or more shafts; (c) a simple installation with tunnel and shaft; and (d) larger installations with multiple tunnels and shafts for access and ventilation.12 

The documents provide several possible schematic layouts for underground installations (See Illustration 5 for one such schematic). In addition to the tunnels giving access to the facilities there are also shafts to the surface for ventilation, heating and cooling, and for exhaust of gases from power plant machinery. The documents also show possible designs and appearances of air-intake shafts for underground facilities (Illustration 6) and how an exhaust system for an underground power plant might look (Illustration 7). According to the report, sewage would be piped out of the facility and treated at a nearby plant. There would also be spray ponds, cooling towers, or other air conditioning equipment visible on the surface in the near vicinity of an underground installation, besides air intake shafts or vents, and exhaust pipes for the power plant. Water would be supplied both from outside commercial sources and also from wells sunk near or from within the facility. Large reservoirs would be hollowed out underground to provide operational water reserves for emergencies. The facilities discussed in the report would also contain kitchens, snack bars, cold storage areas, dispensaries or first aid rooms, medical facilities, personnel lounges, barracks, auditoriums and conference rooms. 13 

Readers should keep in mind that these facilities could be almost anywhere and could be quite large. According to the report, they could be constructed inside "hills or plateaus" with concealed shaft entrances (my italics). There need not necessarily be any conspicuous hoist house for a vertical shaft since the "principal parts of a hoist plant may ... be contained underground." Tunnels could be as large as 50 ft. by 50 ft. in diameter and chambers as much as 100 ft. high. In some installations "truck or rail traffic might be important." In such cases provision would have to be made for "narrow-gauge rail transportation" or "single-lane highway tunnels," or perhaps even for "two-track railroad or two-lane highway tunnels" as much as "31 ft. wide by 22 ft. high." And it is possible that quite large entrances to underground facilities could open directly off of major canals, lakes, rivers, bays and even the open sea, since the report says that " installation might require entrances for barges or ships." The manual goes on to say that, "Landscape scars, roads, and portal structures (entrances) should be as inconspicuous as possible. Camouflage should be considered." Actual underground layout of the chambers in the installation might be in a parallel configuration with connecting shafts and tunnels as necessary or desired for utilities, ventilation, passageways, etc.; or there might be either "radial chambers connected at center, ends, and at regular intervals to form a spider-web pattern," or "chambers in concentric circles or tangents with radial connections," after the manner of the Pentagon.14 

Certainly, this series of official Army documents, which explicitly discusses constructing large underground installations, some set inside of hills and plateaus with concealed shafts and portals, and underground hoisting plants and water wells, perhaps with entrances for barges and ships, and maybe even with tunnels that can accomodate two lanes of truck traffic or two-track railways, ought to give considerable pause to reflect. At the very minimum, they mean that at least as early as the late 1950s the Army was training its engineers to design such facilities. In fact, it seems very likely that the Army has built underground facilities similar to the ones described in the five-report series. It also seems very possible that they may be camouflaged or concealed, and for that reason, hard to detect. 

In a three-volume report issued in June and July of 1964 and entitled Feasibility of Constructing Large Underground Cavities, the Army Corps of Engineers sets out 12 sites across the country (See Illustration 8) where it calculated 600 ft. diameter cavities could be excavated, up to 4,000 ft. underground. The ostensible reason for constructing these huge underground caverns was to have been for conducting underground nuclear tests. The idea was to "decouple" the blast by situating the explosion in a huge, deeply buried cavity. In that way, seismic energy produced by a nuclear explosion could be muffled, rendering detection (presumably by the Russians) problematic. Let me emphasize that I do not know whether any of these twelve, huge, very deeply buried cavities were ever excavated. And if they were excavated, I do not know if they were used for nuclear testing or for something else. 

If actual nuclear tests were carried out in large cavities, deep underground, which had the effect of greatly attenuating the explosion, making detection by the Russians difficult, then it is possible that detection was difficult for others as well. Conceivably, these others could have been local American citizens who may have merely heard what they thought was a muffled sonic boom, or felt what they perceived as an unexplained, perhaps unquestioned, short-lived rumbling underfoot. But that is speculation. Maybe the cavities were never excavated. Or perhaps they were excavated, but used for another purpose unrelated to nuclear testing. 

In any event, Volume I begins by observing that if the surrounding rock is structurally sound "... construction of a spheroidal cavity at least 200 ft. and possibly as much as 600 ft. in diameter and located 3000 to 4000 ft. below the ground surface presents no unsolvable construction problems." It further concludes that, "... a number of sites are available within the continental United States in which large cavities up to the maximum size considered in this report can be constructed." The authors state that a 200 ft. cavity would require two years and $8.5 million dollars to construct. The relevant time and money for a 600 ft. cavity were calculated at 3 1/2 years and $26.7 million. And all at 3000 to 4000 ft. underground. At the time this report was issued, all of the sites in the western part of the country were on federally owned land, some of them on or near military reservations. Most of the sites were also in regions of low population density.15 

Interestingly, the first report estimates that construction of a 600 ft. diameter cavity would create about 4.2 million cubic yards of rock, not including the muck (excavated rock and soil) from the construction of the access tunnel.16 The third report in the series estimates that construction of a 600 ft. diameter cavity and access tunnels would create about 7.0 million cubic yards of muck which could be disposed of in an 80 acre dump area (my italics).17 Both reports allude to concealing, camouflaging or blending the muck dumps into the terrain, so that construction of the tunnel and cavity would be harder to detect. 

Volume I goes into lengthy geological discussions of the various sites. Interested readers should consult the document directly for more detail than can be provided here. I will simply list the 12 sites, giving directions to the planned locations of the underground facilities that are as precise as possible. 

SITE 1- YUMA COUNTY, ARIZONA. Access via vertical or inclined shaft. The site is located either in the Gila, Copper or Cabeza Prieta Mountains, or conceivably in all three ranges. Yuma, Arizona lies 40 miles northwest of the central Gila Mts. Ajo is about 25 miles east of the boundary of the general area in question. U.S. Highway 80 and the Southern Pacific Railroad cross the northern part of the area. When the report was issued parts of the area were controlled, respectively, by the Yuma U.S. Marine Corps Air Station, the U.S. Air Force Gila Auxiliary Air Force Base and a wildlife refuge. 

SITE 2- MOHAVE COUNTY, ARIZONA. Access via vertical shaft. The location is in the east-central Hualapai Mountains (Gila and Salt River Base Line and Meridian). The site is reached by a secondary road that heads south along the base of the range from Arizona Highway 93. Kingman is about 30 miles northwest. 

SITE 3- INYO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA. Access via inclined shaft. The five potential sites are located in the Argus Mountains and near the town of Darwin. The report says the two most important locations, from the standpoint of geological conditions that are favorable for constructing a large, underground cavity, are sites D and E. Site D is 4 miles due west of Darwin; Site E is several miles northwest of Trona, directly under Argus Peak. This is a few miles inside the boundary of the China Lake Naval Weapons Center. 

SITE 4- MESA AND MONTROSE COUNTIES, COLORADO. Access via vertical shaft. The areas lie in the Sinbad and Paradox Valleys; two sites, one approximately 30 miles east, and the other about 40 miles southeast, of Moab, Utah. The site in Paradox Valley can be reached from Nucla, Colorado by State Route 90; the one in Sinbad Valley can be reached by State Route 141, out of Grand Junction, Colorado, and an unimproved road along Salt Creek Canyon. 

SITE 5- PERSHING COUNTY, NEVADA. Access via vertical or inclined shaft. The site is located in a U.S. Naval Gunnery Range in the Shawave and Nightingale Mountain Ranges. To reach the area take unimproved roads from State Highway 34. Lovelock, Nevada is 30 miles to the east and Fernley, Nevada is south 35 miles. 

SITE 6- MESA COUNTY, COLORADO. Access via vertical, inclined or horizontal shafts or tunnels. The location is in Unaweep Canyon, approximately 30 miles southwest of Grand Junction, Colorado. State Highway 141 runs through the area. (See Illustration 9) 

SITE 7- EMERY COUNTY, UTAH. Access by vertical shaft. The area is called Horse Bench and is 10 miles south of U.S. 50, and just to the southeast of State Highway 24. Green River, Utah, is about 10 miles to the northeast. 

SITE 8- WINKLER AND NORTHERN WARD COUNTIES, TEXAS. Access by vertical shaft. Located near the small towns of Kermit and Wink, Texas. 50 miles west of Odessa, access is by U.S. Highway 80. 

SITE 9- MOHAVE COUNTY, ARIZONA. Access by vertical or inclined shaft. Site is on the western edge of the Grand Wash Cliffs, at head of Grapevine Wash. The location is northwest of Kingman, accessible by secondary roads from U.S. Highway 93. 

SITE 10- FRANKLIN COUNTY, ALABAMA. Access by vertical shaft. The site is about 10 miles southwest from Russelville, near the small community of Gravel Hill. U.S. Highway 5 is about 5 miles to the east. 

SITE 11- KANSAS AND NEBRASKA GRANITIC BASEMENT AREAS. Access by vertical shaft. No specific site was chosen, as the region has many useful sites where the geology is favorable for deep underground construction. Red Willow County, Nebraska was chosen as an example. 

SITE 12- OGLETHORPE AND PARTS OF GREENE, WILKES AND ELBERT COUNTIES, GEORGIA. Access by vertical shaft. One proposed site is near the community of Stephens, one mile due east of Highway 77 and the Georgia Railroad. There are a number of other potential sites for deep excavation in these counties in northeastern Georgia in a general area that lies about 20-30 miles from Athens.18 

Any of these 12 potential sites would be fertile ground for research and investigation, even now. I would like to hear from readers who may have information about underground facilities at these locations. 

Volume III of Feasibility of Constructing Large Underground Cavities is devoted to an analysis of the cost and constructability of a large cavity 4,000 feet underground, under Argus Peak, or the Southeast Peak, both located several miles to the northwest of Trona, California, within the boundary of the present-day China Lake Naval Weapons Center. 

A variety of schemes for access were considered, including vertical and inclined shafts, and long horizontal tunnels, as much as three or four miles in length (See Illustration 10 for the vertical access scheme). The actual facility was planned to be hollowed out from top to bottom, with a spiraling perimeter tunnel and a large central shaft (Illustration 11). Method of excavation was to be by conventional hard rock mining techniques, using truck mounted mining drills, high explosives, front end loaders, caterpillar tractors, dumptors, etc. Muck (excavated rock) would be removed from underground by either conveyor belts, trolley trucks, mining rail cars, hoists or a combination of rail cars and hoists. Two tunnel sizes for access were considered: (a) 13 ft. in width by 15.5 ft. in height; and (b) 23 ft. wide by 19 ft. high.19 

I would reemphasize at this juncture that I do not know whether or not any of the cavities discussed in this Army Corps of Engineers document, including the one near Trona, California, were ever excavated. Clearly, a great deal of care and time was invested in this planning study; whether that care and planning translated into actual construction I do not know. I would note, however, that the projected Trona, California site lies just inside the boundary of the China Lake Naval Weapons Center, which has long been rumored to be the site of a massive underground installation. While I cannot speak to the truth of the rumor, I nevertheless find it suggestive that in 1964 the Army Corps of Engineers published a document that sets out in some detail a plan to construct a large, deep underground cavity at that location. 

I know from direct experience that at least one U.S. Army facility does exist. 

The U.S. Army operates a facility in the northern Virginia town of Warrenton. A reported underground bunker known as the U.S. Army Warrenton Training Center, this very secretive installation is supposedly a Federal Relocation Center for an unknown agency.20 In fact, when I visited the area in the summer of 1992 I decided that there may possibly be two such sites. There are two U.S. Army facilities there, one on Rt. 802 and the other on Bear Wallow Road, on Viewtree Mountain. One facility is "Station A" and the other is "Station B". Both have signs out front saying "Warrenton Training Center." 

When asked about local, underground installations, the person who gave directions to these facilities said that Station B is believed to be a computing and communications facility (this may well be true, judging by the large antennae towering overhead and the AT&T microwave facility located in a field to the rear). He then added, "but no one knows what goes on at Station A." Unfortunately, if the actions of the guard on duty at Station A when I visited are any indication the Army does not want anyone to find out, either. 

As I attempted to snap a photo of the gate area from my car the guard sprang into action and bounded toward me waving his arms and angrily shouting, "No!" 

Somewhat taken aback at his reaction, which seemed out of all proportion to an innocent snapshot of a government facility, I asked him, "Why not? I'm on a public right-of-way." 

He replied even more forcefully, "Because I said so!" As he spoke those words, three other security personnel standing just inside the gate began to move toward me. Suddenly feeling very much as if I had abruptly been stripped of citizenship in a democratic republic and had crossed over unaware into some grim netherworld ruled by military decree I gave up trying to take a picture and drove away. 

Peering through the fence at the back of the installation I did notice that at Station A there are massively thick power cables that descend utility poles from large electrical transformers and disappear underground. 

Navy Plans 

If the Air Force and Army are going underground, can the Navy be far behind? 

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command issued a report in 1972 that discussed placing several sorts of Navy installations underground.21 The stated reasons for planning for subsurface naval installations revolved around concerns such as cost efficiency, environmental impact of new construction and the severe land pressures facing many Navy bases, which are hemmed in by surrounding cities and towns. The five sorts of facilities the report's authors recommended for underground construction were: 

1) administration buildings 

2) medical facilities 

3) aircraft maintenance facilities 

4) ammunition storage facilities 

5) miscellaneous storage facilities 

Interestingly, while the report is devoted to a discussion of the merits for the Navy of underground installations, there is also a brief, passing mention made of possible needs for "undersea ports" and emplacements that would service a future, submarine Navy. To be sure, I have heard stories and read rumors of undersea Navy ports at various places along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States, as well as in the Great Lakes region. Have they been built? Does this 1972 document hint at what is now a military reality? If you know, please send me the relevant information. 

The schematic illustration of the underground weapons storage area is interesting (Illustration 12). Notice that there can be more than one level, and that the complex may extend down several hundreds of feet. Presumably,  the network of shafts and tunnels could also be adapted for other uses besides weapons storage. I consider it entirely possible that these sorts of facilities have been built by the Navy. 

But the Navy isn't just interested in underground bomb 'n' submarine parking garages. They're also interested in your telephone calls. 

The U.S. Navy runs a secret electronics facility near the isolated mountain community of Sugar Grove, West Virginia, on the Virgina-West Virginia line. The purpose of the installation, which works out of a two-story underground operations center, is to spy on microwave communications traffic for the National Security Agency (NSA). This illegal and unconstitutional activity is a serious military violation of civil liberties as set forth in the Bill of Rights.22 

But if the government doesn't very much care about your rights to privacy, it certainly cares a lot about its own right to secrecy. 

Especially when it comes to fighting war. 

In particular, the big one. 



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