Vice President George Bush observed the first Pershing 1A elimination on September 8, 1988 at the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant in Marshall, Texas.

Crushing of Pershing 1A rocket motor casing.
  U.S. missile eliminations began at the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant in Marshall, Texas, on September 8, 1988.6 Both nations had agreed that the initial missile eliminations could be witnessed by senior government officials, the public, and television and print media, provided the INF on-site inspectors were not interfered with in any way. A team of Soviet inspectors, with their American escorts, went to Texas the first week in September. The first American INF missile elimination attracted an audience of several hundred. On the morning of September 8, the Vice President of the United States, the Director of OSIA, other senior officials, and almost one hundred print and television journalists watched as a 12-man Soviet inspection team arrived at the Army Ammunition Plant destruction area and conducted their preliminary inspection of two Pershing IA missile stages. As the missile stages were bolted into the static test stands, the inspection team monitored the preparations leading to the rocket motor firing. Vice President George Bush, General Roland Lajoie, Colonel Nikolai Shabalin (the senior Soviet inspector at the site), and the journalists watched as the missile rocket motors were ignited in a roar of smoke and fire. Following the missiles' destruction, Vice President Bush spoke briefly, stating that, "This is the day we began to reverse the arms race."7 In his comments, Colonel Shabalin explained the Soviet Union's motives for entering into the INF Treaty and concluded, "The world is by no means doomed to the nuclear arms race."8


Throughout September and into the fall of 1988, the United States continued eliminating Pershing IA missile stages in Texas. In October, eliminations of GLCM missiles, launch canisters, and launchers began at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.9 Also in October, eliminations of Pershing II launchers got underway at Hausen, West Germany.10 In December, eliminations started at the Pueblo Depot Activity in Colorado.11 All U.S. eliminations were witnessed by Soviet on-site inspection teams.

According to the treaty, all shorter-range INF missiles had to be eliminated within the first 18 months. For the United States, every Pershing IA missile, training missile stage, and launcher had to be destroyed by November 30, 1989. On July 6, 1989, five months ahead of schedule, the last of the 169 Pershing IA missiles was eliminated at Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant in Texas. Edward J. Lacey, principal deputy director of OSIA, and General Major Vladimir I. Medvedev, director of the Soviet Nuclear Risk Reduction Center and senior on-site inspector for this elimination, observed the destruction of the last American Pershing IA missile.12

The next major elimination point for the United States came three years after the INF Treaty entered into force. By June 1, 1991, the United States had to eliminate all of its intermediate-range Pershing II and GLCM missiles. The pace, but not the progress, of eliminating these intermediate-range INF missiles varied because of operational and treaty considerations. Both the Pershing II and the GLCMs had been deployed in Western Europe in U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force combat units. The INF Treaty stipulated that when either party removed its intermediate-range missiles, launchers, and support equipment, it had to do so in "deployed operational units." For the United States, this meant that Pershing II batteries and GLCM flights had to be taken off operational status as a unit, prepared for transportation, and sent to the elimination sites. According to the treaty, all transits of missiles and associated equipment had to be completed within 25 days.

GLCM elimination.

Soviet inspector Viktor Bozhenkov examines a GLCM missile at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.


Soviet inspector reading weighing scales prior to Pershing II elimination at Longhorn, Texas.
  As a consequence of these operational and treaty considerations, the U.S. elimination schedule for intermediate-range missiles saw bursts of activity, followed by periods of inactivity and preparations for the next series of eliminations. The United States eliminated the following INF missiles during the first three treaty years.

U.S. INF Missile Eliminations13

  MOU Totals 1988-1989 Eliminated 1989-1990 Eliminated (cumulative) 1990-1991 Eliminated (cumulative)
Intermediate-range INF Missiles        
Pershing II 234 34 106 234
BGM-109 GLCM 443 130 220 443
Shorter-range INF Missiles        
Pershing 1A 169 169    

During the third treaty year, 1990-91, the United States conducted eliminations at each of the four sites: Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant in Texas, Pueblo Depot Activity in Colorado, Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona, and the U.S. Army Equipment Maintenance Center at Hausen, West Germany. At each elimination, OSIA escort teams remained with the Soviet on-site inspectors throughout the entire scheduled elimination. Usually, the escort teams consisted of 10 or more people, all of whom were knowledgeable about the treaty and its protocols. Their responsibilities included treaty clarification, direct communications with the Soviet inspection team, and logistics associated with housing, feeding, and transporting the Soviet inspectors.

By the end of the third treaty year, all of the U.S. and Soviet INF missile systems had to be eliminated. The final round of American eliminations began in Europe in mid-April 1991. By that time, the United States had eliminated 95.5 percent of its INF missiles and 95.9 percent of its INF treaty-limited items (launchers and support equipment). On April 16, at Hausen, the U.S. Army eliminated the final Pershing II launcher as a Soviet inspection team led by Colonel V.V. Yevdokimov monitored the destruction. Colonel Fred F. Grosick, USAF, led the American escort team. Dr. Joerg H. Menzel, the new principal deputy director of OSIA, served as a team member and was the senior U.S. government official at this final Pershing II launcher elimination in Europe.

Two weeks later, on May 1, 1991, the United States destroyed the last of its 443 U.S. Air Force ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. Colonel Anatoly Y. Samarin led the Soviet inspection team and Lt. Colonel Stephen B. Boyd, USAF, was the senior American escort. Because it was the final GLCM elimination, the final ceremony became a time of reflection.


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