When troops of the U.S. 11th Infantry arrived at their new post, Fort D.A. Russell, near Cheyenne, Wyo., in 1904, they brought with them two church bells—war trophies of recent bitter fighting in the Philippines. The Bells of Balangiga still stand at F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
Union Pacific locomotives still rumble through Cheyenne, as they first did 150 years ago. But after the railroad arrived in November 1867, skeptics questioned whether the town would last, as so many other end-of-tracks communities had died once the graders and tracklayers moved on.
The history of nuclear weapons in Wyoming is intimately connected to the F. E. Warren Air Force Base, which in turn is tied to the global development of rocketry and nuclear might. If Wyoming were a nation, Warren AFB in Cheyenne would make it one of the world’s major nuclear powers. Its history with nuclear weapons in Wyoming is tied closely to the worldwide tensions of the Cold War, and with the development of missile-based nuclear weapons systems.