GT Hill grew up in Oregon, served in the Air Force, works in Silicon Valley … and owns a Titan II Missile Silo in Faulkner County, Arkansas. Standing 103 feet tall and weighing a mammoth 330,000 pounds, the now-retired Titan II Missile was the largest Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ever deployed by the U.S. Air Force. The Titan II held 9 megatons of explosive power (three times that of all the bombs used in World War II, including both atomic bombs), and 18 of them were housed in Arkansas alone. So GT did what any red-blooded American man would do with the 4,000-square-foot control center for this nuclear weapon of mass destruction: He moved in.
How did you end up with a missile silo?
I was in my 20s when I read about a guy who owned a missile silo. I thought it was pretty cool. Then when I was getting a haircut in Searcy in 2009, I heard that there were Titan IIs in Arkansas. I started Googling, and I found a site in Arkansas for sale. That started a ridiculous journey—lots of work, pain and money.
What are some of the cooler things about the Titan II silo?
The launch control center is about a thousand square feet per floor, and there are three floors. Those are all hung on springs, so if there’s an earthquake or a nuclear war, it’ll actually shake inside of a shell, and that’s pretty neat. The Titan II is the most hardened site a civilian can buy—hardened meaning how big of a blast it can take. The front door can handle 1,000 psi [pounds per square inch]. A 5- to 7-psi tornado will blow down a normal house.
Now for the million-dollar question: Why a nuclear-missile silo?
I grew up in the middle-of-nowhere Oregon, and my brother and I would dig holes. If you have 20 acres and nothing else but a couple of shovels, it’s fun. It’s what you do. We would make forts and dig holes, and that was a safe place. It felt good to feel the cool earth and be surrounded by the quiet kind of feel cocooned in there. There’s a lot of motivation behind it: It’s cool, it’s awesome, let’s dig a big hole. All that’s really neat, but I think psychologically, I really just wanted something that felt warm and safe. And when I’m down here, I feel warm and safe.
So what’s the status of the silo now?
Originally, I was going to turn it into a livable house. I’m remarried now. She brought three younger kids to our blended family. The silo doesn’t have a bunch of bedrooms. It’s a cool space—it’s got 4,000 square feet, but that many bedrooms would cut up the space weird. So we’ve turned it into a business. We call the place Titan Ranch. We’ve had people fly from literally all over the world to have a class there. Your classroom is 35 feet underground. Your lunch is 50 feet underground in the theater. You can do things topside, like flying drones and shooting skeet. You could have birthday parties here, bachelor parties—I bet someone will even want to get married here.
Do you use the silo, too?
Oh yeah. We live on the property. My son has friends over all the time. There’s a movie theater in there with a big-ass stereo system. When I was a teenager, I just wanted to have my radio and have friends over. Now I’m just a bigger version of that, and the radio is a $25,000 stereo system.
You have a YouTube channel about your adventure called Death Wears Bunny Slippers. What’s the story behind that?
Missileers are airmen who serve in nuclear-missile control centers. No one ever comes to visit you down there. The story is that the airmen would go down and change into pajamas for their 24-hour shifts, including bunny slippers. Well, if the alert ever goes off for them to launch the missiles, they’d basically be killing millions of people while wearing bunny slippers. There’s actually a squadron patch that says Death Wears Bunny Slippers. And that’s pretty much exactly like Titan Ranch—out in the middle of the country, surrounded by cows, a nuclear-missile base in the middle of it all.
For more information, visit titanranch.com, email email@example.com, or call 501-570-6462.