September 24, 1981
The Ronald Reagan administration announced plans to retire the Titan II Missile program. The Titan II Missile program was a Cold War weapons system featuring fifty-four launch complexes in three states. Eighteen were in Arkansas, from which intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nine-megaton nuclear warheads could be launched to strike targets as far as 5,500 miles away. Two of the most noteworthy disasters that occurred in the Titan II program took place in Arkansas. The first happened on August 9, 1965, when fifty-three civilian workers perished in an accidental fire while they were modifying Launch Complex 373-4. The second occurred on September 19, 1980, when an explosion destroyed the missile at Launch Complex 374-7 near Southside in Van Buren County.