Ready Alert Facility Restoration Ground-Breaking Event

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. - The National Cold War Center broke ground today on an extensive restoration and structural stabilization of the Ready Alert Compound on the grounds of the former Blytheville Air Force Base. The groundbreaking marks the beginning of the second phase in the National Cold War Center’s development plan.

Visitors will soon be able to experience the Cold War from the perspective of the brave men and women who stood ready to defend the United States from an imminent Russian threat for much of the 20th century.

“Once complete, the historic Ready Alert Compound building will give visitors the opportunity to experience the realities of military life during the unique rivalry of world superpowers we know as the Cold War,” said Mary Gay Shipley, chair of the National Cold War Center’s Board of Directors. “This exhibit will serve as the heart of the National Cold War Center and will share the story of this unique international conflict, highlighting true historical events through the lens of real human experiences.”

The Blytheville Air Force Base, originally known as the Blytheville Army Airfield, opened in 1942 as a training facility for World War II pilots. In 1958, the base was converted to a Strategic Air Command alert mission and remained a key U.S. military command for three decades – through events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the signing of the treaties that officially ended the Cold War in the early 1990s.