The President or the next in line of succession, would take his place in an area there known as the White House. But until then, a FEMA official is performing the function as Mount Weather is now performing the duties of a back-up United States Government.
“High-level government sources, speaking under the promise of strict anonymity, told me that each of the federal departments (Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and the Treasury) represented at Mount Weather is headed by a single person on whom is conferred the rank of a Cabinet-level official.Protocol even demands that subordinates address them as ‘Mr. Secretary.’
Each of the Mount Weather ‘Cabinet members’ is apparently appointed by the White House and serves an indefinite term. Many of the ‘Secretaries’ have held their positions through several administrations.”
There are also parallel versions of the Selective Service, the Veteran’s Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the Post Office, the Civil Service Commission, the Federal Power Commission, and the Federal Reserve.
The Government Underground
One of the first publicly revealed underground facilities was the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center. Construction began in May, 1961, and was completed December, 1965. The main tunnel is a third of a mile long and leads to a pair of 25-ton blast doors which are 50 feet apart. Beyond the second door is an underground complex consisting of a 4-1/2 acre area of chambers and tunnels nearly a mile long.
The main chamber consists of three areas 45 feet wide, 60 feet high, and 588 feet long, which are intersected by four chambers 32 feet wide, 56 feet high, and 335 feet long. Within the inner complex, there are fifteen free-standing buildings- a one story, a two story, and 11 three-story buildings.
Although the primary source of electricity is the city of Colorado Springs (a back-up power source comes from six 1,750 kilowatt, 2,800 horse-powered diesel generators), it is essentially a self-contained complex in that all the support services necessary to maintain the operation is contained within, such as a dining facility, medical and dental facility, pharmacy, two physical fitness centers, a base exchange, chapel, and a barbershop.
Water is stored in four excavated reservoirs (three are for industrial purposes, and the other is the complex’s primary domestic water source) which have the potential to store 1.5 million gallons of water.
This underground complex contains facilities for Air Warning (providing aerospace warning and control for North America), Missile Warning Center (for attacks against the United States or U.S. forces overseas), and Space Control Center (to detect, track, identify and catalog all man-made objects orbiting the earth).
During the Cold War, many Federal Relocation Centers were built for the purpose of the “Continuity of Government,” to maintain essential government services and emergency functions during any event which affects national security.
It had been reported that there was a system of 96 facilities established around Washington, D.C., in what is called the Federal Arc, which are earmarked for critical governmental personnel from specific agencies, and are located in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
After 9-11 it was revealed in an ABC television special with Peter Jennings, that there are 19 emergency operating facilities for sheltering federal government officials within 300 miles of Washington. The administrative nerve center for the whole system is Mount Weather.
On December 1, 1974, a T.W.A. Boeing 727 jet crashed into a foggy mountain in northern Virginia, killing all 92 people onboard, after that, it was discovered that there was a secret government compound nearby called Mount Weather.
Mount Weather (Western Virginia Office of Controlled Conflict Operations) is an 561 acre installation located about 48 miles (by air, and 54 via the roads) west of Washington, and 1,725 feet above sea level, near the town of Bluemont (5 miles northeast), Virginia. As you drive on route 7, west of Leesburg, you’ll turn left on Route 601 just west of Bluemont, and that will lead you right to the gates (actual address is 19844 Blue Ridge Mountain Road).
In case of an all-encompassing national emergency, a hand-picked list of civilian and military leaders will be taken to this huge underground shelter in order to form the nucleus of a postwar government. It is run under the auspices of FEMA who refer to it as the “special facility,” but it is officially called the “Continuity of Government Program.”
Mount Weather has been owned by the federal government since 1902, when the 94 acre site was purchased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. President Coolidge even talked about building a summer White House there. During World War I it was used as an artillery range, and then during the Depression it was used as a work farm for homeless people.
The Bureau of Mines began using the site for experiments in 1936. Initiated by the Federal Civil Defense Administration (later known as the Federal Preparedness Agency), construction began in 1954, and was completed on 1959. Eisenhower told the director of Mt. Weather (code-named “High Point”): “I expect your people to save our government.”
It was reported that Millard F. Caldwell, former governor of Florida, suggested that it be used as an alternate capital, because it was believed that the fallout shelter beneath the East Wing of the White House (known as the President’s Emergency Operation Center) did not offer sufficient protection from a nuclear attack against Washington.
The plan is for the President, and key administration officials to be flown out of Washington on Air Force One, which, at an altitude of 45,000 feet, is said to be safer that any area on the ground, can be refueled in the air, and stay airborne for up to three days when the engine will fail because of lack of oil. They will be taken to Mount Weather.
It is named for the weather station that was formerly maintained on the mountain by the Department of Agriculture. The facility was constructed inside a mountain made of greenstone and striated granite, the 4th hardest rock known to man; the entrance is sealed with a door, similar to that of a bank vault, only much larger; and it is guarded around the clock.
There are also about 65 primary buildings on the surface that is part of this complex. There are 403 people there to take care of the needs of the 1,000 to 2,500 that work there everyday, around the clock.
Richard Pollack, a reporter for Progressive Magazine, in the mid-1970’s, interviewed a number of people who had been inside the man-made cavern, and revealed that it is an underground city with roads, sidewalks, office buildings, cafeterias, dormitories, medical facilities, a television station, law enforcement unit, fire department, and a battery-powered subway.
It is illuminated with fluorescent lighting. It has a spring-fed artificial lake (large enough for water skiing), its own waterworks, a power plant, and one of the most sophisticated computer systems in the world. It even has a chamber for members of Congress to meet. It can support a population of 200 for up to 30 days, although it can accommodate up to 2,000 people. Only the President, his Cabinet, and the Supreme Court would have private sleeping quarters.
At Raven Rock Mountain, at the 4,667 acre Raven Rock State Park in Franklin County (near Fountain Dale), on Blue Ridge Summit, is an Alternate Joint Communications Center (AJCC) simply known as ‘Site R’ (for Raven Rock) or ‘The Rock,’ which is just over the state line near Waynesboro, PA.
It is about 6 miles north of the Presidential retreat of Camp David in Catoctin Mountains near Thurmont (MD), and it is believed by some to be connected with it via a tunnel. In 1950, President Truman approved the 716 acres as part of Camp Albert C. Ritchie in Maryland. Construction began in 1950, and it became operational in 1953. It came under the auspices of Fort Detrick (MD) when Fort Ritchie closed in September, 1998, as part of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Act.
Because of its ‘back-up’ status, it is known as the ‘underground Pentagon.’ It is actually a duplicate of the Pentagon’s Command and Control Center, and was used by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz during the September 11th terrorist attacks. It provides computer services, functions as a disaster recovery site, and oversees over 38 communications systems.
The 260,000 square foot facility lies 650 feet beneath the 1,529 foot summit, and can be accessed by 4 tunnels, which is secured by a chain link fence.
There are five buildings within the complex- with at least three of them being 3-story structures. Inside this massive bunker, which can accommodate 3000 people, there is an underground reservoir containing millions of gallons of water, fluorescent lighting, medical/dental facilities, dining facilities, a fitness center, a convenience store (Post exchange), a barber shop, a chapel, 35 miles of phone lines, and six 1,000-watt generators.
In 2002, in a Department of Defense briefing, in response to a question as to why $74 billion needed to be allocated for upgrades to the facility for power, cooling, and staff accommodation, it was revealed that “… it fits into the overall continuity of government plans.”
According to the 1994 U.S. Army Military Police publication Physical Security of the Alternate Joint Communications Center they reference a location known as ‘Site Creed’ which is the “limited area on the west side of the AJCC with an underground building complex.” Highly secured, most personnel at ‘Site R’ did not even know it existed. It is a Presidential Emergency Facility (PEF) that is code-named the “Lucy and Desi Suite.”
Code-named “Project Greek Island,” (and sometimes “Casper”) only a half-dozen members of Congress, at any one time, knew of its existence. On Sunday, May 31, 1992, an article by Ted Gup, a Washington correspondent for Time magazine, appeared in the Washington Post (pg. W-11), which revealed that this secret 112,000 square foot facility was located under and beside the Greenbrier Resort Hotel, which is located on 6,500 acres in the Allegheny Mountains in White Sulpher Springs in West Virginia. About 250 miles from Washington D.C., it is an hour away by plane.
The luxury hotel actually looks like the White House. In the winter of 1941-42, it served as an internment area for Japanese, Italian, and German diplomats. In 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson held a meeting there with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy for a “top-secret discussion of postwar military strategy.” In 1956, Eisenhower had an international meeting there with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.
In 1960, when they began work on their new West Virginia Wing (which contains a complete medical clinic), the Greenbrier website indicates that the “top secret relocation center for the U.S. Congress” was constructed underneath. It was completed 2-1/2 years later. Supposedly deactivated, there are actually public tours of the “former government relocation facility” now.
Its purpose was to house the Congress in the event of a nuclear attack. It has an area for the Senate, House, and a large hall for joint sessions. According to former House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, who received an annual briefing about the site, spouses would not be allowed in during a nuclear event.
The relocation center’s largest room is actually part of the Wing’s design. It is 89 by 186 feet, and has a 20 foot high ceiling supported by 18 huge columns. It is now called the Exhibition Hall, and is used for conference events. It has a vehicular, as well as pedestrian entrance, both of which can be sealed off quickly by blast doors hidden behind a false wall. To hotel guests, it appears only to be a very large room. However, its purpose is for joint sessions of Congress.
Behind the hall is a 470-seat auditorium for the House of Representative and a 130-seat auditorium for the Senate. Not too far from these areas is a large white door leading to a corridor about 20 yards long, which culminates with a locked door, and a sign that says: “Danger: High Voltage Keep Out.”
Beyond that is an underground installation having 2 foot thick concrete walls reinforced with steel, and a concrete roof under 20 feet of dirt; and contains an infirmary with an operating table, hundreds of metal bunk beds, a shower room, numerous offices, a television studio, radio and communications room, dining room, an internal power plant (with two 2-story high diesel generators); and a “pathological waste incinerator,” or cremation oven, which would be used to dispose of bodies, because once the doors are sealed, they can not be opened again until the crisis has passed. A tunnel for vehicles was constructed through the hill to a secret location at the rear of the property which easily accesses Route 60 and a railroad.
The facility was connected, via an underground cable, to a microwave communications outpost at nearby Kates Mountain Road, in the Greenbrier State Forest.
Though this facility is said to be decommissioned, my feeling is that the Government didn’t spend millions of dollars on such a facility for it not to be used.
Mount Pony, east of Culpeper, Virginia, near the intersection of Routes 658 and 3, about 70 miles southwest of Washington, is a 20-1/2 acre site, which contains a 140,000 square foot underground facility with a 400 foot long bunker built of steel reinforced concrete a foot thick and covered with 2 to 4 feet of dirt. It was built in 1969 as a “Continuity of Government” facility and operated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, where 7 computers became the central point for all American electronic fund transfers. It is self-sustaining, with its own wells, power system, electrical generator, indoor pistol range, incinerator, maintenance shops, cafeteria and storage for water and fuel. It was able to house 540 people for 30 days.
Until 1988, it stored several billion dollars of currency that would be used “to replenish currency supplies east of the Mississippi,” and reactivate the economy after a nuclear attack, including a large quantity of $2 bills, in its 23,500 square foot vault with ceilings over 11 feet high, which were shrink-wrapped and stacked on pallets 9 feet high.
It was decommissioned in July, 1992, and in 1997, Congress approved its transfer to the Library of Congress who is using use the installation to protect its collection of 150,000 movies and recordings.
Warrenton Training Center
The Warrenton Training Center (WTC) was initially established in June, 1951, and is believed to contain an underground relocation center for an unknown Federal Agency. According to a report on the Environmental Protection Agency website, the WTC is identified as a “closed and classified communications training and support facility of the National Communications System.” The NCS was established in 1963 by President Kennedy to coordinate intra-government communications between 23 Federal Agencies (including U.S. Information Agency and Postal Service), as well as the State Department and CIA.
In June, 1973 it was transferred to the Department of the Army, and redesignated as the U.S. Army Training Group and U.S. Army Security Agency. In September, 1982, it was placed under the auspices of the Defense Department.
The WTC encompasses four sites all secured by a chain link fence. There are 2 underground facilities (Site A and B), on Vinetree Mountain, which some say are connected by a tunnel, because they are only a couple of miles apart.
Site A is at the intersection of Routes 802 and 744, southwest of Warrenton, Virginia. It seems to be the only place where training actually occurs, and contains several small buildings in a heavily wooded area.
Site B is on top of the mountain at Bear Wallow Road on Route 690, and is about 2 miles northwest of Warrenton. Located on 346 acres, this is the official headquarters for the WTC. It has many multi-story buildings, many built in the late 1980’s, and is nearly impossible to see from any publicly accessible areas. Its facilities include 2 microwave towers, a large water tank, the Brushwood Conference center, and a pond. There is testimony attesting to the fact that it contains underground facilities. It is part of a fiber optic system that runs from Site C and D, and connects to other intelligence outposts for Washington like Site E, the microwave station in Tysons Corner, Virginia.Even SWAT Teams are Helpless Against This-102,000 Boxcars With Shackles and Guillotines
These two are code-named “Yogurt” and “Byjams.”
Site C, code-named “Brandy,” because of the nearby town Brandy Station, is a few miles southeast of Remington on Routes 651 and 654, and has a lot of high frequency antennas, including several directional antennas.
These 3 sites are located in Fauquier County.
Site D is located at Routes 669 and 672, just north of State Route 3, in Culpeper County, 10 miles east of Culpeper, Virginia. It also has a lot of antennas, though fewer of them are high frequency. There is more activity here, and the buildings are larger.
Some Other Underground Facilities in the Federal Arc
The Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP, now known as FEMA) built a ‘hardened’ (protected against nuclear attack) underground facility in 1971 at 5231 Riggs Road (Gaithersburg), near junction of Routes 97 and 108, beneath a cow pasture, in Montgomery County, MD, between Olney and Laytonsville. It is entered by a staircase from a small surface building, although there is a horizontal entrance that is used to unload freight.
The Federal Regional Center at the Olney Special Facility had served as the Alternate National Warning Center (contained a National Civil Defense Computer system) and was one of two centers (the other being at the North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD in Cheyenne Mountain) that would issue a warning in case of a nuclear attack on the United States. It was believed by some to be at least 10 levels deep, however the report of 2 levels seems to be more realistic.
It takes up an area of 65,000 square feet. With the Warning Center supposedly transferred to Thomasville, Georgia, it now serves as a Satellite Teleregistration Facility, along with other Regional Centers.
There was a bunker located under the north lawn of the National Park Service’s Stephen P. Mather Training Center (formerly Storer College) off Fillmore Street in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. It was to be the emergency relocation center (ERC) for the Department of Interior. Containing only pedestrian access, the door is set into a retaining wall adjacent to the driveway. The facility is now used by the NPS Interpretive Design Center.
There is an abandoned bunker, code-named “Cannonball,” on top of Cross Mountain in Franklin County, near the town of Shimpstown, PA (south of Mercersburg), that served as a FEMA V.I.P. Evacuation and Support Center. It is a 103 foot high cylindrical tower, that is 25 foot in diameter, with reinforced concrete walls 15 inches thick.
The tower, accessed through a blast door on its side at ground level, contained microwave communications equipment, and served as a microwave relay station. It is believed to have one underground level, which is now flooded. The site also contains an 8,000 gallon fuel tank.
A similar looking facility, part of the same network of facilities, known as a V.I.P. Evacuation and Support facility (code-named “Corkscrew”), is located at Boonesboro, Maryland, between Middletown and Rohersville, on the spine of South Mountain, called Lambs Knoll.
On Reno Mountain Road, near the monument of the Civil War officer (Reno), there is an unmarked black-topped service road (marked “Private”) that leads to the gate of this installation and around to the back of a silo-like structure, where, a short distance away, is a metal door below ground level.
There are no other visible surface structures, which makes it obvious that its facilities are underground. It is fenced in, not marked with any signs, and has an unmanned electric gate. On the grounds there are a couple of collapsible antenna masts and fire tower, and an AT&T relay tower.
On the USGS map it is referred to as a fire tower and helipad; while local people refer to it as a missile site, missile silo, weather station, radar site or atmospheric test facility. It is not only a microwave relay station; it is also a complete Presidential Emergency Facility (PEF) which contains a 2-level underground circular bunker (it is divided into wedge-shaped rooms like a pie) about 100 feet in diameter.
Another underground FEMA V.I.P. Evacuation and Support Facility has been identified at Hearthstone Mountain, west of Hagerstown, MD. One of 60 (20 are underground ‘hardened’ installations) built around the country, it housed an AUTOVON (Automatic Voice Network) center, terrestrial microwave links and troposcatter radio equipment.
They were typically large, multi-level installations built to withstand a nuclear attack, with walls 1-1/2 feet thick, and shielded with copper to repel electromagnetic pulse. There is a decontamination chamber and internal filtering system, power generators (with fuel storage), bunks, medical supplies, and enough food to accommodate a staff of 30 for about three weeks. This site is said to be abandoned.