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White Sands Missile Range
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White Sands Missile Range

White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), formerly known as the White Sands Proving Grounds, is located in a valley between the Organ Mountains and the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico.

The White Sands are actually gypsum crystals which have leached out of the surrounding mountains. A distinctive ecology survives in this desert.

The range was sufficiently desolate to house the Trinity site, and become named Jornada del Muerto. After the V-2 rockets of Peenemünde were captured in World War II, the rockets and the rocket scientists were taken to WSMR for reverse engineering. Today, seventy miles to the south, the US Army Air Defense Center, in Fort Bliss, Texas, which has an outdoor museum display of rocket-propelled missiles, and WSMR form a contiguous swath of territory devoted to the art.

The German connection survives as well, in El Paso Deutsch Schule, and Alamogordo Deutsch Schule, to teach the German children of the soldiers who will later return to Germany after their tours of duty in New Mexico and Texas.