I saw the ascent of the TACSAT-2 launch vehicle from our back deck in Havre de Grace, MD. This mission was launched at 7 AM EST on 16 December, 2006 from the Wallops Island spaceport in Virginia. I watched it through my birding telescope, and I could see the rocket exhaust clearly, along with the puffs and smoke rings that appeared during staging. During a coast period between stages I could make out a shiny, cylindrical object- the rocket itself.
TACSAT-2 is an experimental Air Force satellite demonstrating several new technologies as well as the ability to launch a payload within 6 months of contract award. The launch vehicle was a Minotaur 1, which has Minuteman ICBM first and second stages and Pegasus XL third and fourth stages.