I used to be a nuclear missile operator. There have been extra near-misses than the world is aware of

UK Guardian: From 2012 to 2017, I labored as a US air drive nuclear missile…

UK Guardian: From 2012 to 2017, I labored as a US air drive nuclear missile operator. I used to be 22 once I began. Every time I descended into the missile silo, I needed to be able to launch, at a second’s discover, a nuclear weapon that would wipe a metropolis the scale of New York off the face of the earth.

On the large blast door of the launch management heart, somebody had painted a mural of a Domino’s pizza emblem with the macabre caption, “World-wide supply in half-hour or much less or your subsequent one is free.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, I’ve heard extra discussions of nuclear conflict than I did in the whole 9 years that I wore an air drive uniform. I’m glad that individuals are lastly discussing the existential risks of nuclear weapons. There have been extra near-misses than the world is aware of.

Greg Devlin was an airman assigned to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) group in Arkansas in 1980. One evening he responded to a leak within the missile’s gas tank. A younger airman working in an ICBM launch tube had by chance dropped a socket from his toolkit; the socket fell down the silo, ricocheted, and pierced a gap within the stage-one gas tank. The missile’s liquid gas exploded. Devlin was thrown 60ft down an asphalt street and watched as a large fireball rose overhead.

The ICBM had a nine-megaton warhead – essentially the most highly effective single nuclear weapon in American historical past – on high. When the missile exploded, the warhead was thrown into the woods, disappearing into the evening.  Learn extra…

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