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This Heroic Captain Defied His Orders and Stopped America From Starting World War III
Captain William Bassett, a USAF officer stationed at Okinawa on October 28, 1962, can now be added alongside Stanislav Petrov to the list of people who have saved the world from WWIII:

By [John] Bordne’s account, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Air Force crews on Okinawa were ordered to launch 32 missiles, each carrying a large nuclear warhead. [...]

The Captain told Missile Operations Center over the phone that he either needed to hear that the threat level had been raised to DEFCON 1 and that he should fire the nukes, or that he should stand down. We don’t know exactly what the Missile Operations Center told Captain Bassett, but they finally received confirmation that they should not launch their nukes.

After the crisis had passed Bassett reportedly told his men: “None of us will discuss anything that happened here tonight, and I mean anything. No discussions at the barracks, in a bar, or even here at the launch site. You do not even write home about this. Am I making myself perfectly clear on this subject?”
wwiii  history  nukes  cuban-missile-crisis  1960s  usaf  okinawa  missiles  william-bassett 
4 weeks ago by jm
The Nuclear Missile Sites of Los Angeles
Great article by Geoff "bldgblog" Manaugh on the ruins of the Nike air-to-air missile emplacements dotted around California. I had absolutely no idea that these -- the 1958-era Nike-Hercules missiles, at least -- carried 30-kiloton nuclear warheads, intended to be detonated at 50,000 feet *above* the cities they were defending, in order to destroy in-flight bomber formations. Nuclear war was truly bananas.
war  history  la  sf  california  nike-missiles  missiles  nuclear-war  nike-hercules  cold-war  1950s 
february 2016 by jm

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