1963 ... Fortune Magazine

... article from 'Fortune' magazine about the initial deployment of America's 'Minuteman' missile system. The minuteman used a solid rocket propellant and was much more reliable and ready for immediate launch- as opposed to the previous temperamental liquid fueled ICBMs. Also first to use all integrated-circuits- no vacuum tubes!

The Minuteman III remains the USA's main deterrent missile force with 450 currently deployed.


...much is made of the fact that missile commanders wear side-arms; supposedly to protect against one of them going berserk and trying to launch a missile. A single officer initiating a launch is just not possible.
Since the mid- 50's most Strategic Air Command personnel, including aircraft mechanics, wore firearms while on duty. SAC also had a 'two-man' rule- minus the cloak and dagger. In any operations involving nuclear weapons, from gassing-up bombers to standing watch in an underground command capsule like the one shown above, nobody was ever to be alone or out of sight.

... here's the AV Kid with the super-cool opening to the 1983 movie "War Games'. It is a fairly accurate portrayal of a watch change at missile command bunker. The missiles shown in the movie are Titans not Minutemen.Part of the launch sequence is the simultaneous turning of two keys only once. This starts an automatic countdown.

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