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Robert Del Tredici - At Work in the Fields of the Bomb

51. Minuteman II Missileers Lieutenants Lamb and Goetz

Ellsworth Air Force Base, Rapid City, South Dakota. November 21, 1984. These Strategic Air Command missileers work together in a capsule 60 feet underground. Each is provided with a pistol. Missile duty lasts four years, during which silo operators are required to put in two 24-hour shifts per week for 12- 16 weeks a year. On November 21, 1984, the activating launch code for a simulated key-turn exercise was "Lima, Alpha, Uniform, November, Charlie, Hotel, Echo, November, Alpha, Bravo, Lima, Echo, Papa, Lima, Charlie, Alpha, Zero, One. Acknowledge. Out." Lieutenant Goetz explains the procedure for launching a group of missiles: "It takes two launch votes. One is transmitted by two men from this capsule, and another control center does the same thing. So there are quite a few safeguards that we have to go through before we can launch a sortie."

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Text and pictures put online with permission of author.
All text and picture is © Copyright Robert del Tredici.