In Nuclear Silos, Death Wears a Snuggie

Fascinating article on what it’s actually like to serve in a nuclear silo. You spend years preparing to be ready for a launch order that never comes.

In four years on nuclear-alert duty, I ran through an infinite number of attack sequences and fought countless virtual nuclear wars. I knew how to target my missiles within minutes and launch them within seconds. The process was rigorous, thorough and fully governed by a checklist that was, to our knowledge, without defect. The room for human error was minimal.

But that training was about as exciting as the job got, a blessing considering the mission. Being a missileer means that your worst enemy is boredom. No battlefield heroism, no medals to be won. The duty is seen today as a dull anachronism.

In Nuclear Silos, Death Wears a Snuggie,” by John Noonan