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The Armageddon That Wasn’t - “American Experience: Command and Control”
In Damascus, Arkansas, on September 18, 1980, a single socket triggered nine hours of terror - and what could have been an explosion 600 times more powerful than Hiroshima.
That night, two airmen were on a routine maintenance mission inside a Titan II Strategic Air Command (SAC) silo missile complex just 46 miles from Little Rock. Perched on top of the missile they were working on was the most powerful nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal. And with a horrible, but all-too-human slip of the hand, one man dropped the socket from a wrench, which plummeted down the silo … bounced … and hit the side of the missile, piercing a fuel tank that began spewing fuel vapor into the silo.