Welcome to the wonderful world of military service, where you too can be like these five men and stand directly under an exploding nuclear missile.
On July 19, 1957, five Air Force officers and one photographer stood together on a patch of ground about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. They’d marked the spot “Ground Zero. Population 5″ on a hand-lettered sign hammered into the soft ground right next to them.
As we watch, directly overhead, two F-89 jets roar into view, and one of them shoots off a nuclear missile carrying an atomic warhead.
They wait. There is a countdown; 18,500 feet above them, the missile is detonated and blows up. Which means, these men intentionally stood directly underneath an exploding 2-kiloton nuclear bomb. One of them, at the key moment (he’s wearing sunglasses), looks up. You have to see this to believe it.
Sadly, while I was in the Navy, nuclear weapons weren’t allowed on surface ships, and I served on an air craft carrier. I suppose our sub could have launched something nice for us. Maybe during our Steel Beach picnic, but it was during the Clinton administration and all our extra funds were being directed to sexual harassment training.