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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Hysterical History  |  Topic: Documentary on the Titan II ICBM Incident in Arkansas
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Author Topic: Documentary on the Titan II ICBM Incident in Arkansas  (Read 1357 times)
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,214

« on: January 13, 2017, 03:04:57 PM »

Saw an excellent documentary, "Command and Control, " about the 1980 Titan II ICBM explosion in Arkansas, which premiered on PBS's "American Experience" this week. It is based on the book by the same name. It includes interviews with the two airmen who dropped the tool that started the incident, crew members sent in to try to stop the leak, up through the officers and the then Secretary of Defense, Harold Brown. 

The producers had full use of the identical Titan II site at the Titan Museum near Tucson, including wearing of uniforms and protective suits. Video shot there was integrated with film from 1980 and other old footage, and it's hard to tell what's recreated and what's real. The Air Force was also cooperative in the production, even though the video contains comments critical of the service.

It's an hour and half long, and  can be seen on PBS, watched online or downloaded free from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/command-and-control/

Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 6,317

« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2017, 03:09:12 PM »

This accident was the death knell for the Titan II as an ICBM.
Super Moderator

Posts: 5,457

« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2017, 07:55:08 PM »

Thanks for the link.  My DVR didn't record the end 'cause POTUS.
Mike Johnston
Forum Regular

Posts: 106
Unit: SWR-LA-001

« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2017, 08:12:01 PM »

I also watched it.   Stumbled across it while channel surfing....    It was a well made piece, and I agree on the realistic reenactment perfectly merged with actual footage.   

Definitely worth the watch!
Seasoned Member

Posts: 200

« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 11:29:46 PM »

Read the Book! Scary stuff if you were around nukes.
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,260

« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 11:51:11 PM »

Very well done doc and what a Charlie-Foxtrot.

Checklists instead of common sense, ignoring safety rules and then common sense after the emergency,
and HQ discussing things while the actual experts beg to fix it.

I wonder if it would have popped if they'd let them go back down the emergency shaft?

Reminicent of the SL-1 incident: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SL-1

And for that matter Chernobyl.

Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,987
Unit: of issue

« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2017, 12:03:01 AM »

Read a book in Jr. High called "We Almost Lost Detroit" (its here on my shelf, even). 

SL-1 was heavily examined in the leadup to why the Enrico Fermi plant nearly ate itself.
Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Hysterical History  |  Topic: Documentary on the Titan II ICBM Incident in Arkansas

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