Sunday, July 3, 2011

Welcome Back Nukies...

It's kind of hard to believe the Cold War has been over for about 20 years now. But, during the height of the Cold War and America's big nuclear buildup Abilene was a big part of it with the Atlas missile project. And the guys who attached the warhead to them were the men of the 42nd Munitions Maintenance Squadron, who back then were known as the "Nukies," at Dyess Air Force Base. It's really crazy when you think about it that 18-20 year old boys were in charge of the one key element in the destruction of the planet. And one of the first devices to deliver those warheads were the Atlas missiles, which had their silos almost in a circle around the city of Abilene.
So, last week, the men of the 42nd MMS had a 50th anniversary reunion. To get together and reminisce about old times. It was really cool listening to some of these guys talk about what they did. Thinking back on it, it was kind of a big deal, but most of them had the same response about it back them "it was just a job and we did it." In the morning, the group got to go take a tour of their old work area at Dyess and meet with the guys doing the similar job to theirs now. The one major difference being that the guys now only work with conventional bombs as opposed to the nukes. Then, later in the afternoon the guys were going out to Oplin to tour one of the old silos that they worked on the missiles, that has been converted to someone's home now. That was really cool, being able to go into the silo, see how it had been transformed into a really cool home, while at the same time being able to go into the silo and see just how massive the place was, not to mention how the guy had fixed it up and put in a new hydraulic lift to open up the missile doors. Between that and getting to hear the old stories of what things were like back then made for a really cool history lesson you just can't read about.


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