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"Soviet air defense officer who saved the world dies at 77" Topic

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312 hits since 19 Sep 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Nashville Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2017 4:11 p.m. PST


Be VERY glad this man lived and used good judgment


That night, just past midnight, the Oko system signaled that a single US missile had been launched. "When I first saw the alert message, I got up from my chair," Petrov told RT in a 2010 interview. "All my subordinates were confused, so I started shouting orders at them to avoid panic. I knew my decision would have a lot of consequences."
Then a second alarm sounded. "The siren went off for a second time," Petrov recounted. "Giant blood-red letters appeared on our main screen, saying START. It said that four more missiles had been launched."

If the alarm had been real, it meant that missiles would reach the Soviet Union in 30 minutes. At the time, Soviet leader Yuri Andropov was ailing. If Petrov had followed procedures in place, he had less than 15 minutes to alert Andropov of a nuclear launch—and an immediate launch of ICBMs would have been ordered.

"My cozy armchair felt like a red-hot frying pan, and my legs went limp," Petrov told RT. "I felt like I couldn't even stand up. That's how nervous I was when I was taking this decision."

Because of the relatively small number of detected launches, Petrov was convinced the alert was some sort of error. Doctrine held that the US would stage a massive first strike if it decided to preemptively attack the Soviets. Furthermore, there was no data on bomber launches or other signals of impending attack. Petrov overruled the alert, which was later determined to have been caused by solar reflections off of clouds over the United States.

Because the human in the loop was a thinking human—Stanislav Petrov—Andropov was never alerted, and there was no response to a falsely detected attack. And because of that, we are all still here today. Покойся с миром (Pokoysya s mirom), Colonel Petrov. Rest in peace.

GregDman Inactive Member19 Sep 2017 9:25 p.m. PST

Did not know that. Thanks for sharing

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2017 9:43 p.m. PST

Artificial "Intelligence" be damned. You need humans in the loop. Not only in the loop but in charge.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2017 11:55 a.m. PST

Literally a man we owe our lives to. RIP Colonel.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2017 1:15 p.m. PST


Hafen von Schlockenberg Inactive Member20 Sep 2017 4:18 p.m. PST

I remember reading about that hair-raising incident.

Question is,how many times has it been repeated?

Old Wolfman21 Sep 2017 6:55 a.m. PST

Reminded me of a line from "Fail Safe" "I like the human factor". Rest easy,Colonel. Spasiba.

goragrad21 Sep 2017 7:31 a.m. PST


Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP21 Sep 2017 9:54 a.m. PST


Personal logo Saginaw Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 Sep 2017 2:50 p.m. PST

1983 was a predominantly dark year in the old Cold War: the USSR was in the middle of the turnover of their premiers, not to mention their military operations in Afghanistan and Grenada (by proxy). The downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 by Soviet fighters in September and NATO's "Able Archer 83" exercise in November made the world situation even more tense and primed for a possible nuclear war.

Given this background, I'm sure no one can imagine the full weight of responsibility and decision that Mr. Petrov faced the night when the nuke alarms sounded. There needs to be a statue erected to this man.

Godspeed, Mr. Petrov, and thank you VERY, very much.

Tumbleweed Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2017 8:35 p.m. PST

Until the next time it happens…

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