A 1980 Nuclear Threat Was Triggered By a Socket Wrench



For about 10 hours in 1980, the United States faced a nuclear threat of its own making after an airman performing maintenance on the Titan II missile dropped a socket wrench 60 feet, ripping a hole in a fuel tank and leading to an explosion that propelled a 9-megaton warhead out of the ground. Searchers found it later in a ditch 200 yards away. Using decades-old U.S. Air Force training footage, re-enactments and drone-shot video from a mothballed silo, director Robert Kenner recalled the tense time that began beneath the northern Arkansas landscape in his documentary — Command and Control — which aired in 2017. The film told the real story of how close we came to blowing up a quarter of the country.