There are two purposes for Comments in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Comments can either add information to aid in the understanding of the entry or add information that provides an alternate interpretation of the historical record.
Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Comment is entirely responsible for its content.
I was a nuclear weapons Spec 2 and stationed at Little Rock AFB 308 MIMS. I was there, and to set the record straight, the W-53 warhead was a 50 megaton warhead—that’s right BIG boom. We were down-grading all warheads to 20 Megs during this time. All silos were being modified because of SALT II. The careless hurry-up program to achieve this modification caused this situation. Yes, I recovered this warhead and it was breached. The tritium boost canister was leaking. Dead animals were everywhere, and the contamination was not from propellant.
I was forcibly discharged September 18, 1980; guess I had seen too much.
Many of us doing this downgrade were exposed to open warhead radiation and very dangerous situations. That’s why the Air Force abandoned this MOS and disbanded the teams under total secrecy warnings.