Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.

Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.

Before Jeff Kennedy and David Livingston were able to enter the complex, Rex Hukle and I had to cut through a security fence and physically break through an electrically locked steel portal door using a crowbar, screwdrivers, and hammers. We then went down two flights of steps to start pumping open a 6,000 lb. blast lock door (which we were unable to open because our air was running low, and time was running out). We were the first two guys to enter the complex for the mission and to our knowledge, the ONLY two guys in history to “break into” a nuclear missile complex (although it WAS at the request of our supervisors…).
There were many more people besides Rex and me out there that night who were injured. 
Rex and I had a traumatic near-death experience, too. When the Titan exploded, I was standing right at the entry gate, half suited up in my RFHCO suit, and I was blown 50 to 60 feet, landing on my back with concrete, steel, and flames going past my face. Rex was at the back of the pickup truck and leaped into the truck, shattering his knee cap and burning his hands. That same truck had a chunk of concrete go right through the hood of the truck, landing in the carburetor. It would have killed him if it had landed on him.
If it hadn’t been for two blood-curdling screams in my left ear to RUNNNNNN (from my guardian angel) I would have been the first person to die on the scene, because I would have been crushed by the concrete that landed just behind me as I was on the run. To this day, I’m amazed that God kept me alive.

Greg Devlin
Titusville, FL

I was the Arkansas Democrat’s night police reporter, based in Pulaski County, when the newsroom received the first reports about the leak at the silo near Damascus. I arrived late that night and joined other reporters and crews who parked along the highway near the gate.
When the silo exploded in the early morning hours, I remember standing in stunned silence, watching huge chunks of burning debris in the air—presumably the concrete doors on the silo, which sparked against the night sky like nightmarish fireworks—and the pinkish-orange cloud that arose over the area. Acrid, irritating fumes with a strong chemical taste filled the air, and the airmen all donned gas masks—itself a terrifying sight to those of us without them.
As I fled to my car amid the smoke, burning rubble, and people screaming and running in all directions, I asked an airman, “How far should I go?” He pulled off his mask long enough to yell, “As far as you can, as fast as you can!”
I had a motel room reserved in Conway, to the south, but my car was pointed north. I took his advice, didn’t take time to turn around, and nearly crashed when, at 80 miles per hour, I encountered barricades the Air Force had placed on the highway north of silo. I didn’t stop until I reached Marshall, where I called in stories to the Democrat and New York Post from a pay phone at a Piggly Wiggly store.
I didn’t know until I read your article that, immediately after the explosion, I was standing within 100 to 200 feet of the warhead the Air Force refused to confirm or deny for so long.

Steve Taylor
Little Rock, AR