Launch Key

"God Blessed America"

I was asked to sit in the Major's chair in a Titan II Missile Silo's control center. We were visiting the only remaining Titan II Missile Launch Complex in the U.S. today. There once were 54 of them, located in three different states. After the Cold War, all were disassembled except one just outside of Tucson, Arizona. This one remains merely as a museum and contains the only Titan II Missile still around today. It was a question as to whether the Smithsonian would get this missile, or the remaining Silo, and the Silo won out. It has never been armed, so it is not a threat to anyone. It is simply a reminder of what was, and what could have happened had the "key been turned."

We toured this underground museum, winding our way down the stairs, through the steel hallways requiring hardhats by all, and made our way into the control center of this whole operation. The equipment, now antiquated, is still intact just as it was during the Cold War. Once under high-level security for over 20 years, it is now toured daily by visitors from all over the world. What once was hidden underground, with only the sliding-hatch door visible above ground, now is open for all to see! Quite amazing, actually!

The guide called me out of the crowd of about 20 tourists to sit in the Commander's chair. He said he would be needing my help. Not being one that likes to be up front and center stage, I knew my husband, Jim, was chuckling behind me! I thought he should have been in the chair, he understood this stuff, studies this stuff, watches the history channel and enjoys learning about missiles and rockets and anything to do with their history. I, on the other hand, don't have much of a clue about it all. I would rather watch "Trading Spaces" and see a room redecorated!

But there I was, in the hot seat, so to speak, and listening to our guide's every word to make sure I didn't miss anything! When he needed my help, I wanted to be ready, whatever he was going to call me to do.

He explained the workings in this room, the equipment, the targets, and the people who manned these stations. Then it came time for my participation...there were two keys that needed to be turned. They were far enough apart that two people were required to turn them at the same time and hold them for five seconds. The reason for this being, when these keys were turned, the Titan II would be launched to some unknown target and there would be no retrieving it. When it reached its target, there were would be destruction as the world had never seen. Two people must do this, must be in agreement about this after the order had been received, verified and ready to be acted on at this Missile Silo.

As he instructed, we both turned our keys, and the lights and buzzers went off. The sequence of events on the control panel started to light up just as it would have during the Cold War, and in less than a minute the Titan II Missile would have been launched, had this been an actual war situation.

The good news is, these keys were never turned!! These missiles, all 54 of them, were never launched and when the Cold War was over, they were dissembled, and our "insurance" policy, as he called it, was put to rest. A simple turn of a key by two people trained to be ready in event of war, was never acted upon. Ready, armed and highly dangerous, these Titan II missiles were much more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, we came close to launching them, but thank God, it never happened.

As God watched over the events in the history of our nation, He was in control, always. People were put in place to be on alert, to wait for an order that never came, but there was only One who knew if that order would come, even before the ones making that decision would make it--God in heaven.

These missiles could be in our earth's atmosphere in a matter of seconds. They could be flying high up into the heavens before returning to earth on a mission of mass destruction before anyone on the ground even had an idea of what was happening. Once those keys had been turned under the ground in Arizona, or Kansas or Arkansas, there was no calling them back by those who had turned the key. It was out of their hands, and they didn't even know what target they were headed for. They simply would have followed the orders they had been given, by someone above them and someone above them...but above all of them was One who knew best. One who saved this world from something horrific! One who kept humanity from committing the most heinous of events this world would have ever seen if there had been anything left of this world to record it once it was done.

A simple turn of a key, no harder than starting the engine of your car or opening the front door of your home, could have changed the history of this world forever, if not for the One watching over all of us, the One in complete control of what seemed to be in the hands of men.

Thank you, God, for never allowing this chain of events to be completed-for never allowing the call to come that would have commanded the hands of two individuals to start a war beyond all wars. I don't know who manned these stations, but the hands that would have turned those two keys sure do, and I'm sure it is an assignment in their lives that they have never forgotten.

I know that I will never forget hearing, "That key never had to be turned," after I had just done it in a mock simulation.

Thank you, God, for your protection over our country!
You have truly blessed America!!