The events on this day in history for our heritage companies are noted below.
The earliest event was in 1957, the latest event was in 2005
2005 – LANDING: STS-114 (Discovery), Edwards AFB
Military and Classified Programs:
1966 – LAUNCH: Classified mission, Thorad SLV-2G/Lockheed Agena D, SLC1W, VAFB
1974 – LAUNCH: RCA DSMP-Block-5C F1, Thor Burner 2A, SLC10W, VAFB
Exploration and Interplanetary Programs:
Earth-Monitoring and Civil Weather Satellite programs:
1993 – LAUNCH: MM (GE) NOAA 13 (NOAA I), GD Atlas E, SLC3W, VAFB
Test, ICBM, FBM programs:
1957 – GD Atlas, Martin Titan and Thor missile production rates curtailed (cost savings)
1960 – LAUNCH: GD Atlas D, LC12, CCAFS
1961 – LAUNCH: GD Atlas F, LC13, CCAFS
1962- LAUNCH: GD Atlas D, 576-B3, VAFB
1962 – LAUNCH: GD Atlas D, 576-B2, VAFB
1963 – LAUNCH (2): Lockheed Polaris A2, SSBN617, ETR
1965 – Accident at MM Titan II silo 373-4 (Little Rock AFB) kills 53 – fire during construction modifications
1974 – LAUNCH: Lockheed Polaris A3, SSBN608, ETR
The images today include photos of newspaper articles and a map showing the location of the tragedy of the Titan II silo 373-4 fire in 1965 on an installation that was part of Little Rock AFB. This was another adverse event in an “A” month. Here is the story:
In August 1965, non-military contractors were strengthening the silo against potential nuclear attack as part of a broader initiative called Project Yard Fence. As a part of this project the missile’s warhead had been disarmed and removed. The 55 men onsite were employed by Peter Kiewit and Sons and Newbery Electric Corporation. Soon after workers returned from lunch on August 9, a fire broke out on Level 2 of the silo, rapidly filling the silo with smoke and hampering visibility. Electrical power was also lost. Workers jammed the emergency exit ladders and were quickly asphyxiated. The only two workers to survive—59-year-old Hubert Saunders and 17-year-old Gary Lay, in his first day on the job—reached the command center via the Level 2 passageway; the other workers tried to use the vertical ladders in the silo to reach the surface. Saunders suffered smoke inhalation while Lay suffered second- and third-degree burns.
The remaining 53 workers in the silo—ranging in age from 21 to 69—perished. Two workers were descending into the silo when the fire began and were able to return to the surface. Four Air Force personnel in the control center, as well as various workers on the surface, were unharmed. Firefighting efforts continued throughout the afternoon of August 9. Attempts to open the main silo door for ventilation were unsuccessful, and rescuers were at first unable to penetrate the silo deeper than Level 2. There was a danger of explosion from the missile, which despite being disarmed was still fueled. Firefighters worked through the night to extinguish the fire, lower the silo temperature, and recover bodies.