Early within the morning of September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov helped stop the outbreak of nuclear battle.
A 44-year-old lieutenant colonel within the Soviet air protection forces, he was hours previous his shift as an obligation officer at Serpukhov-15, the key command heart exterior Moscow the place the army Soviet was monitoring its early warning satellites over the USA when the alarms went off.
Computer systems warned that 5 Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles had been launched from a US base.
“For 15 seconds we have been in shock,” he known as again later. “We would have liked to determine, ‘What occurs subsequent?’ ”
The alarm bells sounded throughout one of the tense intervals of the Chilly Struggle. Three weeks earlier, the Soviets had shot down a Korean Air Strains industrial flight after crossing Soviet airspace, killing all 269 individuals on board, together with a congressman from Georgia. President Ronald Reagan had rejected requires an arms race freeze, saying the Soviet Union “evil empire.” The Soviet chief, Yuri V. Andropovwas obsessive about worry of an American assault.
Colonel Petrov was at a turning level within the decision-making chain. His superiors on the warning system headquarters reported to the Soviet Military Normal Workers, which might seek the advice of with Mr. Andropov about launching a retaliatory assault.
After 5 harrowing minutes – digital boards and screens flashed as he held a cellphone in a single hand and an intercom within the different, making an attempt to soak up the incoming streams of data – Colonel Petrov determined that studies of launch have been most likely a false alarm.
As he later defined, it was a knee-jerk determination, a ’50-50′ guess at finest, primarily based on his distrust of the early warning system and the relative shortage of the missiles that have been launched. .
Colonel Petrov died on the age of 77 on Might 19 in Friazino, a suburb of Moscow, the place he lived alone with a pension. The demise was not extensively reported on the time.