MOSCOW, November 16 (RIA Novosti) – A retired Soviet lieutenant colonel whose self-control prevented a nuclear war from being triggered by a long-classified accident in 1983 was named on Friday a recipient of a German anti-war prize.
Ironically for a military officer, Petrov shot to fame for ignoring his direct responsibilities. The officer served at a command center of the Soviet nuclear early-warning system outside Moscow, which reported the launch of five nuclear missiles from US territory on Sept. 26, 1983.
Cold War tensions were riding high at the time, boosted by the Soviet Union’s fears about the US Strategic Defense Initiative – “the Star Wars program” – and the international incident caused by the Soviet air defense shooting down a Korean passenger plane earlier in September that year.
Petrov’s duty was to report the incoming missiles to his superiors, who were likely to order a snap retaliatory strike. However, he chose to ignore the report, ruling it an equipment malfunction and reckoning five missiles insufficient for a proper war.
His guess was right: an investigation proved the warning to be a false report by a monitoring satellite confused by sunlight reflecting off high-altitude clouds.
Phew ... close call on that one ... :scared:
11-17-2012 11:46 PM
Re: Soviet Officer Wins Award for Preventing Nuclear War