The Power and Legacy of the PGM-19 Jupiter Missile


In the annals of military history, certain weapons systems stand out not only for their technical prowess but also for their strategic significance. Among these, the PGM-19 Jupiter missile holds a unique place. Born out of the exigencies of the Cold War era, the Jupiter missile was a pivotal component of the United States’ nuclear deterrence strategy. This article delves into the fascinating history and intricate technical specifications of this iconic missile system.

The genesis of the PGM-19 Jupiter can be traced back to the late 1950s, a period marked by heightened tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. In response to the perceived threat posed by the Soviet Union’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the U.S. military sought to bolster its own strategic capabilities. The Jupiter missile emerged as a result of these efforts, with development beginning in earnest in 1955 under the auspices of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA).

Named after the largest planet in the solar system, the Jupiter missile represented a significant leap forward in missile technology. It was designed to be a liquid-fueled, intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) capable of delivering nuclear warheads with precision over vast distances. The inaugural test flight of the Jupiter missile took place on March 1, 1957, marking a milestone in the U.S. military’s quest for strategic superiority.

Technical Specifications:
The PGM-19 Jupiter was characterized by its advanced technical features, which set it apart from contemporary missile systems of its time. Here are some key technical specifications:

  1. Length and Weight: The Jupiter missile stood approximately 60 feet tall and weighed around 50,000 pounds at launch. Its imposing size and heft underscored its formidable capabilities as a strategic weapon.
  2. Propulsion System: Powered by a liquid-fueled rocket engine, the Jupiter missile boasted impressive thrust capabilities, enabling it to attain speeds of up to 15,000 miles per hour. This formidable propulsion system endowed the missile with the agility and range necessary for long-distance strikes.
  3. Range and Accuracy: With a maximum range of over 1,500 miles, the PGM-19 Jupiter had the capability to strike targets deep within enemy territory. Moreover, its precision guidance system ensured accuracy within a remarkably tight margin, enhancing its effectiveness as a strategic deterrent.
  4. Warhead: The Jupiter missile was designed to carry a variety of nuclear warheads, ranging in yield from a few kilotons to several megatons. This flexibility allowed military planners to tailor the payload to suit specific mission objectives, whether tactical strikes or strategic deterrence.
  5. Deployment and Operational Capabilities: Deployed primarily in Europe (Italy and Turkey) as part of NATO’s defense strategy, the Jupiter missile formed an integral component of the U.S. arsenal during the Cold War. Its rapid response time and ability to launch from mobile platforms provided military commanders with a versatile tool for maintaining deterrence and responding to potential threats.

The PGM-19 Jupiter missile occupies a prominent place in the annals of military history, symbolizing the technological prowess and strategic foresight of its era. Although eventually phased out of service in the 1960s in favor of more advanced missile systems, and also as a concession to the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crises, its legacy endures as a testament to the ingenuity and resolve of those who conceived and developed it. Today, the Jupiter missile serves as a reminder of the perils and promises of the nuclear age, urging future generations to strive for peace and security in an uncertain world.

Exploring the Soviet SS-20 Missile System: An Analysis


In the heat of the Cold War, the Soviet Union developed a formidable arsenal of nuclear weapons, including the SS-20 missile system. This blog post delves into the technical intricacies and historical

significance of the SS-20, shedding light on its capabilities, impact, and legacy.

To understand the significance of the SS-20 missile system, it’s crucial to delve into the historical context of the Cold War era. The arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union intensified, leading to the development of increasingly sophisticated and powerful weapons systems.

The SS-20, also known as the RSD-10 Pioneer, was developed by the Soviet Union in the late 1970s as a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) system. It was designed to replace the older SS-4 and SS-5 missiles, offering improved range, accuracy, and mobility.

Technical Specifications:

  1. Range: The SS-20 had an operational range of approximately 5,000 to 5,500 kilometers (3,100 to 3,400 miles), allowing it to strike targets across Europe and Asia with precision.
  2. Payload: It was capable of carrying a single warhead with a yield of up to 1 megaton, making it a potent nuclear deterrent.
  3. Mobility: One of the key features of the SS-20 was its mobile launcher system, which enhanced its survivability and made it difficult for adversaries to track and target.
  4. Accuracy: With advanced guidance systems, the SS-20 boasted impressive accuracy, enabling it to hit designated targets with precision.
  5. Deployment: The Soviet Union deployed the SS-20 missiles primarily in Eastern Europe, posing a significant strategic threat to NATO countries and sparking tensions during the Cold War.

The deployment of the SS-20 missile system had profound strategic implications for international security. NATO countries viewed it as a direct threat to their security, leading to countermeasures and heightened tensions between the two superpowers.

Arms Control Efforts: The deployment of the SS-20 fueled arms control efforts between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed in 1987, led to the eventual dismantling of the SS-20 missiles and marked a significant milestone in arms control diplomacy.

The SS-20 missile system left a lasting legacy on the geopolitical landscape of the Cold War era. Its development and deployment underscored the dangers of nuclear proliferation and the imperative of arms control agreements to mitigate the risk of catastrophic conflict.

The Soviet SS-20 missile system was a formidable weapon of the Cold War era, representing a significant chapter in the history of nuclear deterrence and arms control. Its technical specifications, strategic implications, and eventual disarmament highlight the complex dynamics of international security in the nuclear age.

The Red Army Faction: A Legacy of Radicalism and Revolution


In the tumultuous era of the 1970s, amid the echoes of anti-establishment sentiment and revolutionary fervor, one group emerged as a symbol of militant resistance in West Germany—the Red Army Faction (RAF). Born from the ashes of discontent and fueled by radical ideology, the RAF left an indelible mark on the landscape of political activism, challenging the status quo and igniting debates about the boundaries of dissent and democracy.

The origins of the Red Army Faction can be traced back to the student protests of the late 1960s, a period characterized by widespread social upheaval and calls for revolutionary change. Fueled by grievances against capitalism, imperialism, and the perceived injustices of the post-war order, a cadre of disillusioned youth coalesced around the ideals of Marxism-Leninism and armed struggle. Led by charismatic figures such as Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof, and Gudrun Ensslin, the RAF embarked on a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the West German state and its perceived allies.

At the heart of the RAF’s ideology was a radical critique of capitalist society and the institutions of power that sustained it. Viewing themselves as vanguards of the proletariat, they sought to ignite a revolution that would dismantle the oppressive structures of the state and usher in a new era of socialist liberation. Their tactics were brazen and their rhetoric uncompromising, as they waged a violent campaign of bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings against government officials, business leaders, and members of the security forces.

The RAF’s actions sent shockwaves throughout West Germany and beyond, sparking fear and outrage among the populace and prompting a fierce response from the authorities. In response to the perceived threat posed by the RAF, the German government enacted a series of controversial measures, including the passage of emergency laws granting expanded powers to law enforcement agencies and the implementation of sweeping surveillance measures targeting suspected militants.

Yet, despite their audacious tactics and radical vision, the Red Army Faction ultimately found itself isolated and marginalized within the broader left-wing movement. Their actions, characterized by indiscriminate violence and a lack of popular support, alienated many of their would-be allies and undermined their claims to represent the interests of the working class. As the 1970s drew to a close, internal divisions, arrests, and disillusionment took their toll on the organization, leading to its gradual decline.

Today, the legacy of the Red Army Faction remains a subject of debate and controversy. For some, they are hailed as courageous revolutionaries who dared to challenge the injustices of their time, while for others, they are condemned as terrorists whose actions only served to sow chaos and destruction. Whatever one’s perspective, the story of the RAF serves as a cautionary tale—a reminder of the dangers of extremism and the complexities of political activism in an increasingly polarized world.

Unveiling Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night: A Forgotten Chapter of History


In the annals of history, there are moments that shimmer with bravery, innovation, and sometimes, controversy. Among these, there exists a chapter often overlooked, a tale buried beneath the weight of more prominent events—Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night. This clandestine project, conceived during World War II, reveals a blend of audacity and desperation in the face of an escalating conflict.

At the heart of Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night lies an ambitious plan by the Imperial Japanese Army to deploy biological warfare against the Allied forces. The idea was born from the realization that conventional methods might not turn the tide of war in their favor. Amidst the turmoil of the Pacific theater, Japanese scientists explored the potential of biological agents, seeking a weapon that could deliver a devastating blow without the need for conventional warfare.

The plan, shrouded in secrecy, centered on the use of pathogens, specifically plague-infected fleas, to be carried by aircraft and released over urban centers in California. The intended targets were the densely populated areas of San Diego, Los Angeles, and possibly even further north. The choice of plague was strategic; it was a disease with a history of causing widespread devastation and instilling fear in populations.

The operation was aptly named after the iconic cherry blossoms, symbolizing the fleeting beauty contrasted with the imminent danger lurking beneath. Yet, the logistics of such an operation were daunting. It required precise planning, sophisticated delivery mechanisms, and an unwavering commitment to secrecy. The Japanese military leaders, recognizing the risks of retaliation and the potential for international outcry, treaded carefully as they pursued this covert endeavor.

However, fate intervened, altering the course of history. Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night never came to fruition. Its cancellation is often attributed to various factors, including logistical challenges, concerns over retaliation, and the eventual surrender of Japan in August 1945. Yet, the mere existence of such a plan serves as a sobering reminder of the lengths to which nations may go in times of conflict.

The legacy of Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night extends beyond its intended impact. It raises ethical questions about the use of biological weapons and the moral boundaries in warfare. The very notion of employing pathogens as tools of destruction evokes a sense of dread and revulsion. It underscores the fragility of human life and the inherent risks associated with the pursuit of power at any cost.

Moreover, Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night offers a glimpse into the realm of what-ifs. What if the plan had succeeded? What if biological warfare had become a more prevalent tactic in the theater of war? These questions linger, serving as reminders of the delicate balance between progress and peril.

In hindsight, Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night stands as a cautionary tale—a testament to the extremes of human ambition and the potential consequences of unchecked aggression. It serves as a reminder that history is not merely a series of events but a tapestry woven from the choices we make and the paths we choose to tread.

As we reflect on this forgotten chapter, let us not only remember the bravery of those who fought against tyranny but also heed the lessons it imparts. Let us strive to build a future where dialogue triumphs over discord and cooperation prevails over conflict. For in the end, it is our actions today that will shape the narratives of tomorrow.

Honoring Those Who Served: Understanding the Veteran Pact Act


In a society that owes so much to its veterans, legislation aimed at supporting and safeguarding the rights of those who have served in the military is crucial. One such piece of legislation is the Veteran Pact Act. Enacted to address the needs and concerns of veterans, this act stands as a testament to our nation’s commitment to those who have bravely served in uniform. Let’s explore what the Veteran Pact Act entails and its significance for veterans and their families.

The Veteran Pact Act, also known as the Veterans Empowerment Through the American Pact (VET PACT) Act, is a comprehensive bill designed to improve access to healthcare, housing, education, and employment opportunities for veterans. Introduced with bipartisan support, the act aims to address the unique challenges faced by veterans as they transition from military to civilian life.

At the heart of the Veteran Pact Act is a commitment to providing veterans with the support and resources they need to thrive after their service. This includes expanding access to mental health services to address the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions among veterans. By ensuring timely and comprehensive mental healthcare, the act seeks to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and prevent veteran suicide.

In addition to mental health services, the Veteran Pact Act also focuses on improving access to physical healthcare for veterans. This includes expanding eligibility for healthcare benefits, reducing wait times for medical appointments, and increasing funding for VA healthcare facilities. By addressing systemic issues within the VA healthcare system, the act aims to ensure that veterans receive the quality care they deserve.

Another key aspect of the Veteran Pact Act is its emphasis on addressing veteran homelessness. Recognizing that many veterans struggle with housing insecurity after leaving the military, the act allocates funding for housing assistance programs and supportive services for homeless veterans. By providing stable housing options and wraparound services, the act aims to reduce veteran homelessness and improve overall veteran well-being.

Furthermore, the Veteran Pact Act includes provisions to support veteran education and employment. This includes expanding access to GI Bill benefits, increasing funding for job training programs, and incentivizing employers to hire veterans. By investing in education and employment opportunities, the act seeks to empower veterans to successfully reintegrate into civilian life and achieve economic stability.

Overall, the Veteran Pact Act represents a significant commitment to honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans. By addressing key issues such as healthcare, housing, education, and employment, the act aims to ensure that veterans receive the care and support they need to thrive after their service. As a society, it is our duty to uphold the promises we have made to those who have sacrificed so much for our country, and the Veteran Pact Act is a crucial step in fulfilling that obligation.

Information and applications to apply for the Pact Act or other VA benefits can be found at the Veteran’s Administration website.

The M454 Nuclear Projectile: A Compact Artillery Marvel


The M454 nuclear projectile, also known as the Artillery Fired Atomic Projectile (AFAP), holds a unique place in military history. Developed by the United States, this small-yield tactical weapon was designed for use with standard 155-millimeter howitzers. Let’s explore the fascinating details of the M454.

Origins and Specifications

  1. Development and Deployment:
    • The M454 entered service in 1963 and remained operational until 1992.
    • It was primarily used with the M109 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer.
    • The M454 was a tactical nuclear weapon, providing divisional commanders with close nuclear fire support.
  2. Technical Details:
    • Length: Approximately 34 inches (86 cm)
    • Diameter155 millimeters (6.1 inches)
    • Weight120 pounds (54 kg)
    • Blast Yield: Equivalent to 0.072 kilotonnes of TNT (0.30 TJ)
  3. Versatility and Effectiveness:
    • The M454 had a range of 14,000 meters (8.7 miles).
    • It was five times more effective against infantry and light armored vehicles (LAV) compared to standard high-explosive (HE) projectiles.
    • The unified charge module (UCM) minimized logistical complexity by using a single type of modular charge.

Legacy and Impact

  1. Smallest Nuclear Weapon:
    • The M454’s yield was equivalent to 72 tonnes of TNT, making it one of the smallest nuclear weapons ever developed by the U.S.
    • Despite its compact size, it packed a significant punch.
  2. Historical Context:
    • The M454 emerged during the Cold War, reflecting the era’s emphasis on tactical nuclear capabilities.
    • It provided flexibility for commanders, allowing them to engage deep targets beyond the reach of other available nuclear weapons.
  3. Retirement and Successors:
    • The M454 was retired in 1992.
    • Its legacy lives on through successors like the MGM-140 ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System).

The MGM-52 Lance Missile System


The Lance missile stands as a testament to human ingenuity in the realm of military technology. Developed by the United States during the Cold War era, the Lance missile represented a significant advancement in the field of short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs). With its precision guidance, flexibility, and destructive power, the Lance missile emerged as a pivotal tool in shaping modern warfare.

Historical Context

The genesis of the Lance missile can be traced back to the volatile geopolitical landscape of the Cold War, characterized by escalating tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. As part of NATO’s defense strategy in Europe, there arose a need for a mobile, accurate, and rapidly deployable missile system capable of deterring potential aggression from Warsaw Pact forces.

In response to this imperative, the Lance missile program was initiated in the late 1960s, with the objective of developing a highly maneuverable SRBM capable of delivering conventional and nuclear payloads (W70 warhead) with precision and speed. The W70 had a yield between 1-100kt. By the early 1970s, the Lance missile had undergone rigorous testing and entered production, heralding a new era in tactical warfare. The missile system was deployed to Europe until the early 1990s, fielded by numerous field artillery regiments in Germany, including the 32nd FA (Hanau), 12th FA (Crailsheim), and the 333rd FA (Wiesbaden).

Technical Specifications

The Lance missile was renowned for its cutting-edge technological features, which endowed it with unparalleled capabilities on the battlefield. With a range of up to 130 kilometers and a speed of Mach 3, the Lance missile could swiftly penetrate enemy defenses and strike high-value targets with pinpoint accuracy.

Central to the Lance missile’s effectiveness was its advanced guidance system, which utilized inertial navigation and radar homing to navigate towards its intended target with unprecedented precision. This precision-guided capability enabled military commanders to conduct surgical strikes against enemy positions while minimizing collateral damage and civilian casualties.

Furthermore, the Lance missile’s modular design facilitated rapid reload and deployment, allowing for sustained operations in dynamic combat environments. Whether tasked with delivering conventional munitions to neutralize enemy artillery positions or carrying nuclear warheads to deter adversaries, the Lance missile provided NATO forces with a versatile and formidable weapon system.

Strategic Implications

The deployment of the Lance missile exerted a profound impact on the strategic calculus of NATO and its adversaries. As a key component of NATO’s integrated defense posture in Europe, the Lance missile bolstered the alliance’s deterrence capabilities against potential aggression from the Warsaw Pact. Its ability to deliver precise and timely strikes against enemy forces conferred upon NATO a significant operational advantage, thereby enhancing regional stability and security.

Moreover, the Lance missile’s dual-capable nature, capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear payloads, underscored its versatility as a deterrent tool. By presenting adversaries with a credible and flexible response option, the Lance missile played a vital role in deterring escalation and preserving the delicate balance of power during the Cold War.

Enduring Legacy

Although the Cold War has long since ended, the legacy of the Lance missile endures as a testament to its enduring impact on modern warfare. The technological innovations pioneered by the Lance program paved the way for subsequent generations of precision-guided munitions, shaping the evolution of military doctrine and strategy in the 21st century.

Furthermore, the lessons learned from the Lance missile program continue to inform contemporary debates surrounding the role of tactical missile systems in national defense. As geopolitical tensions persist and new security challenges emerge, the principles of mobility, precision, and flexibility embodied by the Lance missile remain as relevant as ever in shaping the future of warfare.

In conclusion, the Lance missile stands as a symbol of human ingenuity and strategic foresight in the face of geopolitical uncertainty. From its inception during the Cold War to its enduring legacy in contemporary warfare, the Lance missile continues to shape the dynamics of international security and serve as a cornerstone of deterrence in an ever-changing world.

The National Defense Medal Being Retired, According to Defense Department


The National Defense Medal, which had been issued to service members of all branches during designated periods of war, will no longer be issued after December 31st, 2022. The Department of Defense made the decision after the U.S. troop pullout from Afghanistan in 2021, ending America’s longest conflict.

The National Defense Medal was automatically awarded after a servicemember completed their training and entered regular duty. Affectionately known as the “pizza stain”, the medal was issued during the following periods of conflict:

The Korean War, Jun. 27 1950- Jul. 27 1954
The Vietnam Conflict, Jan. 1 1961- Aug. 14 1974
The Gulf War, Aug. 2 1990- Nov. 30 1995
The Global War on Terrorism, Sept. 11 2001-Dec. 31, 2022.

The discontinuing of it’s issuance is a reminder that major combat operations have ended for the United States. Though the U.S. is still involved in counter-terrorism actions, the majority of combat troops will not be involved in these operations.

I remember being issued the National Defense Award in 1991, though I was not deployed to Iraq during the Gulf War. It was a generic medal, that everyone was awarded, like the Army Service Ribbon for us soldiers.

Awards are important for the morale of the military. I’ve known many Army personnel who strived for perfection, not only to rank up, but to also receive awards and to better themselves as soldiers. It is very time consuming to learn about leadership, take classes and pass exams to become an NCO. It is even harder to be deployed to a combat zone, engage enemies, survive, then come back home possibly broken, both in body and mind. Awards for a combat veteran are signs of respect. In addition to these wards, more needs to be done to help heal our American veterans. See the links in the Resources page of this site.

JANUS: A Wargame Simulation Code and the Effects of Nuclear Artillery Yields


In the decades before the wonderful website Nukemap helped us with determining the effects of nuclear weapons when used against any target on the globe, The United States used a Lawrence-Livermore Laboratory program called JANUS. JANUS1 was an interactive wargame simulation code, in which the military could input various yield options on battlefield nuclear weapons, and calculate their effects on enemy forces.

The input would include a simulation of two opposing forces (representing NATO and the Warsaw Pact, respectively) using the colors red and blue. The simulations were ran to try and determine the effects of ER (enhanced radiation) nuclear artillery vs. one kiloton fission weapons. What the simulated wargames determined was that ER weapons caused more casualties among enemy forces than strictly fission weapons.

The simulation also recorded that if the Red Team reached losses between 40-60%, they would discontinue an offensive and rethink their tactics, potentially reorganizing and attacking again. The simulations also brought to light some conclusions deduced by the wargame simulations that could have been used by the United States and NATO:

  • The anticipated use of nuclear weapons by either side affects the character of a game significantly. It determines how Blue will plan his defense and how Red will carry out his offense. It causes both sides to keep large spacings between companies (or platoons), slowing the tempo of the battle.
  • If the employment of nuclear weapons is to have a decided effect on the progress and out come of a battle, each side will have to have an adequate number of nuclear weapons. Without an adequate number, the advantage of a nuclear capability is only temporary. On the average, each side can only count on destroying one combat company per nuclear weapon used, whether it is a 1-kt fission weapon or an ER weapon. Since the enemy has 50 combat companies per division, each nuclear weapon can only destroy 2% of a division. Even after using 10 nuclear weapons, Blue fails to blunt the overall Red capability.
  • In almost all the simulations we ran using JANUS, ER weapons were more effective than 1-kt fission weapons in imposing overall losses on Red. Essentially all the game histories illustrate this. This does not necessarily mean that more Red units were killed per ER -weapon used (which, of course, can be the case) but that the ER weapon causes a greater dispersion of Red forces, helping Blue’s conventional capability. Thus, force massing can be more of a liability with ER weapons than with 1-kt fission weapons.
  • The typical visibility in the JANUS simulation limits either side’s ability to acquire units deep into enemy territory. Thus, neither side had many opportunities to use a 10-kt fission weapon against deep enemy positions. Troop safety constraints limited use of the 10-kt fission weapon between companies that could see each other in direct-fire combat.

In the 3rd conclusion, it was determined that ER weapons were more effective against enemy forces than on-kiloton fission weapons. As stated, this did not mean that the enemy forces lost more soldiers, it was that the ER weapons caused a greater dispersion of said forces. The obvious reason is the reputation of ER weapons, which are better known as “neutron bombs”.

The United States Army, up until 1992 , had two ER weapons in it’s arsenal in Europe: The Lance short range nuclear capable missile, and the W79 warhead, which was a variant of the M422CA1 203mm nuclear artillery shell.

I trained on maintenance procedures on the W79 in Germany in 1991. Whenever I find articles and academic papers published about them, I am immediately drawn in to review if the information is accurate. U.S, Army ER weapons are relics of the past, and thankfully not in existence. There was only one reason to have them, and that was to destroy as many lives as possible, while minimizing static damage to property. They may have been rationalized until the end of the Cold War, but there is no need to return to enhanced radiation weapons in the 21st century.

1.Andre, C G. Look at nuclear artillery yield options using JANUS, a wargame simulation code. United States: N. p., 1982. Web. doi:10.2172/5035071.

Turkey and the Cyprian Crises of 1974..Official vs. Non-Official Reports concerning Nuclear Weapons


Nuclear weapons history, a la official reports, and the situation that was told to me by older nuke techs who were in Turkey during the Cyprian Crises of 1974 are a little different. When I was a young nuclear weapons specialist, I would hear stories from the older NCOs who had been around for a decades before I enlisted in 1989. One of the common shared experiences was being stationed in Turkey in the early to mid 1970s, and the problems the U.S. Army faced in dealing with two NATO allies who were at each other’s throats; Greece and Turkey.

In short, the Greeks and Turks fight it out over Cyprus in 1974. Turkey wins, gains significant control of part of the island.

The Greeks become upset at the U.S. for allowing the invasion, and Greek extremist group EOKA-B assassinates the U.S. ambassador Roger Davies by sniper fire. The U.S. Congress then puts an arms embargo on Turkey after the invasion (in 1975, against the wishes of the Ford administration), which now upsets the Turks, who then attempt to seize U.S. military installations in Turkey, except for Incirlik and Izmir air bases, both of which supported NATO missions.

In a recently declassified memo, Pres. Ford and Sec. of Defense Dr. James R. Schlesinger discussed the matter.

Now this is where official statements and actual on-the-ground situations differ.

Per the memo: “Under domestic pressure to retaliate, the Turkish government closed down U.S. installations in Turkey, except Incirlik and Izmir air bases because they had NATO missions, and asked for negotiations over the future of U.S. military facilities. There may have been some concern that Turkish forces would seize the area at Incirlik where the U.S. stored nuclear weapons. To avoid a “nasty incident,” Schlesinger proposed that Washington go to the Turkish government and say that there was some “mistake” and then get them out”.1

The memo further reads, “The Turkish government made no moves against the nuclear weapons, but Congress kept the embargo going until 1978, when Turkey restored access by U.S. forces to military facilities.”

Now, this is where it gets interesting

The U.S. official stance was that the Turks made no moves against U.S. nuclear weapons. This contrasts sharply with the history told to us younger nuke techs by our NCOs who were in Turkey at the time. These were men with TS clearances, reputable and did not have an agenda. This was in the early 1990s, at the time that we were dismantling and removing Army battlefield nuclear warheads from Europe during Operation Silent Echo.

The unofficial, on the ground situation (according to them) was…the Turks surrounded their depot, which housed Honest Johns and 203mm nuclear artillery. The Americans went into beast mode by putting shape charges on every nuclear weapons container, and wired the entire depot to explode if the gates were breached. There was a tense standoff, until the Turks departed empty handed.

I had heard this story many times by superiors, some differing in the finer details, but the wiring of the depot to explode scenario was always the same.

1 The official documents can be found here:

Nuclear weapon safekeeping is paramount. Reduction and elimination is desirable.