Stanislav Petrov, an officer in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Force, was on duty in September 26th, 1983, when the satellite he was monitoring indicated that the United States had just launched 5 nuclear missiles. Petrov didn’t think the US would start a nuclear war by launching 5 missiles, so he suspected a malfunction and a false alarm. He was right of course, and while he might have saved the world from mutual nuclear destruction, he was he received an official reprimand for making mistakes in his logbook concerning the issue. Stanislav Petrov died May 19, 2017 at the age of 77.
When asked about the incident, “That was my job,” he said. “But they were lucky it was me on shift that night.”
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