Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 4:48 pm
"One simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe."
That is the blunt 1969 assessment of Parker F. Jones, the then supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia National Laboratories, in a newly declassified document that sheds light on a 1961 accident in which the United States almost nuked North Carolina.
Two hundred years ago today, a young U.S. naval captain named Oliver Hazard Perry penned the words, "We have met the enemy and they are ours ..."
Perry's remarkable victory over the British changed the course of the War of 1812, and a full-scale re-enactment — the largest sailing re-enactment ever attempted in the U.S. — recently commemorated the anniversary of the win in the Battle of Lake Erie.