Strange Lands, Episode 4: The Oscar 7 Event
In the early morning hours of October 24, 1968, two alarms sounded in the Oscar 1 Launch Control Center. The alarms were OZ, outer zone, and IZ, inner zone, perimeter alerts at the United States Air Force’s Oscar 7 missile silo, down the highway from the Launch Control Center. While OZ alerts were frequently tripped by wildlife at facilities like Oscar 7, IZ alarms were considerably more rare, and simultaneous signals on both systems were nearly unheard of. It was a strong indicator that someone was trespassing on the launch site of one of the world’s deadliest weapons, a Minuteman missile with a nuclear warhead. The Oscar Flight Security Controller, Staff Sergeant William Smith Jr., immediately dispatched a Security Alert Team to investigate.
Although no intruders were found, someone had been there. The outer zone alarm had been tripped when someone opened the gate, which could only be done by unlocking a padlock, with a key. The lock still hung, unlocked, on the gate. The inner zone alarm was triggered after the intruder opened the outer weather hatch on the silo, removed the inner vault door, also known as the B-plug, and tampered with the combination lock in an attempt to open the main door.
The implications were undeniable. This was not a false alarm. Someone, or some thing, had tried to get in the missile silo.
Written, produced, and narrated by Troy Larson
Music: Long Note One, Long Note Two, Long Note Four, Gloom Horizon, and Vanishing, by Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
Sound effects via FreeSound.org
Troy Larson is a father, author, and photographer originally from Minot, North Dakota, now residing in Fargo.