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.
Troy Larson is a father, author, and photographer originally from Minot, North Dakota, now residing in Fargo.