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False alarm in Hawaii

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False alarm in Hawaii

Old 13th Jan 2018, 21:43
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False alarm in Hawaii

The message was sent to some mobiles from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
A second text confirmed it was a false alarm - but not until almost 40 minutes later.
The alert read: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."
BBC report
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 01:25
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I suppose we should worry about other Button Pushers besides the President!

Real harm occurred as a result of this astounding act of governmental incompetence but I shall bet you horse droppings to glazed donuts and let you hold the stakes in your mouth that two things are for certain.

One....it was a Democrat that pushed the Button.

Two...nothing at all happens to that individual.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 02:21
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need to fire the computer whizzes who concocted such a system. Simple fix would be two buttons in same room a dozen feet or so apart and a requirement that both be pushed within say 5 seconds AFTER confirmation/notice by military- said pemissive link NOT ever part of internet system with separate wiring and probably an old fashioned mechanical- capacitor timed switch system between them.

to err is human- to really foul up takes a computer . .

or a dimowitt

Turns out from some reports it was a touch screen button- when pushed a large note comes up on screen ' do you REALLY want to do this ? " and the west bell curve type touched YES.

he/she will be toast - and responsible computer whiz and bcrat types get a downgrade one level
for maybe 3 months.

Last edited by CONSO; 14th Jan 2018 at 02:32. Reason: added
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 03:18
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Considering that some people's nuclear war contigency plans involve getting laid, I wonder what the results will be.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 04:02
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"Little Rocket Man" in NK must be p*ssing himself laughing: the current state of affairs is that an entire US state can go into panic mode, and he hasn't had to do a single thing.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 04:19
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With all respect, CONSO.....

One person hitting an alarm button is not the big deal. It's all the stuff that then happens. Been there and wrote the plans.

One person hitting a button that launches a nuclear weapon is a very big problem. Had two assignments involving the nukes, and one was in Vipers that only had one seat. My other was the VooDoo interceptor, so my RIO had to consent if we really wanted to launch a nuclear Genie.

In U.S., the super critical actions ( missile launches, release of nukes for buffs and tactical aircraft and such) that may be initiated when the button is pressed follow procedures as you suggested. The less super critical things like "get your gas mask on" or "take shelter right now!" happen, and should. I would not like it if our command post had warning of an attack and all but one person was still alive to hit the button, and the siren would not blare.

I was a player in early 1967 when the U.S. BMEWS ( ballistic missile early warning system) alert activated for some reason or another. Not all, but many units got the warning and followed procedure.

So this young nugget was on 5-minute alert at Grand Forks and did not have the two nuclear Genie RX, but only AIM-4 heaters. So I did not need all the two-man concept stuff or anything to start, taxi and takeoff. The klaxon went off and I raced down to the jet and the ground crew had the APU riunning as I climbed the ladder with my RIO. Crank motors, strap in, shelter doors are opening.... the snow showers were getting worse, and the B-52's on the other side of the runway alert pads were cranking up ( they had those cartridge start doofers that belched a puff of black smoke). So holy cow, this is the real deal!

I called tower and "advised" that LimaLima 54 was number one for takeoff. My RIO was just asking me if I had heard the command post NCO's mentioning "the light' just before the klaxon went off. "huh?" So RIO says they had the mike keyed and said something about "the light", ( the BMEWS light). Oh man, this is not good, and surely HHQ would not have a practice in thisbad weather.

Tower told me to hold.

I told tower we were gonna go anyway. Maybe the bad ghuys were spoofing us, heh?

Tower says to contact our command post, and my RIO and I decided for one quick call, then roll. CP says it's a false alert, but RIO and I still made them authenticate the abort with our cosmic decoder ring (a small pad that had codes for each day of the month and even time zones).

Whew! The abort was valid and we taxied back to the shelter and re-fueled.

Rumor on the street was that a few interceptors loaded with nuclear Genies had actually gotten airborne. We never did find out what caused the false alarm, but it happened during the big move to Cheyenne Mountain from the original NORAD site in Colorado Springs at Ent AFB ( a small complex that became the U.S. olympic training facility).

I have problems with the local weenies that do not appreciate the significance of false alarms.
any other pilots or crew that stood nuke alert should chime in here.


Last edited by gums; 14th Jan 2018 at 04:22. Reason: typo
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 04:47
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Turns out from some reports it was a touch screen
Perhaps the operator just sneezed and a little green bogey attached itself to the bottom corner of the screen which acknowledged all the assertions.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 08:03
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Gums, same alert perhaps. Sure about the year? I would have said winter 1966/67. It was around 2045, TV room full, watching Patrick Mcgoohan in Danger Man.

We heard on the grapevine (a superfast and secure rumour system) that it was the moon. It had not been programmed in.

Like you, crews would not revert without authentication. Our system was a Brit compromise and the controller didn't want to use it as it would mean having to issue hundreds of replacements. He had to in the end as crews would not stand down.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 08:13
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Originally Posted by IcePaq View Post
Considering that some people's nuclear war contigency plans involve getting laid, I wonder what the results will be.
Guess they'll find out in 9 months time!
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 08:34
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The May 1967 event was caused by an intense solar storm which severely degraded BMEWS, which was considered likely to be the precursor to a sudden attack.

Nothing like as serious, but I was on the Stn Ops Desk at Wattisham in 1983 when all of a sudden a similar warning went off. Next thing we knew was the 2 QRA F-4s checking in preparing to scramble. I told them to wait 60 sec whilst I queried with SOC. A flash call to them and they confirmed no alert, real or exercise, was in force. I demanded an authentication, which was correct, then stood Q down to normal readiness with another authentication.

Once they dismounted, their Q-boss (can't remember the correct term) rang and demanded to know the reason for the alert. I assured him that he wasn't the only one asking that question.

It turned out that some numpty was checking the cables somewhere off-station and the test had set off the system - it seemed he hadn't even told his supervisor that he was doing a check....

Last edited by BEagle; 14th Jan 2018 at 13:26.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 08:35
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
Gums, same alert perhaps. Sure about the year? I would have said winter 1966/67. It was around 2045, TV room full, watching Patrick Mcgoohan in Danger Man.
Was this the event? How a 1967 Solar Storm Nearly Led to Nuclear War
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 09:17
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Well I'm off to Hawaii next month to visit my no. 2 daughter. When she gives me her usual Sunday night call I'll hear all about it!
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 09:29
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Eko4me, no, not that one but clearly the one to which Gums refers. I was at Cottesmore at the time of the first. In May 67 I was at Waddo. In the Cottesmore case it was 2045 GMT in the middle of Danger man. We debated waiting a few minutes until the end of the programme thinking it was just a regular no-notice generation and 10 minutes would make no difference.

IT was rumoured Fylingdales reacted to moonrise which had not been programmed in.

There was another daytime alert in '67 which might have been the one to which you refer, short lived and had less impact on me. I do know the QRA crews would not stand down until they received a relaxation message in the correct format.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 09:31
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Is there any truth in the story that a mistake on a Taceval almost launched the V force off on WW3 ?
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 10:55
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I have vivid memories of the authenticated messages, as ATC was required to re-broadcast the words from the "Bomber Box" verbatim.

"This is the Bomber Controller, for BombList ... readiness State ... is now in force, I say again... Authentication.". I had one sgt ATCO who, for some inexplicable reason, would never re-transmit verbatim, despite the exact wording having been written on a perspex plaque pro forma by the assistant and passed to him. He would invariably depart from the script at some point. Endless bollockings failed to cure him. I assume the crews relied on their other sources of information!
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 11:22
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Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way to say HOLY ING WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 12:29
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Merry Christmas George K Lee, you made me laugh!
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 12:42
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This arcticle addresses some serious accidents concerning false alarm:
NOVA - Official Website | False Alarms in the Nuclear Age

As compared with those cases, this Hawaiin one is quite minor as it is totally in the civilian "user space".

However, all sympathies are with people in Hawaii. I assume there might be heart attacks there and some kids were too frightened by parents.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 13:08
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I've read that the President continued playing golf, not to be bothered.
They say he spends much of his time there.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 13:23
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Just as well!
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