s.c.a.p.e. suit
titan II missile silo.sahuarita.az : 12 aug 04

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Self Contained Atmospheric Personnel Equipment. These suits were worn by Air Force technicians in and above live ICBM silos when fueling and tactically servicing the Titan II series of nuclear missiles. The missiles were on continous alert from 1963 to 1987, until the end of the Cold War. Since then, all U.S. silos but one have been destroyed and filled in. This last silo has been preserved as a living museum in the Tucson area. According to my father (who served as a Ballistic Missile Analyst Technician with the 381st Strategic Missile Wing out of McConnell AFB, Kansas), the technical aspects of working with the rocket propellant and the servicing of the missile was so precarious that a minimum of two technicians were employed when negotiating even the most simple of service tasks. When working in the 146-foot silo, not so much as a nut or bolt could be dropped without the potential for disaster by upset of the propellant. But the worst threat? "Farting in that airtight rubber suit. There was no escape."

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photographs by troy paff © 2004-05 : all rights reserved