Accidentally triggering ballistic MISSILE warning in Hawaii

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by OWM, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. OWM

    OWM Well-Known Member

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    According to reports the alarm was set off by some poor dude pushing the wrong button.
    On a much smaller scale I can relate to this guys misfortune. I'd like to share a story with you folks that happen about this same time in January 1968. I had just arrived at the Khe Sanh Combat Base and was setting up my stuff in the main Communication bunker which was a huge ugly hole in the ground with about a foot of water for carpet. This was about a week or so before the siege started and things were a little tense already. Anyway while getting all my crap stowed around all the comm gear I noticed a switch(unmarked) up high on a 12" by 12" timber support beam.Since it was pretty dark I figured it must be a light switch. Hell it looked like one so I turned it on. Guess what it was no light switch. I had just turned on all the warning sirens at Khe Sanh. In short order 8000 Marines were diving for cover expecting incoming rounds any second. I flipped the switch off immediately but the damage was done.About that time a Full Bird pissed off Colonel showed up. I just knew I would be hauled out and shot.The Colonel looked at me and looked at the switch. He then said that the thing looks like a light switch. With that I thought that maybe I would not be shot but just threw in the Brig for awhile.
    I caught hell for that one for a few days. The siege started a few days later and the matter was put to bed. Over the course of the next few months most of the sirens got blown away anyway. For a short time I had 8000 unhappy Combat Marines looking my way. Sort of humbles you in away. Maybe in 50 years that guy in Hawaii can share his story with some folks like all of you here and laugh about it.
     
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  2. Craftsman

    Craftsman Well-Known Member

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    "Alexa, order tickets for everyone to Hawaii"
    Alexa: "Texting everyone in Hawaii"
     
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  3. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

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    It took 3 minutes to confirm as an error in being any threat and another 35 minutes (right at that) to get the error notification broadcast. They had to install the cancellation software before it could start to send out the notices.

    How in world did the system get set up where that could happen. Was there no one around with the simple brains to think just in case . . .?

    Nemo
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  4. 45_Fan

    45_Fan Well-Known Member

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    Once upon a time ago I had a peer at work push the wrong button. In the main data center at the time there were 2 red buttons on either side of the exit door. The one on the right opened the mag lock if the motion sensor was blocked and the one on the left was the emergency power off switch. As my peer was rolling out a free standing rack of gear, the motion sensor got blocked and the door would not open. The red button was pushed and the power sequencer started a rolling shutdown of circuits. Fortunately someone else was present, panicked, and pulled the button back out and all the circuits came back online. A very pale man explained it to managers, hilarity ensued, and about a week later there was a transparent cover and label over the important button. About 2 weeks later someone in the data center observed our 4th and 5th level management with a camera phone taking turns posing with a lifted cover and pretending to push the button. We finally figured our peer wasn’t getting fired at that point. Good times.
     
  5. Craftsman

    Craftsman Well-Known Member

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    "Alexa, buy tickets for everyone to Hawaii"
    Alexa: "Texting everyone in Hawaii"
     
  6. RedDawnTheMusical

    RedDawnTheMusical Well-Known Member

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    There are some good people that work in local and state governments, but there are also a lot of people that would struggle to get (or maintain) jobs elsewhere as they are just not that competent. Also, a lot of these people want to be the people in charge of new projects as, like in the private sector, success stories and responsibilities typically lead to raises, promotions, better looking resumes, etc. I suspect that, beyond the poorly trained/complacent person clicking the mouse, the person running the show and implementing the system just doesn't have the skills and qualifications to implement this. When you're screwups aren't broadcasted to the world, then there is often a chance to fix things and no one will really know.

    I go through this type of thing when working on live servers (web, email, etc.), firewalls, etc, as I relocate equipment or do updates. One mistake in configuring a firewall or NAT rule, DNS record, routing table, etc. and it will be immediately visible to a lot of people.
     
  7. AtlPhilip

    AtlPhilip Proud GCO member.

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    It takes government to screw up that badly.
     
  8. gsusnake

    gsusnake Token Liberal Hippie

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  9. UtiPossidetis

    UtiPossidetis American

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    In a word: Government.
     
  10. DonT

    DonT Deplorable bitter clinger.

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    I find it very interesting that all of the focus for this story has been on the false alarm. But what I'm wondering about is...if the state of Hawaii has gone to all the trouble of having this (not very reliable) alarm system in place to alert the populace, what then was or is the plan for...what the heck does the alarmed populace DO in the event of a real alert?? I think that the demonstration of mass panic, the picture of the dude putting his daughter into a sewer manhole, and the like, should generate some thought as to what that plan is. If there is really a realistic plan for what an alerted population CAN do, in the 30 minutes or so they have until the impact of a nuclear weapon on their city. Which, there isn't, anyway.
     
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  11. Squid

    Squid Gun pecan

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    Ah, the scream test.
     
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  12. Rugerer

    Rugerer GeePeeDoHolic

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  13. NTA

    NTA Well-Known Member

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    I used to work at radio/tv stations and see history is repeating itself.

    I remember the old days (1951-1963) when radios had the conelrad symbols on the AM dial and in case of nuke attack all the stations except a few would sign off and the few remaining high powered stations would go to those spots on the dial. (This had some technical problems since the AM transmitter antennas are quarter wave verticals and would need a major retune to move their frequency much). The station frequency switch with most stations signing off was to confuse the Russian bombers who would otherwise home in on the station to find a city to nuke.

    Every so often, weekly if I remember right, there would be a test of the emergency-broadcast-system "this is only a test" then a tone, station leaves the air for a few seconds and then another tone (this would trip special receivers to un-mute and then play the actual warning). I used to be one of the guys to kill the transmitter for 5 sec then turn it back on during the test.

    The directives for the stations to run these tests came over ASR33 Western Union teletypes that all stations had for news (UPI/AP/sports scores/weather). 'rip and read' news casts were common.

    Anyway, notification to run one of these tests immediately are originated somewhere special with a loop of teletype reader paper tape.

    The numb nuts whose job it was to run the paper tape once made a mistake and put in the one for an 'actual' nuke emergency and no one anywhere in the entire broadcast world noticed. The stations just ran the usual test.

    The whole system was abandoned thereafter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  14. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

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    In government it's not referred to as a screw up. It's a bonus pay opportunity.
     
  15. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

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    I hate to admit it but I remember those days and the EBS tests too! :oldtimer::lol:
     
  16. RedDawnTheMusical

    RedDawnTheMusical Well-Known Member

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    I'll say - I'd think that the reflected power would be an issue unless there was an antenna tuner inline to match the impedance for the now de-tuned resonance.
     
  17. phantoms

    phantoms Senior Mumbler

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  18. Phil1979

    Phil1979 Member Georgia Carry

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    Perhaps this will make the sheeple Hawaiians think a little more carefully about being disarmed by their government. If this were a true disaster, the survivors would have no good means to stop the have-not hords of thugs coming to take by force what little food or water was left.

    David Codrea made this point in his article on it: https://www.ammoland.com/2018/01/ha...nti-gun-culture-planning-flaws/#axzz54PJcWNHz
     
  19. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

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    Might be a good idea to find a place here to think out loud about what you have and how you would react were you to hear that on your radio on several dozen channels and have every indication it is a valid warning.

    Say you live in Marietta and are downtown by the Gold Dome when you hear it. And you . . .

    Nemo