America’s Nuclear Arsenal Still Runs Off of 8-inch Floppy Disks/ 60 Minutes

60 Minute's host, Lesley Stahl

gives us the back story of the

tour the CBS crew was given of

the "Jolly Rogers" at the 319th

Missile Squadron, the United States

Air Force unit stationed at Warren

AFB, Wyoming.

This squadron is equipped with

the LGM-30G Minuteman III

Intercontinental ballistic missile

(ICBM), with the mission of nuclear


The scene at the underground

bunker from which this missile,

with the power of 20 Hiroshima

bombs would be launched is not

what you'd expect. "Manned" by

a 25-year old "Missileer" and his

23-year old female deputy. No

further information is given about

their ranks, except that the one in

charge graduated from the Air Force

Academy 3 years ago and the

woman had only been assigned

to this 24-hr shift 5 times.

The kicker, which has caused an

uproar in certain tech circles is that

these two Missileers operate clunky

equipment that is more than twice

their age, the most modern of which

consist of computers running code

stored on 8-inch floppy disks.

This most ancient of disk formats was

first introduced commercially in 1971

and has a storage capacity of 80 kb (!)
(Video: just over 5 mins.).

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