ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Tuesday marked the 34th anniversary of the day a Russian defense official made a gut call that prevented nuclear war with the United States.
Stanislav Petrov, a Lt. Colonel in the Soviet Air Defense, was manning the night watch Sept. 26, 1983, on a new early detection system when the screen start flashing “launch.”
Apparently the Soviet satellites saw something that looked like a Minute Man missile being launched in Montana — heading for the U.S.S.R.
What Petrov did next, over several tense minutes, most likley changed the course of life on earth.
But he was never honored in Russia for his judgement call, and the outside world didn’t hear the story until years later.
UMSL Professor of History Kevin Fernlund tells the story.