Universities: Minuteman U.

"Human history," wrote H. G. Wells, "becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." The race is vividly symbolized in 15 buried capsules, scattered below the prairies of western South Dakota and manned by pairs of launch control officers for Minuteman intercontinental missiles.

Dressed in white coveralls, blue neck bands and combat boots, each pistolpacking Air Force officer spends 24 continuous hours in "the hole" every four days, monitoring a control panel that can aim and fire ten Minutemen housed in underground silos various distances away. It is intermittent work that leaves some idle time, and the big...

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