Air Force: New Bunker Mates

New Bunker Mates

Deep below ground in 100 concrete launch-control centers across the U.S., teams of paired Air Force officers keep watch over the U.S. ICBM force. Next month that stressful, tedious duty will take on a new complexion. For the first time, the military will permit men and women to share the 24-hour shifts.

Previously, only members of the same sex served together. But the small number of female officers meant there were relatively few all-women teams. This led to scheduling problems as well as resentment among the men, who served many more shifts. The change, says Major Suzanne Randle of the Strategic...