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1 Comment | Vintage
The Honest John missile was also nuclear-capable, the first US missile to be so. 1958, Vilseck Germany. My family and I were on the rocket range to observe the launch of an Honest John. Some bird Coronel gave a long speech about how wonderful his missile was, then some white coated civilian scientist gave a follow on speech, the wind was blowing so that all you could understand were small snippets of what was said.
After the speechafying came a dramatic countdown to launch… everyone’s looking at the truck mounted missile, waiting for it to fly off… 3.2.1…Zero! Nothing, the Honest John mute. Comes another countdown and still nothing. As previously the missile sat silent, for hours, as soldiers fiddled around with it. Five, or was it six, countdowns later we hear a roar and witness a orange/blue flame shoot out the tail of the rocket which takes off, well, like a rocket, instantly traveling so fast it disappears over the horizon in like a second and a half. Gone, a huge cloud of red dust in its wake.
I, and my parents, left expressing our opinion on what a failure the Honest John missile was and wondering why we foolishly stood there for hours to see something vanish in the time it took to blink.