After tech school I was assigned to Walker from December 1962 to March 1967. I was assigned to the 6th AEMS Bomb Navigation shop.

After several of the Atlas-F Missiles blew up it was determined that the missiles would sometimes develop a LOX (liquid Oxygen) leak. The LOX would drip down onto an oily surface inside the silo and explode, destroying the entire silo and missile.  Therefore the powers that be decided to start “Project Jolly Well”. This entailed detailing personnel from all over the base (usually 2 stripers or below) to scrub down every surface inside the silos. I was assigned to this detail for two weeks. We picked up sack lunches at the chow hall and then boarded buses which took us out to a silo. Upon arrival the missile crew would brief us that we would be working around EWO Ready missiles. We were then told that if the klaxon went off we were to evacuate the silo as quickly as possible. Then we were told not to try to use the elevator as it would be disabled and not to try to enter the control room as the blast doors automatically closed. So the only way out of the silo was via a skinny spiral staircase. One of the crews also told us that there was a crewmember who was a track star at the Air Force Academy who tried to run up the spiral staircase in less time than it took to launch the missile and cook everything in the silo. He didn’t even come close. So basically, they were telling us that if the klaxon went off we were toast.

James Bennett, SMSgt Retired

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