28 December 2005

Death Wears Bunny Slippers

I have been asked why “death wears bunny slippers.” [See patch below] Since there is a very short and simple reason, I will use an unnecessarily long story to explain.

As you may or may not know, Missile Combat Crews pull alert (the time when we are actively in charge of ICBMs in a flight area) for approximately 24 hours. This excludes driving time, briefings, some inspections, etc. We show up for work at 0730 hrs (7:30 a.m. for the non-military types) or 0830 (8:30 a.m.) depending on the time of year. If all goes well, we get home around 1400 (2 p.m.) the following day.

There are always two of us in the capsule, and most of the time it is permitted for one individual to be in rest status (sleeping). This is perfectly logical. You don’t want Air Force officers hallucinating launch messages or damaging the system in some other way due to sleep deprivation. Work with nuclear weapons isn’t as error forgiving as say serving cold fries at a fast food establishment – but I digress.

Because we will be sleeping in the launch control center (LCC) and are hidden away behind two very large, very heavy blast doors, after changing over with the offgoing crew we change into what we call our “alert gear” (that is assuming that there is no maintenance, tours, or anything of that nature going on in the LCC). Prime alert gear is usually something comfortable to sit and sleep in which you don’t mind getting smelly and probably wouldn’t be caught dead in out in public. There are many hard surfaces and sharp angles to catch the unwary crewmembers toe and cause him or her to cry out in pain and speak in tongues. Consequently, padded slippers are a vital addition to any proper crew member’s outfit. Bunny slippers, although not the most popular among the male types, have been known to rear their little fuzzy heads now and again while on alert.

Ultimately then, if the world is ever destroyed by a nuclear holocaust, it is a fair bet that somewhere there is a steely-eyed war fighter turning a launch key and dealing instant death… all while wearing cute little fuzzy pink bunny slippers. Hence, “death wears bunny slippers.”

Wry humor is one of the few defenses we have against the knowledge, however slim the chances may be, that we may one day have to be responsible for taking the lives of many people we don’t even know. Our primary mission is nuclear deterrence – don’t shoot at us and we won’t shoot back, but Heaven help us if deterrence fails.


Anonymous said...

I like to read here everyday.
Sometimes I don't know what to say.
You seem a little less than whole.
But that must be life in the hole.

You must write to free your brain
And I can sense a little pain
But if the writing eases you
You just do what you need to do.

Your perspective seems quite skewed
But you're a missileer type dude
So I won't judge cause you have the key
and that would be the end of me.

You seem to have a knack for writin
My girl, she has a knack for bitin'
But I still love her as I do you
So write away you silly fool!

Anonymous said...

Puts a whole new meaning on "Killer Bunnies" doesn't it? Keep up the writing...I enjoy reading your thoughts and get a kick out of your sense of humor. I'm not great at regular comments, but do read your blog regularly! from JVW

Anonymous said...

I MUST HAVE ONE OF THOSE PATCHES!!! I just got myself a brand new flight jacket (I'm retired, you see, and have put on some weight--but I still fit behind the stick of my Cirrus!), and i MUST have one of these patches adorning the sleeve!

So how do I get one?


Gregory Pius
Wellington, florida
deathwearsbunnyslippers at gregorypius dot com


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