Vasily Arkhipov: The Radioactive Russian Who Stopped WW3

Proof one man can make a difference

During the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, US navy destroyers cornered a Russian sub around Cuba. Dropping signaling depth charges, they tried to force the sub to the surface. Not knowing if a war had been started already, the Russian Captain and Political officer decided to launch nuclear torpedoes against the US fleet: they needed Commodore Vasily Arkhipov’s agreement to launch. An argument broke out with Vasily arguing that they needed confirmation first: He prevailed. Had a nuke been launched there is little doubt that WW3 would have started then and there, with the entire Northern Hemisphere being obliterated (see Tsar Bomba). The sub surfaced and the situation calmed down when it left the area around Cuba. Vasily had a lot of respect from the Russian navy due to his survival and heroic actions aboard the sub K-19. He, along with the entire crew, was irradiated in that sub when its reactor leaked some years earlier, with many dying later (see movie K-19). He died in 1998, a vice Admiral, at age 72. One man can make a difference. Stand up.

Valor is in you. Set it free.

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