Contained Atmospheric Personnel Equipment.
These suits were worn by Air Force technicians in and above
fueling and tactically servicing the Titan
II series of nuclear missiles. The missiles were on continous
alert from 1963 to 1987, until
the end of the Cold War. Since then, all U.S. silos but one
have been destroyed and filled in. This last silo has been
preserved as a living
museum in the Tucson area. According
to my father (who served as a Ballistic
Missile Analyst Technician with the 381st
Strategic Missile Wing out of McConnell AFB, Kansas),
with the rocket propellant and the servicing of the missile
that a minimum
of two technicians were employed when negotiating even the
most simple of service tasks. When working in the 146-foot
silo, not so much as a nut or bolt could be dropped without
for disaster by upset of the propellant. But
the worst threat? "Farting in that airtight rubber suit.
There was no escape."