Joint Statement By Former Nuclear Launch Officers

Scores of leaders and experts from both political parties have questioned whether Donald Trump has the experience, temperament and judgment to have his finger on the proverbial “Red Button.” We share their concern — and we see the issue from a unique perspective.

We are former nuclear launch control officers, or “missileers.” We sat nuclear alert in underground missile launch centers. It was our job to turn keys to fire nuclear-armed missiles if the president so ordered us. Once we began alert duty, we took orders from the president and no one else.

Only the president can order a nuclear launch. That order cannot be vetoed and once the missiles have been launched, they cannot be called back. The consequences of miscalculation, impulsive decision-making or poor judgment on the part of the president could be catastrophic.

The pressures the system places on that one person are staggering and require enormous composure, judgment, restraint and diplomatic skill. Donald Trump does not have these leadership qualities. On the contrary, he has shown himself time and again to be easily baited and quick to lash out, dismissive of expert consultation and ill-informed of even basic military and international affairs — including, most especially, nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump should not be the nation’s commander-in-chief. He should not be entrusted with the nuclear launch codes. He should not have his finger on the button.

Timothy Allen, Ellsworth AFB 1991–92, F.E. Warren AFB 1992–96, Offutt AFB, 2002–05

Tyson Bertmaring, Malmstrom AFB 2006–10

Bruce G. Blair, Malmstrom AFB 1972–74

Damon Bosetti, Malmstrom AFB 2007–10

Victor D Bras, Whiteman AFB 1968–72, Grand Forks AFB 1983–85

Michael Campbell, F.E. Warren AFB 1983–86

William A. DeGroodt, Minot AFB 1967–72

Ken Franklin, Minot AFB 1967–70

Frank G. Goldman, ESQ., F.E. Warren AFB 1988–91

Michael Graydon, Ellsworth AFB 1963–67

Harvey R. Greenberg, Minot AFB 1974–77

Keira Havens, F.E. Warren AFB 2005–08

Peter Hefley, F.E. Warren AFB 2005–07

Lyle Hedgecock, F.E. Warren AFB 2004–09

Calvin W. Hickey, Malmstrom AFB 1975–76

Laura Higdon, Malmstrom AFB 2005–09

Jeromey Howard, Malmstrom AFB 2006–10

Geoffrey Kanner, Malmstrom AFB 1980–84

Louis Mark Lussky, ESQ., Grand Forks AFB 1971–76

David Macpherson, Malmstrom AFB 1969–72

Michael Miller, F.E. Warren AFB 2009–13

John Noonan, F.E. Warren AFB 2006–10

Emma Poon, Malmstrom AFB 2005–09

James Robertson, Malmstrom AFB 1999–2003

Robert Russell, Whiteman AFB 1969–74

Ryan William Schmoll, F.E. Warren AFB 2005–09

Jeremy D. Splawn, Malmstrom AFB 2005–09

Colby Sullins, Malmstrom AFB 2005–07

David C.W. Wagner, F.E. Warren AFB 2005–09

William Ward, Malmstrom AFB 2000–04

Edward Warren, F.E. Warren AFB 2008–13

Brian Weeden, Malmstrom AFB 2000–04

Theodore F. Weihe, Whiteman AFB 1965–70

Thomas C. Xander, Whiteman AFB 1967–70

Check out our website if you want to keep Trump’s finger far, far away from the Red Button.