On September 26, 1983, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov of the Soviet Air
Defense Forces received a warning that the U.S. had launched an ICBM
towards the Soviet Union. He dismissed it as a false alarm. Later four
additional missiles were detected, and again, Petrov decided they were
phantoms. He was right, but he couldn’t have been certain. If he had
followed protocol he might have started a full scale nuclear exchange
between the U.S. and Soviet Union. Investigations confirmed, it was the
satellite warning system that malfunctioned.
Not all heroes wear capes.