Map Shows Brutal Damage of Nuclear Attack on Cheyenne
We've all driven by the ICBMs that preside in state over F.E. Warren Air Force Base. They are a reminder of the United State's nuclear prowess - and denote F.E. Warren's critical role in a nuclear war.
Wyoming's Air Force Base is part of the United State's "nuclear sponge," a term coined by Cold War defense theorists in the late 1970s to describe a proposed military program under President Carter called the "Missile Experimental Basing Program," or "MX" that would make Nevada, the proposed location, a prime target for enemy nukes.
Though Reagan canceled the MX program, the term "nuclear sponge" stuck around to define the states where the United States houses its Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) underground in its three active Missile Wings - Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.
Wyomingites have always known that the presence of F.E. Warren makes our city a prime target for nuclear war. It's a given. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Cowboy State would likely be one of the first to go. But now a map from 2015 has resurfaced to show just how much a nuclear assault on F.E. Warren would impact the surrounding region.
As you can expect, it's a lot.
According to The Independent, the map resurfaced from a CBS article claiming FEMA created it. However, a FEMA representative told The Independent, "FEMA does not, and has not, released any type of formal map of potential nuclear targets."
Regardless of the map's original source, it does share a shocking similarity to the National Parks Service graphic detailing the Missile Wings of the Great Plains. Between the two maps, it's clear the damage from striking known Missile Wing locations would be massive.
How Far a Nuclear Assault on Cheyenne Would Spread
A 2019 study by Princeton estimates that 34.1 million people would die within the first few hours of a nuclear war between the United States. According to the tool Nuke Map, which was designed by atomic weapons historian Alex Wellerstein, Cheyenne would no longer exist if missiles comparable in size and power to the Minute Man III struck the city.
Based on Nuke Maps assessment (and presuming the nuke hit central Cheyenne,) the fireball at its center would take out just under a .42 miles sq. The heavy to moderate blast damage would spread 3 miles sq. from the center, and the radiation would permeate 5.8 miles sq. of the city. The fallout from a single nuke would reach from Ranchettes to nearly the Colorado border.
And that's just one nuke. A second one would wreak more destruction.
With Putin threatening nuclear war, it's unsurprising that maps of nuclear targets across the U.S. have begun recirculating. But, Insider reports that experts like former senior intelligence officer Andrew Kendall-Taylor who served as a strategic analyst on Russia, think "the risks of Putin employing a nuclear weapon in the short-term are "still low."