The U.S. air force has test-launched an unarmed Minuteman-III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The missile lifted off from the base before 8 a.m. this morning on a 4,200-mile flight to a target on the Kwajalein Atoll.
That launch has not only catapulted a missile, but also opposition. A local group that routinely protests missile test launches at Vandenberg says its message is louder now more than ever, in light of the country’s recent international activities.
Dennis Apel is a self-proclaimed pacifist. He’s been protesting these types of launches at the base for the past 18 years.
“I strongly disagree with this country or any country in the world having nuclear weapons,” said Apel.
Apel says not enough U.S. citizens put up a fuss about our nation’s nuclear testing program, even though they do when they hear that other countries are doing the same thing.
“I think when you have something as horrendous as a nuclear weapon and we become acceptant of that, then we’re in trouble,” said Apel.
Apel has been arrested dozens of times for his protests but he continues on protesting. He wasn’t at this morning’s launch, but says he would have been had he known about it. He says he couldn’t find any notice online.
Apel says that he felt today’s test was globally provocative and a calculated move in light of recent international activities, including Monday’s air strikes in Syria on Islamic militant group ISIS.
“I don’t see it as a test to see whether our ICBM fleet is operational or working,” said Apel. “We know they’re going to work. We test them to show the world that we have the power to eliminate millions of people with the flash of a nuclear weapon.
We contacted Vandenberg Air Force Base for comment regarding these protests that happen each time these ICBM test launches occur at the base. We haven’t received a response at this time.